Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park
About three miles north
of Kailua-Kona lies the rugged lava-covered shoreline comprising
Kaloko-Honokahau National Historical Park. This area includes those
lands makai of the Queen Ka'ahumanu Highway (Route 19) in the
ahupua'a of Kaloko and Honokahau.
The area of broad lava
fields north of Kailua-Kona resulting from volcanic flows as recent as
the 1800s is called Kekaha a name designating a dry, barren, and harsh
land. This portion of the Kona Coast consists of flat open areas with
scattered grasses among the convolutions of rugged lava. The jagged
terrain makes foot travel almost impossible, a problem that the early
Hawaiians addressed by means of painstakingly built trails. In 1823,
walking northwest from Kailua toward Kaiwi Point, the missionaries Asa
Thurston and Artemas Bishop noted neat houses shaded by coconut and
kou trees erected on top of the lava flows along the shore. Small
gardens in the few patches of soil among the rocks produced sweet
potatos, watermelons, and even some tobacco. The last eruption prior to
their visit had been in 1801, that outflow from Hualalai having
destroyed villages, agricultural fields, and fishponds on its way to the
sea, where it re-formed the coastline.
The lack of rainfall in
this area made large-scale agricultural production impossible, but
several other advantages enabled establishment of a settlement that
lasted well into the nineteenth century. These included calm seas with a
shallow canoe landing area, plentiful marine resources, and a variety of
plants and flowers that served medicinal and dietary needs as well as
furnishing material for making fishnets and for thatching simple
shelters erected on the pahoehoe and 'a'a lava flats.
Cool, brackish springs provided a sufficient water supply. The use of
these pools was dictated by the kapu system, which designated
some of these for drinking, some for bathing, and others for washing
utensils or clothes.
Despite the dryness and
hostility of the environment, the early inhabitants of the
Kaloko-Honokahau coastal settlements devised successful adaptive methods
of growing supplementary food items such as sweet potatoes and gourds
upon the lava beds. The husks of dry coconuts, immersed in water until
well soaked, and then placed around the plant roots provided moisture
and protected against direct exposure to the harsh sun. Stone enclosures
built around the plants provided support for vines, deflected the wind,
and lessened the effects of the afternoon heat.
Archeologist Robert Renger theorized that the presence of these
agricultural structures enabled a different type of adaptation to the
environment in this area one in which agricultural production along
the coast supplemented both the marine resources and the products
of the upland.
The most important
subsistence features of this shoreline, and those that imbued the area
with such importance for the ancient Hawaiians, were its fishponds. Of
the three structures within the park, two were originally inland bays
converted into ponds by stone walls constructed across their mouths,
isolating them from the sea except for controlled water movement through
makaha (sluice gates). The third feature, a fishtrap, was formed
by arcing a stone wall from the shoreline out to a protruding point of
B. Chronology of Settlement
In a new publication
currently in press, Archeologists Ross Cordy, Joseph Tainter, Robert
Renger, and Robert Hitchcock, on the basis of historical accounts and
archaeological data, have postulated the social, economic, and physical
development of the Kaloko-Honokahau area over the years. The following
information is taken from their study.
1. A.D. 900s-1700s
The authors believe that
small permanent settlements in the leeward portions of Hawai'i Island
began by the A.D. 900s to 1000s, and possibly earlier. These would have
occurred near favorable water sources, Kaloko bay probably having been
one of the most sheltered and inviting large inlets along the Kona
Coast. Coastal habitations had expanded by the 1200s, utilizing inland
fields as well as sea resources for subsistence. The Kekaha lands north
of Kaloko and extending to Kohala are thought to have undergone initial
permanent settlement beginning in the 1400s, with subsequent occupation
of the coast north and south over the next few centuries.
Sometime during the
period of 1580 to 1600, Laeanuikaumanamana, the kahuna-nui of the
ruling chief, Liloa, acquired the Kekaha region. It is thought that the
construction of fishponds at Kaloko and Honokahau began during this
time, with Kaloko Fishpond dating from at least the 1400s to 1500s
During the 1600s to 1700s, as the Kona Coast population grew with the
establishment of the royal residence of 'Umi-a-Liloa at Kona and the
consequent increased demand for food production, Kaloko also increased
to probably almost 200 residents. It continually supported a higher
population than other Kekaha areas because of its fishpond and extensive
inland field system.
It was the presence of
these resources that resulted in residence at Kaloko by a high chief for
at least part of the late prehistoric period. The authors suggest that
Kaloko ahupua'a had been given to Kame'eiamoku, a high chief and
one of the counsellors of Kamehameha, as well as one of the heirs of the
Kekaha lands, the area having been a periodic residence of that family
from his grandfather's time. A specific site within the park has even
been identified as a chiefly residence. At some time during this period
Kaloko's large heiau was built. Such structures were occasionally
constructed away from the major centers of government, serving as
luakini, ahupua'a heiau, or as a high chief's personal hieau.
It is possible the "Queen's Bath," an anchialine pond, and its
associated cairns is also a religious site constructed during this
period, perhaps as an ahupua'a shrine, although its precise use
has not yet been determined.
2. Historic Period (1800-1900)
Major changes occurred
along the Kona Coast in the early historic period. Drastic depopulation
resulted from inhabitants leaving the coastal settlements for the port
towns of Kailua and Kealakekua, resulting in a decline in agricultural
production and in the utilization of marine resources. Diseases; the
abolition of the kapu system; and the removal of the central
government to O'ahu and Maui all contributed to the dissolution of the
By the early 1800s,
Kaloko was still an identifiable community, containing about six
households near the coast, but with no high-ranking occupants in
residence. These coastal habitations centered mainly around the
fishpond. A few scattered inland residences remained. Although the
abolition of the ancient religious system probably ended formal use of
the heiau and other religious shrines in the area, the already
declining population and the movement of the high chiefs of Kekaha to
Honolulu may have instigated this move much earlier. Subsistence still
depended on agriculture and marine exploitation. By the 1830s to 1840s,
the coast was being abandoned, with some resettlement occurring in the
uplands zone. Only a single household, that of a caretaker, occasionally
occupied the area around the fishpond.
Hawaiian ali'i had
always highly valued lands containing fishponds as a dependable source
of a continuing and plentiful food supply. The Kaloko and 'Ai'makapa
fishponds were among the largest along the Kona Coast and added
considerable value to the lands on which they were located. They were
probably the primary reason that ali'i used this area for
recreational and ceremonial purposes.
The 1848 Great Mahele resulted in almost all lands with fishponds
being selected as private property by members of the ruling family. To
Lot Kamehameha (Kamehameha V), a grandson of Kamehameha, went the lands
of Kaloko and Kaupulehu, both supporting fishponds. Kaloko Fishpond was
considered a very valuable resource, later having its own overseer who
sold its products in Kailua. Kamehameha's granddaughter, Kekauonohi,
received the ahupua'a of Honokohau-nui, containing the large 'Aimakapa
Fishpond. W.P. Leleiohoku, heir of Kuakini, Ka'ahumanu's brother,
received the smaller 'Ai'opio Fishtrap in Honokohau-iki.
The land that Lot
Kamehameha received in Kaloko ahupua'a included all acreage
except cultivated lands (Kuleana grants) awarded to commoners,
which numbered twelve adjacent to or near the main road around the
A Catholic school with forty-five students was listed in Kaloko in 1848.
Government records show that in 1857 nineteen people were paying taxes
in Kaloko; this number reached twenty-three in 1860.
In her discussion of the population changes in Kaloko through the years,
Kelly surmises that the entire ahupua'a of Kaloko might have
supported up to 400 people at one time. The Mahele wrought
numerous changes by initiating a new system of land division and the
transition to a cash-based economy. Crops and produce from Kaloko
Fishpond were taken to Kailua-Kona and the arid Kekaha region for sale.
