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Hanalei Colony Resort

The Hanalei Colony Resort, near the edge of Ha‘ena, offers 48 condominiums for rent starting around $150 per night.

"If you look at Hawaii today,"Carlos says, "you see the very wealthy ending up on the beach, and the people who were here first, not being able to afford to live on the beach any more, because of the taxation system. So they're ending up moving back and back and back." This situation, Carlos surmises, is not unlike what is thought to be the origins of the Menehune, as was discussed in the Arrival section. The same principles are at work, but some of the circumstances have changed:

"The beach was a prime place to live in ancient times because of the weather. Number one, it's usually drier close to the beach, drier than it is back up in the mountains. The second thing is access to the sea for protein--the fish, the limu, and other resources. In those days, everything was raised and eaten, and because there's more sunlight down at the beach, you can raise taro much better there than you can way back in the mountain. It matures more quickly, and gives more of a crop. So since the desired place to live was next to the sea, the powerful people end up living by the sea, in the most prime locations.

"Today the same situation occurs, except that because of our tie into the American economy, we're no longer tied to the beaches. Because they no longer have to live off of what's grown on the land (since food is shipped in), and because our building materials are so much better, the high mountains afford another prime spot. It's cool up there, and there's privacy.

"So these days the very rich live by the ocean, and live up high on the mountains, and everybody else is spread between, in the pockets. So there are these marginal areas where the poor guys live, like Wai‘anae and Waimanalo on O‘ahu, and places like that. That's a reflection of that logic--that when the conquerors come in, they get the best real estate, and the other people have to move, or assimilate and become part of that culture, or they resist it and get annihilated, or just pushed. Or they try to separate themselves by going into isolation somewhere. The Menehune, some of them at least, went into isolation. And according to this census, in the time of Kaumuali‘i-- which is the time of Kamehameha, of Captain Cook--there were 65 people who self-identified as Menehune. They were real people."



The problem today in Ha‘ena bears this mark. After land was privatized--first with the Mahele, and a century later with the break-up of the Hui Ku‘ai ‘Aina--it became a market commodity. And in accordance with the principle of supply and demand, the prices went up, especially on the near-shore areas in this beautiful, remote location. The fame of Ha‘ena, Hanalei and the Halele‘a district generally in guidebooks as the place that served as the backdrop for many famous movies (South Pacific, Bali Hai, King Kong, Jurassic Park) has added to its allure, and has continued to bring people from outside seeking a tropical paradise.

So in Ha‘ena, "as more people bought land here along the beaches, with the county taxes and the fair market value, the price of land went up and up and up. The taxes on these local folks' lands, which were basically farmlands, lo'i kalo and things like that, got so expensive that one couldn't afford to pay the taxes on the land any more. They were getting into five-digit figures for land taxes. The taxes became so great that they couldn't afford to keep the land any more. And the kind of people that buy it, like the house right on the mouth of Limahuli Stream, this man owned shopping centers in Texas, or something like that. This is the level of the wealth that the local people and the Hawaiian people who still retain land, have to compete with for land.

"Most of the lands out here in Limahuli, in Manoa, and along the plains to Naue are privately owned. Now, the concept of the ahupua'a is a piece of land that goes from the mountains to the sea. But because of the results of the Mahele, and different ideas of property ownership, the ahupua'a has been fragmented. One of the big desires of our community organization is to somehow restore, at least in part, part of the ahupua'a idea of having a continuous piece of land that goes from mountains to sea, which will sustain the community. "



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