The coastal trail connecting Kekaha villages was abandoned as traffic
moved to the trails connecting the upland communities. The Mamalahoa
Trail, or Lower Government Road, farther away from the coast and inland
of the prehistoric coastal King's Highway, was constructed between 1835
and 1855. The Mahele and subsequent awarding of private claims
probably also forced some of the inhabitants off their lands, either
into outlying areas or into one of the larger port cities such as Kailua
or Kawaihae. Eventually the aggrandizement and fencing of large portions
of land by ranchers also served to discourage smaller native landowners.
Princess Ruth Keelikolani
acquired Kaloko by deed in 1874 as the sole heir of Kamehameha V. She
leased the ahupua'a of Kaloko to three lessees for five years,
but exempted the fishpond. A second five-year lease was granted to two
of these men in 1881.
After Ruth Ke'elikolani's death in 1883, her sole heir was Princess
Bernice Pauahi Bishop. Upon her death in 1884, Kaloko was sold to C. H.
Judd, trustee of the estate of King Kalakaua and Queen Kapiolani. (John
A. Maguire of the Huehue Ranch obtained Kaloko from that estate in
The area around Kaloko
Fishpond began losing its identity as a community beginning in the
1880s, when permanent settlement started moving upland where cash crops
could be grown, the population focusing on the Kohanaiki Homesteads.
Social and economic ties were expanding outside the Kaloko area as the
shoreline was virtually abandoned both here and in neighboring
ahupua'a. The Kaloko Fishpond caretakers relied completely on cash
sales of its produce. J.S. Emerson's ca. 1888 map of North Kona shows only a few houses along
the Kaloko-Honokohau coast: that of Kealiihelepo on the east edge of
Kaloko Fishpond and those of Kalua and Beniamina between 'Ai'opio and
'Aimakapa fishponds in Honokahau.
|Illustration 94. Portion
of Kailua Section, North Kona, Hawaii, Hawaii Territory Survey,
survey and map by J.S. Emmerson, 1952.
Ultimately large ranches
began leasing and purchasing the lands formerly owned by Hawaiian
chiefs. Ownership of the Kaloko ahupua'a, excluding the
kuleana grants, passed into the hands of the later Huehue Ranch
operation. Subsistence in Kaloko ahupua'a from here on began to
depend on the small-scale household farming in the uplands, which had
shifted primarily to cash crops by the 1880s; on sales of fish from
Kaloko Fishpond by its caretakers or lessees in the markets of
Kailua-Kona; and on cattle raising by the Huehue Ranch
Plantation agriculture began
in Hawai'i in the mid-nineteenth century, after the decline of the
whaling trade and of the demand for ship provisioning that had given
impetus to the native agricultural system. Plantation agriculture
greatly altered the native social and economic systems. Many native
Hawaiians would not work as laborers in the cane fields. Others were
either forced to migrate to the upland plantations to work under this
system so foreign to their traditional way of life or to move to larger
towns, such as Kailua or Honolulu, to find other means of subsistence.
The continuing prosperity of the plantations created a continuing need
for fieldworkers. In addition, then, to new tools, agricultural
practices, and forms of landownership, Western-style plantation
agriculture introduced foreign contract laborers.
Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Korean, and Filipino immigrants soon
began arriving to work on the plantations.
Coffee raising was a
growing industry in Kona in the 1880s. A large number of coffee
plantations filled the hills behind Kailua. These trees grew in narrow
strips or belts of volcanic land on the leeward slopes of Hualalai and
Mauna Loa. Small-scale coffee operations also existed around Kaloko and
Honokahau in North Kona.
Few written records exist
about the Kaloko coast from the latter half of the nineteenth century
through the turn of the twentieth. What little is known exists primarily
only in the memories of older Kona District residents. As the
archeological record bears out, many of the sites in this once heavily
populated area were gradually abandoned in the middle and late
nineteenth century due to a combination of factors causing heavy
population decline, including culture change, disease, new land laws,
and a growing desire to move to urban centers. At that time the
remaining inhabitants tended to cluster around the fishponds in the
area. Honokahau village ca. 1913 held about a dozen houses along the beach. At
Kaloko at this time, only one house is mentioned, near the fishpond
probably that of a caretaker.
The Honokahau settlement
continued to be inhabited as a Hawaiian village until about 1920, when
people left it due to its isolation it was accessible by sea only in
small boats and by land only on foot or horseback. The site was later
occupied by Filipino fishermen, living in shacks on the shore.
The Filipinos who obtained leaseholds on the Frank Greenwell property
had come to Hawai'i beginning in the 1920s. After the expiration of
their work contracts, many stayed on, moving from the plantation camps
down to the beach.
3. Historic Period (1960s-Present)
Kaloko continued as a
working domestic and commercial fishpond during the early part of this
century, the main seawall undergoing constant repairs. Between 1943 and
1961, it was leased to a resident of Kailua, who cemented several
sections of wall to minimize maintenance. He also built a jeep trail
from Kaloko to Kailua over which to ship fish from the pond to market.
After that lease expired, the coastal area was sporadically used by
fishermen and campers, who mostly occupied the coconut grove at the
south end of the seawall.
Kona's resort/development boom started in the late 1960s, aided by
construction of the Queen Ka'ahumanu Highway, which provided easy access
to the seaward portions of North Kona and South Kohala.
A 1972 federal court
memorandum stated that the Kaloko-Honokohau area remained rural in
character, with its inhabitants still relying on the ocean, as well as
the land, for their subsistence. The bounty of the ocean and fields kept
them independent and off public assistance.
Today, under permits first issued by the Greenwells and later by the
National Park Service, a few huts of fishermen dominate the Honokohau
shoreline around 'A'iopio Fishtrap.
A final development
spurring further activity in the area occured when the 1965 River and
Harbor Act authorized construction of a small boat harbor, which began
in 1968 and was finished by March 1970. (Although located in the
ahupua'a of Kealakehe, it is referred to as the Honokohau boat
harbor.) Because of the basaltic lava that had to be removed, many tons
of explosives were used to form the facility, which included an inshore
harbor basin, entrance channel, main access channel, rubble wave
absorbers, and a wave trap. Its total accommodation was planned at more
than 400 boats.
Construction of the boat harbor resulted in destruction of some
archaeological sites, but they were of marginal value and were salvaged
prior to their loss. This construction added another dimension to
activity along the coast, providing impetus for planning further resorts
there and housing in the upland areas.
C. Social and Political Structure of
the Prehistoric Community
The number of
recreational and ceremonial structures that remain in the park,
especially in the vicinity of 'Ai'makapa Fishpond, suggest intensive use
of the area by ali'i. Reportedly the armies of Kamehameha, who
housed his court a short distance south in Kailua, rested and refreshed
themselves at Kaloko-Honokohau during long marches.
Archeologist Ross Cordy
has formulated some interesting societal data in his studies of
prehistoric social change, postulating that two social rank echelons
were present at Kaloko. Only commoners resided there between A. D.
1050-1100 and 1400-1450, with an overlord probably living elsewhere in
the district. The upper (high chief) echelon was present sometime
between A.D. 1450-1500 and 1600-1650. Cordy also believes that Kaloko
was a discrete community with identifiable boundary features, including
unoccupied buffer zones to the south and north between it and the houses
of neighboring settlements. A religious cairn site ("Queen's Bath" area)
marked its southern border. He believes that other features, such as an
internal trail network between permanent sites and the presence of a
major temple and a cemetery, also indicate a community entity at Kaloko.
Two researchers recording
the oral traditional and social history of the Kaloko-Honokohau area
under the auspices of the Bishop Museum gathered information on the
kahuna hierarchy that ruled there during ancient times. According to
that information, the high priest Pa'ao brought in a king named Pili to
set up a new regime to replace the chaotic one Pa'ao found on the
island. This was the beginning of the religious hierarchy that
characterized Kaloko-Honokahau. Establishing his residence on a hill
overlooking Kawaihae, Pili ruled Kohala and Kona through chiefs
stationed at Kawaihae, Honokohau, and Palemano Point, Ke'ei.
Communication in times of danger or conflict consisted of signal fires
that could be seen over long distances. These chiefs governed activities
in their respective areas and maintained communications with their high
Makakilo, the chief at
Honokohau, ruled North Kona from his base of operations at Pu'uoina
Heiau. He also directed fishing operations. His home was reported to be
on the first terrace of the heiau, closest to the ocean. A
connection between the heiau and fishtrap is suggested by the
fact that, in connection with his supervision of fishing activities, he
reportedly held fish in the pool prior to distribution. Mano succeeded
Makakilo, establishing his residence on the second terrace of Pu'uoina.
The next kahuna chief, Kaumanamana, lived on the top level of the
heiau. Kanaka-leo nui his successor, set up his base at Keauhou
and commuted to Honokohau to direct activities there from the bluff
above 'Aimakapa. Another famous ruling chief was Kekuaokalani, the
highest-ranking kahuna on Hawai'i at the time of Kamehameha's
birth, and the same person who, left as guardian of Ku-ka'ili-moku by
Kamehameha, lost his life opposing Liholiho's abolition of the kapu
|Illustration 95. Map
showing boundaries of Honokohau Settlement area from National
Register of Historic Places Inventory Nomination form, 1970.
D. Relationship of Prehistoric Kaloko
with Neighboring Ahupua'a
Robert Renger explored
the relationship that might have existed between Kaloko and the
neighboring ahupua'a of Honokahau and Kohanaiki. He concluded
that because the distribution of archaeological sites between the three
areas was not continuous, there was probably not much interaction
between them. This might have been because in early times usually only
ali'i had much mobility across ahupua'a, although numerous
trails between the coast and uplands signify considerable interaction
within the ahupua'a by the common people. Renger theorized
that only with increasing population decline in the Kaloko area was
there more interaction along the coast between Kaloko and Kailua.
In consonance with this
line of thought, another report suggests that the name Honokohau
Settlement on the national historic landmark form is misleading. Its
writer points out that although strong social and kinship ties existed
between people in the same ahupu'a' living on the coast, inland,
or between these two areas, social ties were much weaker between people
living in different ahupua'a, even if they were located next to
one another on the coast. Because the area of Honokohau Settlement
National Historic Landmark included the coastal sections of three
separate ahupua'a Kaloko, Honokohau, and Kealakehe it would
not have comprised a single integrated settlement, but three habitation
areas that constituted the coastal portions of inland-coastal cultural
complexes. And within these, there probably would have been closer
social ties between the makai-mauka people within the same
ahupua'a than between the coastal people of the different
E. Summary of Prehistoric Development
Briefly then, research
suggests that although originally established as an outlier settlement
of another community, Kaloko possibly had become a unified community
after A.D. 1200-1300. The coastal village was composed of several
residential groups, within which one household was probably dominant in
certain activities, such as religious observances. In addition to this
low-level, horizontal division of authority, a hierarchial pattern of
authority existed in the form of a chief who exercised control over the
political and religious functions of the community. Prior to and after
A.D. 1490-1610, this chief lived elsewhere in the district; during that
time period, however, he apparently resided in Kaloko. No exact
population figures for the settlement are available, but it probably
supported from 60 to 100 people. In Kaloko, as in other ahupua'a,
agricultural activities took place in the uplands while marine
exploitation supplemented by the artificial raising of fish occurred
along the shore. In other areas, these pond fish were intended only for
chiefly consumption; it is uncertain if this was the case at Kaloko.
Drinking water was available in brackish pools near the settlement,
which were linked to the households by a trail system.
These same generalities probably hold true for the Honokohau coastal
settlement area as well.
F. Historical Associations
1. Earliest Reference to
Samuel Kamakau presents
the earliest traditional reference to this region when recounting a
secret trip made by a spy of the chief of Maui to investigate the west
coast of Hawai'i. When asked where he had gone and what he had seen, the
spy reported, among other things, visiting "large inland ponds" at
Kaloko and Honokahau. According to genealogical calculations by Marion
Kelly, this probably occurred in the late sixteenth or early seventeenth
century, testifying to the antiquity of these fishponds.
Historically Kaloko's closest ties were to the Kona chiefs and
particularly to Kamehameha's court at Kamakahonu in Kailua-Kona, a
village that was probably dependent on the pond for supplemental food
and on which the later caretakers of the pond depended for cash sales of
2. Use as Burial Ground for Ali'i
settlement area contains burial places for the dead. It is also
characterized by a number of secret caves and lava tubes that figured
prominently in early Hawaiian folklore as the burial place of
high-ranking ali'i. As described in an earlier section of this
report, funeral rites connected with the death of ruling chiefs of
Hawai'i involved complex initial ceremonies that prepared the body for
afterlife, followed by secret burial of the bones. These were entrusted
to loyal followers whom the deceased had previously designated. Burial
took place at night to prevent disclosure of the hiding place and
desecration of the remains, which might result in transference of the
deceased's mana to an enemy.
3. Traditional Burial Site of Bones of
An early traditional
reference to the area in the late eighteenth century mentions the burial
in a hidden cave at Kaloko of Kahekili, the ruler of Maui. However, the
most significant burial ceremony traditionally reported to have taken
place there is that of Kamehameha, although there is no firm proof of
this event. His bones were supposedly transported by canoe from Kailua
to Kaloko, where the bearers of the royal remains met the man in charge
of the secret burial cave, and together they placed the bones in the
same depository used for Kahekili. Kamakau presents a description of this burial place, relating:
Kaloko [pond] is another
famous burial pit; it is at Kaloko, in Kekaha, Hawaii. [In a cave that
opens into the side of the pond] were laid Kahekili, the ruler of Maui,
his sister Kalola, and her daughter, Keku'iapoiwa Liliha, the
grandmother of Kamehameha III. This is the burial cave, ana huna,
where Kame'eiamoku and Hoapili hid the bones of Kamehameha I so that
they would never be found.
Kamehameha's burial place
has been a subject of long conjecture, and will probably never be
identified beyond doubt. On the basis of traditional sources, however,
and on the basis of a lack of any solid evidence for an alternative
site, it is thought to be at Kaloko.
In 1887 King Kalakaua
designated a man named Kapalu, who had guided him to a burial cave at
Kaloko in which he supposedly beheld Kamehameha's bones, as overseer and
keeper of the "Royal Burial Ground" at Kaloko. A year later Kalakaua
wrote that he ordered Kapalu to retrieve the bones, which the king took
to Honolulu and deposited in the Royal Mausoleum in Nu'uanu Valley.
There is some question as to whether the bones were authentic and
differing accounts exist as to what happened to them in later years. Barrθre, in commenting on the Kamehameha burial question, states:
it is obvious that
conflicting stories were given by informants named and unnamed since the
early 1820s. The earliest stories were no doubt purposely misleading;
the later ones are mainly versions of the earlier, with the
embellishments to be expected in the retelling of oral traditions. If,
despite vehement denials, the bones Kalakaua obtained at Kaloko and
deposited in the Mausoleum in Nuuanu were indeed those of Kamehameha,
they were spirited away from there before March of 1918, and this story
too becomes but another version of the tale of the bones.
Let those who will,
profess knowledge of the hiding place of the bones of Kamehameha "The
morning star alone knows. . . ."
4. Association with Kamehameha II
Another early reference
to the Kaloko area states that after Liholiho's meeting with the
ali'i at Kawaihae shortly after his father's death, when discussions
were held to resolve political and economic issues plaguing the kingdom,
the young heir went to Honokohau to consecrate a heiau. Because
he was intoxicated, however, the ritual was considered imperfect. It was
immediately after this incident that he returned to Kailua and abolished
the kapu system.
G. Description of Resources
Fishponds are impressive
examples of native prehistoric engineering/technological achievements
and comprise one of the many effective techniques Hawaiians used in
adapting to a sometimes hostile environment. On the North Kona Coast
most of the land is covered with lava that has not yet decomposed to the
degree that it produces enough soil for large-scale agriculture. The dry
and bleak environment of the Kekaha region between Honokohau and
'Anaeho'omalu was somewhat ameliorated by the presence in ancient times
of nineteen major fishponds. Enabling a larger population by bolstering
food resources, these ponds became the focal point of settlement and
social organization in the area.
Very few fishponds exist
on Hawai'i Island, because many are being filled in to create more land
for housing developments. The two at Kaloko-Honokohau, therefore,
comprise some of the park's most significant and unique resources.
Kaloko is a loko kuapa, or walled fishpond, formed by sealing off
a small bay. 'Ai'opio Fishtrap was built by constructing a stone seawall
arc from the shore to form an enclosed body of water. It is considered a
fishtrap rather than a fishpond because it lacks a sluice gate.
'Aimakapa Fishpond is a lagoon formed behind a barrier beach.
Kaloko Fishpond and
'Ai'opio Fishtrap are the only remaining large Hawaiian aquacultural
structures with extensive ancient foundation remains in place in
relatively good condition. In addition, many prehistoric and historic
sites associated with them and their use are present.
'Ai'opio is the only fishtrap on the island of Hawai'i, and in addition
to its good state of preservation, is a significant example of one
aspect of prehistoric fishing technology.
One of the general
settlement types identified for the Hawaiian Islands is referred to as
an agglutinated pattern. This pattern is characterized by high
population density, a grouped community, clustered residential sites,
and clear boundary delineations between the cluster and sites outside
it. Agglutinated sites tend to be found along the shore in coastal areas
with sandy beaches and safe canoe anchorages that offer good fishing and
surfing possibilities in other words, generally idyllic settings.
They also are often associated with people of high status. The Kaloko, 'Aimakapa,
and 'Ai'opio sites are all representative of the agglutinated settlement
pattern. All three exhibit a density of habitation features and the
presence of temples and shrines, as well as canoe and net sheds
supporting fishpond maintenance and harvest. These sites did not support
a very large population, however, probably indicating that the pond
harvests were not generally available for public use.
b) 'Aimakapa Fishpond
'Aimakapa, the larger of
the fishponds, comprises about fifteen acres. It is a loko pu'uone
type pond, a large natural water area trapped behind sand dunes. It was
originally much larger, including another fifteen acres that are now
marshland. A stone-lined channel cut through the beach once formed the
sluice gate by which seawater entered the pond. 'Aimakapa also has
secondary walls, forming at least six compartments for separating fish.
The pond is intact, though somewhat overgrown. It still contains awa
(milkfish) and is an important wildlife refuge for native and migratory
birds. Numerous sites along its shores indicate intensive human
activity, particularly use by ali'i for recreational and
The nearby holua
is one of eight surviving in Kona, others existing at Ka'upulehu,
Keauhou, Honaunau (2), Keokea, Ki'ilae, and Okoe. It and the one at
Keauhou allowed two contestants to compete simultaneously. The slide is
a narrow built-up stone track covered with grass to create a slick
sledding surface. The sled itself was a narrow piece of wood on which
the contestant threw himself full length, attempting to remain on the
track all the way to the bottom. It is said that only ali'i
participated in this sport. The takeoff and runway to the brow of the
a'a flow are well preserved, but the lower section of slide has been
cannibalized for stones to construct two corrals on the flat below. At
the head of the holua is a graveyard, while house sites and tombs
are found at the base of the hill supporting the slide. Scattered
petroglyphs may be seen throughout the area, as well as ancient heiau
remains on the pahoehoe plain.
A platform close to the
Mamalahoa Trail might have been used as a gathering place for meetings
and/or ceremonies. On a high point behind 'Aimakapa stands a large
stone, called Kanaka Leo Nui, meaning "man with a loud voice."
Tradition says that in ancient times the chief by that name stood on
this stone while directing fishing activities off the coast. This pond
is thought to have been in existence prior to the fifteenth century A.D.
There also appear to be remains of an old unnamed fishpond seaward of
the present coastline, makai of 'Aimakapa Fishpond, that are
visible in the water.
According to tradition,
chiefs directed the activities of Kaloko-Honokohau inhabitants by
issuing hand or flag (ka pa) signals to their subordinates from
high places such as the bluff above 'Aimakapa Fishpond.
|Illustration 107. Two
sketches of archeological sites in the vicinity of 'Aimakapa
Fishpond. Top: From Kikuchi and Belshe, "Examination and
Evaluation of Fishponds," p. B17. Bottom: Figure 38 in Kikuchi,
"Hawaiian Aquacultural System," p. 176.
(click for an enlargement in a new window)
Sketches showing possible locations of ancient fishpond wall
southwest of 'Aimakapa Fishpond. Top: Figure 39 in Rosendahl,
Archeological Salvage of Ke-ahole to Anehoomalu Section, p.
110. Bottom: Figure 10 in Kelly, Historical Survey of Kaloko,
(click for an enlargement in a new window)
Top: remains of sluice gate for 'Aimakapa Fishpond. Middle:
possible remains of another fishpond or some other type of
structure in sea west of beach near 'Aimakapa Fishpond. Bottom:
view to southeast of 'Aimakapa Fishpond. NPS photos, 1989.
c) 'Ai'opio Fishtrap
'Ai'opio Fishtrap is almost
two acres in size and roughly circular in shape. Its seaward side is
separated from the ocean by a manmade stone wall, while its other sides
are bordered by rocky lava headlands and the sandy beach. Fish entered
the pond at high tide through a narrow channel in the seawall; it has no
sluice gate. Four rectangular walled enclosures within the pond along
the shoreline were probably used either as holding pens for netted fish
or as lanes in which the fish were netted. Kickuchi and Belshe have suggested that, because of their proximity to
each other, 'Ai'opio might have played a supporting role in the
management of 'Aimakapa Fishpond, possibly providing its fish supply.
House sites can be seen around the pond area, while inland are large
concrete salt pans and the remains of frame houses, indicating occupancy
of this area into the twentieth century.
|Illustration 112. 'Ai'opio
Fishtrap and associated archeological sites. Top: From Kikuchi
and Belshe, "Examination and Evaluation of Fishponds," p. B12.
Bottom: Figure 39 in Kikuchi, "Hawaiian Aquacultural Systems,"
(click for an enlargement in a new window)
|Illustration 113. 'Ai'opio
Fishtrap, view to north showing encircling stone wall and
fishermen's huts. NPS photo, 1989.
|Illustration 114. View
from Pu'u'onia Heiau toward 'Ai'opio Fishtrap. NPS photo, 1989.
Other important resources
within the park and nearby vicinity are the several heiau located
between Wawahiwa'a Point in Kohanaiki and the Alula Bay area in
Kealakehe, The two most important of these are Maka'opio (Hale-o-Lono)
on Alula Bay and Pu'u'oina (Hale-o-Mano) south of 'Ai'opio Fishtrap.
a) Maka'opio Heiau
The fisherman's heiau
known as Maka'opio, a Hale-o-Lono class of heiau, is a low
rectangular platform built out into a shallow, ponded area. Its
outstanding features are two great upright stone slabs, measuring over
six feet five inches in height, that rise above the pavement
perpendicular to the seaward face. The stones, one of which bears a
petroglyph of a man about twenty-four inches high, may have represented
fishermen's gods. Also present is a small ko'a (fishing shrine)
comprising a large, smooth stone (ku'ula) standing on a platform.
Nearby are ancient house sites, petroglyphs, and bathing pools.
b) Pu'u'oina (Hale-o-Mano) Heiau
sometimes referred to as Hale-o-Mano, stands just inland from Maliu
Point and measures about 50 by 145 feet. It is considered the finest
example of a platform heiau in Kona. Oral tradition states that
this was an operations and dwelling area for warrior priests.
Standing on the south shore of Honokohau Bay, at the south side of 'Ai'opio
Fishtrap, the heiau's huge waterworn boulders form an impressive
structure. Some appropriation of stones for construction of a fence has
taken place, and stone from the north side has been used to build nearby
houses. Steps are located in the structure's east wall. The surface of
the temple is divided into several segments, including raised platforms,
a paved depression, and an area of waterworn boulders. Some later
alterations are apparent in the structure. Found on the surface level at
the east end are a house platform and a canoe platform. The heiau
may have utilized the small brackish pool on its south side in
connection with its ceremonies. Northwest of the heiau is a large
burial platform and just north of the graves a platform ruin lies in the
water. The seawall of 'Ai'opio Fishtrap begins at the heiau's
northeast corner. Another small platform ruin exists in the water a few
yards east. Another platform, on which a hut has been erected, is
located at the east end of the seawall.
There is no known documented relationship between the fishtrap and this
temple, although oral tradition presented earlier did identify the trap
as a holding area supervised by the chief living at Pu'u'oina.
It is thought that
Pu'u'oina was an important base of operations for those governing
Honokohau and North Kona. Its importance derived from its location near
the ocean and the 'Ai'opio Fishtrap, which facilitated directing the
community's important fishing activities.
Pu'u'oina Heiau, east end. Area of walled fishtrap enclosures is
in foreground. NPS photo, 1989.
Fishermen's huts at west end of Pu'u'oina Heiau. NPS photo,
|Illustration 120. South
wall of Pu'u'onia Heiau. Note differences in wall construction.
NPS photos, 1989.
Maka'opio Heiau, view east. NPS photo, 1989.
Maka'opio Heiau, view southwest. NPS photo, 1989.
The significance of grave
sites scattered throughout the Kaloko-Honokohau area was discussed
earlier. Grave features in the park consist of burial cists, graves
bordered with stones, pit burials, burials in natural depressions in the
pahoehoe, platform tombs, and graveyards and cemeteries. To
disturb such sites would be a great sacrilege.
4. Trail Systems
Historian Russell Apple
describes four major types of Hawaiian trails: Type A are single-file
prehistoric paths; Type B came into use after European contact and the
introduction of horses. They were a modification of Type A trails, with
curbstones and causeways; Type C were two horse wide and built in
straight lines between major points, cutting off the small coastal
settlements. The Mamalahoa Trail, a straight, curbed, cut-and-fill path,
is a good example of this type. They were commonly built by labor forces
conscripted by the island governors during the mid-nineteenth century.
With the introduction of wheeled vehicles, Type C trails were modified,
widened, and realigned into Type D trails.
In prehistoric as well as
historic times, trail networks were important adjuncts to the Hawaiian
social and economic systems. They served both as major routes between
specific land units and social groups and as internal networks of lesser
trails for transportation and communication within an ahupua'a.
The earliest trails were designed only for foot traffic because the
people had no draft animals or wheeled vehicles. They were not
particularly smooth, flat, or easy to follow. Sometimes they meandered,
based on the availability of rocks for marking the route. Residents of
an ahupua'a built trails running mauka-makal as soon as
they settled into an area to facilitate food gathering and goods
exchange. These goods were transported by sling nets or carrying poles.
Major commercial trails
between ahupua'a, villages, and towns running on the contour of
the island along the coast were a necessity and were quickly
incorporated into the overall trail system. Other major routes were
built over the mountain ranges to connect communities on opposite sides
of the island. One very important trail, the King's Highway, borders the
Kona Coast and is still visible from the Queen Ka'ahumanu Highway
between Kawaihae and Kailua. It was used for commerce, troop movements,
carrying messages, collecting taxes, and other government activities. It
was considered very safe for travel, being specifically under the
auspices of King Kamehameha I's "law of the splintered paddle," which
directed that any traveler could use the highway without fear of being
It led from Kawaihae to Kiholo, upslope to Huehue, and down again to
Kaloko, Honokohau, Kealakehe, and Kailua.
The trails of Kekaha
reflect various stages in the development of the region, as relations
were established between coastal and inland villages and between coastal
settlements. Several examples exist within this park of the most ancient
footpaths of the area, comprised either of steppingstones of smooth
waterworn cobbles brought from the seashore and placed three to four
feet apart or of flat lava slabs laid over the rough a'a flows.
White coral pebbles that reflected moonlight marked some paths for night
travel. Other paths across a'a flows consisted of simple, worn,
trough-like depressions formed by feet crushing clinkers into a
pebble-sized bed. In some places these trails were modified in historic
times for animal travel and thus some of their earliest integrity lost.
Where no old foot trails existed to be modified, new horse trails were
built in historic times, mainly for commercial purposes.
In Kaloko-Honokohau the
residents built a system of mauka-makai trails to travel and
communicate with extended family members and friends. Other routes
traversed the coast laterally to transport food and other goods to
neighboring ahupua'a. Several trails are found in the
Kaloko-Honokohau area, mostly short footpaths comprising a local trail
system, used both in the prehistoric and early historic (pre-1840)
periods. Some prehistoric trails modified with curbs have been
identified here, as well as new, probably post-1840, straight curbed
Although a mauka -makai exchange system was used for many
products, the produce of Kaloko and the other fishponds would not have
been available for exchange and use by commoners. The public Mamalahoa
Trail and the ancient coastal trail were two major routes around the
island, leading south to Kailua-Kona and north to Keahole. In early
times the coastal trail would have facilitated transportation of fish
from this area to Kamakahonu Kamehameha's court and primary political
and economic center in Kailua which probably consumed most of the
products from the ponds in the area. The coastal trail ran right by 'Ai'opio
These trails are an
important component of the park's cultural landscape, providing data on
the linkages between communities. They comprise a record of local
movement and sometimes include associated features such as small cairns
placed as markers along the routes or petroglyphs (especially where
smooth lava is found) that serve as pictorial signatures of people who
passed by. Often caves or small walled shelters are found that served as
resting places along longer trails. The Mamalahoa Trail is one of the
most significant resources in the park, but all the trails are important
in illustrating early communication, transportation, and commercial
networks. Their importance to the prehistoric Hawaiian subsistence
economy cannot be overlooked, because they were the lifelines for food
exchange. They were a direct result of the belief that everyone had
access rights to the products of the land and ocean for their
The early Hawaiian trail
system made this type of utilization possible within the land unit.
Along the leeward coasts these trails can still be seen and indeed many
are still used today by fishermen and campers.
Examples of two types of features found in the Honokohau area.
Figures 9 and 10 from Emory and Soehren, Archaeological and
Historical Survey, Honokohau Area, pp. 22, 24.
5. Ahu (Cairns)
Near the boundary between
Kaloko and Honokohau is a feature referred to as the "Queen's Bath." The
site includes twelve lava mounds arranged in a rectangular form around a
brackish pool hidden in the extremely rough a'a lava flow. Seven
cairns in the southwest corner of the rectangle stand out because of
their size and construction. They are graduated in height from ten feet
to five feet, while the other mounds are smaller and more irregular in
shape and construction. Each of the seven large structures is carefully
faced with rough lava and all seven are crumbled on one side, possibly
as a result of people climbing them. At the north end of the rectangle
is an anchialine pond that has been modified into a bathing pool. A
barely discernible trail leads to it from between the two largest cairns
and continues on north. The sides of the pool have been cleared and
leveled and the water lined with smooth lava blocks to form a sort of
rectangular underwater bathtub. Smooth slabs have been set around the
sides as seats. At the east end of the pool the lava was excavated to
form an enclosure walled on three sides, the side facing the pool being
open. Probably it was covered over and used as a bathing shelter.
A traditional story is that
"the queen" bathed here while guards on top of the cairns stood watch
for intruders. Some traditions say she came by canoe to a landing nearby
and was carried over the rough lava to the secluded and guarded pool in
which smooth stone ledges had been placed for her comfort.
One local informant stated years ago that the pool was the private
bathing place of Kamehameha, who stationed his guards by the ahu.
Others have suggested these cairns are boundary markers.
Kelly recounts that one early ruler, Umi, used ahu like these as
a way of taking census, requiring the population of each of his
districts to erect an ahu to which each person living in that
district contributed one stone. She knew of no such practice at
One informant stated that when she and her family stayed at Kaloko for
weeks at a time, they bathed in this pool.
The evidence for this
pool actually being used as a bathing place for a "queen" in ancient
times is tenuous. Cordy and his colleagues surmise that this complex has
religious significance, perhaps as an ahupua'a shrine, but this
may never be known with certainty.
The pool is used today by many people for bathing. Ongoing archeological
survey work indicates the entire pool may be manmade.
Top: distant view of ahu surrounding "Queen's Bath."
Middle: close-up view of an ahu. Bottom: anchialine pond
referred to as "Queen's Bath." NPS photo, 1989.
|Illustration 127. Ahu
surrounding the temple of Kaili on the island of Hawai'i. From
Wilkes Atlas (1845), facing p. 100.
Agricultural enclosure near road to Kaloko Fishpond. NPS photo,
Semicircular stone-walled enclosure, Kaloko area. NPS photo,
H. Significance of Resources and
Establishment of a National Historical Park
In 1962 the Honokohau
Settlement area, including Kaloko Fishpond, was designated a National
Historic Landmark. Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park was authorized on November 10,
1978, encompassing about the same area as the landmark. It was
established to preserve important aspects of traditional native Hawaiian
culture and land use patterns in a location that contained numerous
significant prehistoric and historical sites illustrating those
activities. The fact that the area was preserved as a complete entity
denotes the value accorded the entire grouping of structures in
illustrating early Hawaiian lifeways. The area possesses strong cultural
and religious associations in connection with ancient Hawaiian burial
rituals, particularly those for ali'i. One very personal aspect
of this close association with the dead a unique characteristic of
Hawaiian culture concerns this being the traditional burial place of
Hawai'i's most famous ruler, King Kamehameha I.
The hundreds of virtually
intact archeological sites in the park and surrounding area include
heiau, fishponds, ko'a (fishing shrines), individual house
platforms as well as complexes of structures, a holua (toboggan
slide), several papamu (konane game boards), burials,
petroglyphs, stone cairns, animal enclosures, more than 100 stone
enclosures serving as agricultural planters, several ahu (stone
mounds serving either as altars, shrines, or security towers), lava tube
shelters, canoe landings, salt pans, and a mauka-makai trail
network. There are more significant sites within this area, both in
terms of number and physical condition, than anywhere else along the
Kona Coast from Kailua to Ke'ahole Point.
Because little use of the land here has been made since early times, it
is possible to gain a fairly reliable impression of the pattern of early
The resources of
Kaloko-Honokohau possess esthetic, cultural, historic, economic,
scientific, and emotional values for the Hawaiian people. The
discussions centering around establishment of this park emphasized that
it was necessary to view and evaluate its fragile resources through a
sensitive and sympathetic understanding of the culture that had shaped
them. Although many details of the Hawaiian religion, language, crafts,
and other cultural aspects were recorded upon the creation of a written
language, there is much tradition that was not recordable, but that is
intangible, a part of the personal and private Hawaiian cultural makeup
that is transmitted best through expressions, action, and the spoken
word. It is clear that the significance of the resources in this area
must be judged not only in the context of their obvious importance to
the study of early Hawaiian culture but also in relation to their
emotional value, their relationship to prevailing cultural attitudes
that have been shaped by the experiences of the past.
The hundreds of
archeological sites identified in the park to date indicate prehistoric
and historic occupation of the area by a large population, both
maka'ainana (commoners) and high ali'i (chiefs). A very
active religious-political center, its economic life, based in large
part on its fishponds, was geared toward supporting the social and
political status of the Kona chiefs. The remains illustrate maritime
aspects of early Hawaiian culture, encompassing subsistence activities,
residential patterns, social interactions, and religious practices, in
addition to artistic achievements and recreational pastimes. The
concentration of resources in Kaloko-Honokohau provides direct evidence
that a larger population existed here than elsewhere along the coast,
probably because of the presence of the fishponds, which are the only
resources of this type left between Kailua and Ke'ahole Point.
The park is valuable to archeologists for the study of the activities of
pre and early-contact Hawaiians and changes occuring in subsistence
patterns and land ownership over time. For native Hawaiians, this is a
sacred place, a place where revered ancestors lived and died.
Future plans are to create
an environment in which to educate Hawaiians about their culture; to
stabilize selected, significant historic remains; to preserve fishponds;
and to manage and interpret these cultural resources in a meaningful and
sensitive way to the public. The primary interpretive effort will
address numerous aspects of the Hawaiian culture, including language,
subsistence interactions with the land and sea, aquaculture, family
systems, religious beliefs, and ancient dances, crafts, and other
Significant cultural resources, Kaloko-Honokohau NHP. Top:
petroglyphs. Middle: village site. Bottom: Mamalahoa Trail. NPS
I. Archeological Research Accomplished
1. Honokohau Area
In 1969 the Lanihau
Corporation contracted with the Bishop Museum for a survey of the
Honokohau area within the landmark where the company planned commercial
development. Deborah F. Cluff conducted this reconnaisance of the
seaward portion of Honokohau, mapping and recording features. The
following is some of the detailed information on resources she provided
that enlarges on the descriptions presented earlier in this section.
Cluff noted 'Aimakapa
Fishpond as a large and still functioning body of water surrounded by
marsh and dense groundcover with a stretch of sandy beach on the west.
She believed the area surrounding the pond offered potential for
archaeological research on the adaptation of the aboriginal Hawaiians to
the land and its various resources.
She mentioned finding numerous sites, including paved footpaths, rock
shelters, walls, scattered graves, monumental ahu, a burial
ground, walled enclosures, platforms, and the holua.
The area lying between 'Aimakapa
Fishpond and 'Ai'opio Fishtrap and continuing east from there she found
to be very important historically and archaeologically. Its features
were more elaborately constructed and suggested more permanent
occupation. Architectural styles indicated a culture in the process of
change, as evidenced by the find of a cement tomb in the shape of an
early grass house. She also found numerous petroglyphs depicting figures
and objects common in prehistoric Hawai'i as well as Western motifs such
as European ships and rifles. Cluff wrote that 'Aimakapa Fishpond, with its population of birds, its
petroglyphs, its heiau, house platforms, holua, papamu,
trails, bait cups carved in pahoehoe, and burial ground, all
located in one general area, provided a unique opportunity to view
numerous components of an ancient Hawaiian village.
Cluff summarized that her
findings substantiated that the region was important in both prehistoric
and early historic Hawai'i. The importance of Honokohau's coastal
portion lay in its fishponds. Her survey showed extensive use of the
available land, including placement of shelters and burials on the
rugged a'a beds and of crude shelters as well as better
constructed house platforms and a heiau, bait cups, papamu,
and petroglyphs on the pahoehoe. These areas contain information
on many of the activities of early Hawaiian culture especially house
construction, religious ceremonies, and burial practices. Some of the
small enclosures she found appeared to have been used for horticulture,
although she believed the primary reliance for food rested on marine
resources. The social system was well established, Cluff surmised, with
commoners living in the barren a'a and pahoehoe areas,
while royalty utilized the flat region close to the fishponds and near
the heiau and holua. The most recent occupation had been
around the ponds where petroglyphs depict historic objects and cement
was used in wall and grave construction.
Honokohau coastal area surveyed for archeological sites in 1969.
Figures 1 and 2 in Cuff, Archaeological Survey of the Seaward
Portion of Honokohau #1 and #2, pp. 4, 6.
(click for an enlargement in a new window)
2. Kaloko Area
a) Robert Renger's Work
In 1970 the Bishop Museum
began work in the Kaloko area of the landmark under a contract with the
Kona Coast Company (Huehue Ranch). The data was to be used in planning
for a major hotel and residential complex at Kaloko. Robert Renger
conducted the archeological reconnaissance of the area around and
including Kaloko Fishpond.
Renger found at least
three trails running mauka-makai and several sources of fresh
water in the first area surveyed, encompassing the northwest corner of
Kaloko ahupua'a and the area immediately around the fishpond. The
pond itself consisted of five elements: a primary seawall facing on the
ocean and the main pond area and four secondary pond walls built of
faced lava fill and of varying widths. Other sites recorded in the
pond's vicinity included a walled area containing a coconut grove and
the remains of a frame house and another frame structure a fisherman's
shack (net storage house no longer extant) on the edge of the
fishpond. Fishermen and picnickers have impacted this area. The main
pond seawall showed evidence of three different techniques in
construction, repair, and modification.
Other features nearby included a house-platform complex on the southwest
side of the pond arm, a house compound surrounded by a three- to
four-foot-high wall on a knoll overlooking the fishpond, a second house
complex, segments of a coral-paved mauka-makai trail, a
papamu, walled enclosures, possible canoe house sites, platforms,
Renger found, in the area
along the coast south of Kaloko Fishpond, two major trails paralleling
the coast and one running mauka-makai. There were also several
secondary trails connecting the structural complexes with main trails
and wells. Most sites there occurred along the mauka edge of the
low sand dunes on the edge of the a'a and ranged from crude slab
shelters to very large paved platform complexes. Several small
steppingstone trails led into the dense brakes along the edge of the
a'a. Within the brakes Renger found several tube shelters and a
possible pen structure. He assumed that other features were probably
covered by undergrowth. Individual sites comprised house enclosures;
platforms; wells; trails; a lava tube shelter and enclosure; a large
complex with enclosures, platforms, ahu, leveled areas, hearths,
slab shelters, and a tube shelter; circular enclosures; and other
individual tube shelters.
|Illustration 136. A
walled-structure complex comprising a house platform unit on the
southwest side of Kalokok Fishpond joined by walls with a larger
complex on the east side of the pond arm. Figure 10 in Renger,
Archaeological Reconnaissance of Coastal Kaloko and Kukio I,
(click for an enlargement in a new window)
A smaller surveyed
portion inland of the area described above contained a large quantity
and high density of features, mostly burials. Renger found more than ten
well-built platforms, several leveled areas, ahu, and two caves
with more than thirty burials between them, many disturbed. The ground
was composed of rough ridges of a'a forming a plateau overlooking
the coast. One of the caves contained seven people buried intact in an
extended position the only instance found in the area of this form of
burial practice. The other cave contained seventeen secondary burials, a
post-contact coffin burial, and a possible bundle burial.
The next section surveyed
was the northern edge of the a'a flow covering the southern half
of Kaloko. There Renger found doorless enclosures, petroglyphs, a few
house floors, and four tube shelters.
More than fifty small enclosures, about three feet high, exist there,
their walls constructed of a'a chunks. A jeep trail runs
mauka-makai down the entire length of the area, seemingly following
the path of an earlier trail.
(This is probably the jeep trail constructed to take fish to market,
maybe an earlier donkey trail.)
Another area surveyed, in
the southern half of Kaloko, was composed of rough a'a running
mauka from the burial plateau. The mauka-makai jeep trail,
Huehue Ranch road, and Mamalahoa Trail all cross the northern portion of
this area. Archeological sites there consisted of one burial, six
enclosures, and one possible house foundation.
The last area surveyed
comprised the entire northeast corner of coastal Kaloko, bisected by the
Mamalahoa Trail. In addition there were two major mauka-makai
trails found, one of which forked just mauka of the Mamalahoa
Trail. Indications existed that these were still used by fishermen and
horsemen. Archeological features included two low platforms, several
ahu, two stone circles, several enclosures, and two wall segments.
|Illustration 137. A large
complex of enclosures, platforms, ahu, level areas,
hearths, and slab and tube shelters. Figure 17 in Renger,
Archaeological Reconnaissance of Coastal Kaloko and Kukio I,
(click for an enlargement in a new window)
In summary, Renger stated
that the density and variety of features in coastal Kaloko provided many
good illustrations of the types of environmental adaptation practiced by
early Hawaiians. The high concentration of features, the density of the
shell midden, and the number of artifacts found along the coast and
around the fishpond indicated to Renger that the people exploited their
maritime and fishpond resources intensively. He theorized that many of
the small enclosures found were constructed for dry-land horticulture,
while major trails running maukai-makai provided access to
vegetables and other resources on Hualalai. The types of structures he
found and their distribution provided him with some indication of social
conditions there in early times. The presence of carefully constructed,
massive structures and complexes around the fishpond and on the
pahoehoe, for instance, suggested to him that the ali'i lived
in those areas.
The simple shelters and platforms on the a'a, however, were
probably residences of commoners. Society within the settlement must
have been based on a hierarchical social system, he explained, because
the size of the kuapa across the mouth of the fishpond would have
necessitated a considerable labor force over an extended period of time
for its construction. Controlling and supporting with food and shelter
such a sizeable body of workmen would have required a stable and
well-organized social system. More recent occupation of the area had
also centered around the fishpond and focused on use of marine
Surveyed sectionof Kaloko containing a square platform, a slab
shelter, a level paved area, a tidal water well, an ahu,
and a stepping-stone trail. Figure 16 in Renger,
Archaeological Reconnaissance of Coastal Kaloko and Kukio I,
(click for an enlargement in a new window)
b) New Study by Ross Cordy,
Joseph Tainter, Robert Renger, and Robert Hitchcock
The new study of Kaloko
ahupua'a recently completed by Ross Cordy et al. presents the
results of recent fieldwork in the coastal Kaloko area. It contains some
revised site descriptions, records additional major features at
previously recorded sites, reclassifies known sites, and provides data
on some completely new sites. The authors identify fifty-eight sites in
the Kaloko coastal zone, comprising twenty site types, plus five
According to their findings, sites used during the nineteenth century
include the coastal cross-ahupua'a trail, Kaloko Fishpond, and
several sites around it, including walled residential lots with
associated trail branches, a residential complex, solitary houses, and
miscellaneous walled structures. None of the sites, excluding the
fishpond, the shoreline trail, and some of the walled house lots, was in
use by the 1880s to 1900s. Only one house lot at a time was occupied,
presumably by the pond's caretaker.
J. Contributing and Non-Contributing
features, the fishponds, and the trail system are significant park
resources. There are, in addition, natural and cultural elements that do
not contribute to the significance of the area. Alien vegetation, such
as kiawe, exists within the park. Wooden cabins hug the shore in
Honokohau ahupua'a, and several modern jeep roads cross the
settlement area. A paved secondary road provides public access from the
Queen Ka'ahumanu Highway to the Honokohau Harbor, while a narrow,
unimproved road leads from the major highway to Kaloko Fishpond. The
physical remains of early Hawaiian culture inside the park, however,
remain essentially untouched today.
K. Threats to Resources
As with other previously
undeveloped areas along the Hawaiian coastline, Kaloko has undergone its
share of planning for resort, recreational, and housing purposes.
Construction of houses has taken place mauka over the last few
years, and it was the possibility of resort development starting on the
coast that caused the concern, discussion, and study leading to
establishment of the national park. Now another resort/development phase
is underway. Construction of houses is going forward in the uplands at
the same time industrial structures and warehouse facilities are
spreading out along the mauka side of the Queen Ka'ahumanu
Highway. Consideration is being given to expansion of Honokohau Harbor,
with plans being drawn for more resorts, condominiums, and other
recreational facilities along the coastline north of Kailua. Viewed
within this context, Kaloko and Honokohau as a national historical park
may well soon be the only remaining sizable enclave in the Greater
Kailua region where the coastal archaeological remains of past centuries
can be viewed as a whole."
This situation, of course, greatly increases the park's value.
Of particular concern,
then, are the possibilities of uncontrolled use of the area and the loss
of significant resources that are still in private ownership. Many of
the Filipino fishermen living in the area of 'Ai'opio Fishtrap, for
instance, have established houses on top of ancient heiau
platforms. The presence of a nude bathing area along the coast near the
"Queen's Bath" attracts many visitors who picnic, fish, swim, and
participate in other water-related activities. This type of use will
undoubtedly increase, especially with expansion of the harbor
facilities, and poses a potential threat to this fragile and unique
L. Management Recommendations
This section has
attempted to stress the significant research, interpretive, and
educational value of cultural resources within Kaloko-Honokohau NHP.
Because of the scarcity of fishponds in Hawai'i, those in this park
should without question be preserved to illustrate the original
character, type of land use, and cultural landscape of the area. In
addition, they provide information on the techniques of aquaculture,
which might be modified and put into use today or at the very least be a
means of passing on knowledge of ancient engineering skills to the
present generation to help in comprehension of their cultural heritage.
These resources provide lessons in environmental adaptation as well as
structural engineering. Kaloko would be a major interpretive feature if
restored as an authentic fishpond after studies to determine its
original form and components.
features in the park should be preserved, preferably in their present
state. The variety of features, their location in one area of the coast,
and the amount of historical documentation and archeological survey
results available make this an ideal interpretive and educational area.
Many of the features around 'Aimakapa Fishpond and 'Ai'opio Fishtrap are
unique. Even though little documentary evidence exists, and no
historical descriptions of the area have been found, these remain a
valuable model from which to gain information and form hypotheses about
the Hawaiian heritage. All resources can contribute to providing a
holistic view of early Hawaiian lifeways.
Several house platforms
and Maka'opio Heiau, located in the vicinity of Honokohau Harbor on
state land, should be interpreted. The NPS is trying to work out a
cooperative agreement with the state to restore this heiau. The state
could plan for this area a unique park setting within which significant
resources could be preserved, providing an unusual educational
opportunity for harbor users.
Currently, vegetation in
the park consists of grasses, exotic thorn trees, and shrubs covering
the ancient pahoehoe lava flow. Behind this, spreading up toward
Hualalai, is the more recent covering of a'a lava. A Cultural
Landscape Report should be programmed to determine the types of plants
and shrubs originally present and the changes in vegetation over the
years. This report would help determine a treatment plan
(removal/control) for introduced alien species and for native plant
maintenance. Any clearing of the pond and shore areas will undoubtedly
uncover more archeological resources, possibly enabling more accurate
dating of pond construction and adding to the research value and
educational opportunities of the park.
It has been recommended
that 'Aimakapa Fishpond be preserved as a wildlife refuge. Two species
of native waterbirds found there are federally listed as endangered
species; 'Aimakapa provides an important habitat for them. It has also
been recommended that if Kaloko is restored as a fishpond, concessions
should be made to foster waterbird use there as well. Because endangered
waterbirds are present in the Kaloko wetlands, the Endangered Species
Act will have some affect on the kind of activities that can take place
there. Planned non-native vegetation removal should be considered a high
management priority for wetland habitat restoration.
Later sites, such as the
salt pans, house ruins, and foundations of the Honokohau community
church around the fishtrap are also important educational tools because
they illustrate changing land use and habitation patterns. These
features resulted from a variety of economic, social, and political
pressures and should be retained as showing continuing adaptation by
residents of the area, both native Hawaiians and immigrant ethnic
groups, to meet subsistence needs.
stabilization of significant archeological resources in the park, such
as the fishponds, the village site, the tombs and associated structures
near the holua, and the heiau, is an NPS management
responsibility. The NPS should be intent on preserving the present
appearance of these ruins and interpreting pre-European contact and
historical values at each site. The full-range of activities in the area
by early populations can be transmitted clearly and well through
interpretive devices that do not affect the integrity of the ruins or
their research value in the future.
It is recommended that
development within the park be held to a minimum to preclude intrusion
on the area's visual integrity and destruction of the prehistoric and
historic scene. Necessary facilities for visitor use could ideally be
restricted to areas outside the park boundaries, except for interpretive
devices needed to explain the area's significance, essential facilities
such as restrooms and designated picnic areas, and whatever minimal
structures are needed for visitor and resource protection in what will
undoubtedly become a high-use visitor area. (A draft General Management
Plan is now in press that defines development plans for the park.)
M. Further Research Needs
Fishponds and associated
archeological sites are valuable educational resources. Kaloko-Honokohau
is an especially important area because
Near other fishponds, in
districts and areas traditionally and historically classified as being
settlements of nobility and as serving as court areas, any such
archeological remains have been destroyed, leaving little or no evidence
of the settlement patterns which once existed.
This frequent lack of
associated archeological sites has made dating fishponds very
problematical. The presence of so many house sites and other structures
near the ponds in this park that can be surveyed and tested give this
area added significance. Much archaeological work and documentary
research focusing on the park area has been accomplished in the last
thirty years, resulting in extensive knowledge of the location and
nature of sites and of the historical background of the Kaloko area in
significance of this area lies in its high research potential due to the
density of sites and to the broad cross-section of Hawaiian culture that
they represent. Studies to date have provided significant details about
the culture along this important section of the Kona Coast and about
ancient Hawaiian society in general. Kaloko-Honokohau particularly
offers an opportunity to gather data on the sea-related aspects of early
Hawaiian culture. Studies on the structures here and their spatial
distribution can provide data on their functional uses and on the social
interactions of the community. The cultural deposits could help in
organizing the sequence of adaptations to the environment and help
refine our present chronology of Hawaiian occupation of the islands.
The interpretive value of
cultural resources in this park is unique in the islands. The resources
here are in such close proximity to each other and in such good
condition that they can be interpreted with minimum effort. The park
area exemplifies early Hawaiian coastal settlements that supported
typical subsistence and social activities, although this area also
sustained an active religious/political component associated with the
presence of ali'i. Nowhere else on the Kona Coast does such a a
diversity of sites exist, including habitations illustrating residential
patterns and social hierarchies, petroglyphs providing a glimpse of
ancient communication forms and motifs, heiau and burials
exemplifying religious and supernatural beliefs, fishponds exhibiting a
specialized subsistence technique, and a feature like the holua
that represents royal recreational activity.
Cordy et al., in their
new report, suggest that further study of the Huehue Ranch operations
that moved into Kaloko beginning in 1906 would be appropriate relative
to location of buildings, walls, roads, and associated evidence of ranch
Basic data collection,
mapping, and documentation of features should continue as new sites are
found. An Archeological Base Map is needed as are available for the
other two parks in this study. In addition, funding should be sought for
a Park Administrative History documenting circumstances leading to the
park's establishment, land acquisition procedures, and planning efforts
to date. An Ethnographic Overview and Assessment and an ethnohistory
should also be programmed.