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Neighbor Map

GoogleEarth Map of Hā‘ena and its neighbors: within the yellow are the ahupua‘a of Halele‘a. To the right are some of the ahupua‘a of Nā Pali moku. Boundaries are approximate only.


Hā‘ena's neighbors fall into three categories: ahupua‘a in Halele‘a to the East, in the Hanalei direction; valleys to the west, in the Nā Pali direction, and the nearest town of any size—Hanalei itself. In the first group are two nearby valleys, Wainiha and Lumahai. These valleys reach back deep into the heart of the island, and are important for their historical relationship with Hā‘ena. The ali‘i Abner Paki, and the konohiki Kekela, were associated with these two ahupua‘a as well as with Hā‘ena. Wainiha also shares many traditions with Hā‘ena, from the Menehune of ancient times to the Hui Kū‘ai ‘Āina management system of recent history.

The sense of belonging to an ahupua‘a and respecting one’s neighbors is captured by this passage that Carlos recorded from kupuna Elizabeth Mahuiki Chandler, known to everyone as Kapeka:

“Hā‘ena was one ahupua‘a. Yeah, and then whoever lived over there, you fish there. Wainiha was one (ahupua‘a), and then Hanalei. So we never went beyond Hā‘ena. The fish (we ate) came all from down here. Only Hā‘ena. My father never went beyond his place. But others come. Hanalei people and Wainiha people come to our place for hukilau (a method of surrounding fish with nets). We, however, just stay our area.

“You know I think if the people of yesteryear were living, oh, things would be very different. Because they know what was proper behavior when you live in an ahupua‘a. That is the only way you can go. Nobody else would come in to fish without permission. Because the resources of the area is for the families all in that area. The parents of those days, they no talk nothing. They taught by example. Cause they only work, work, work. Work is necessary to take care of their family. Work in the taro patch, work fishing, work at home. Go down to the ocean to catch fish, come back with fish. The ocean was very important for all the families, because that's where they get their food, eh?”

Hanalei Farming

Taro farming in the Hanalei River Valley.

Hanalei, the nearest town, lies approximately nine miles and five ahupua‘a to the East from Hā‘ena. Today a small commercial center serving the sparsely populated North Shore of Kaua‘i, Hanalei sits in a broad coastal valley and is famous for its beautiful mountains, waterfalls, and taro fields. Its lushness is a result of the frequent rains for which Hanalei—and the Halele‘a district generally—was known in traditional chants and songs. Here are three examples from Pukui’s collection:

"Ka ua Makako‘i o Halele‘a"
The Adze-edged rain of Halele‘a.
A rain so cold that it feels like the sharp edge of an adze on the skin. Refers to Halele‘a, Kaua‘i.
‘Olelo No‘eau # 1586

"Ka ua loku o Hanalei"
The pouring rain of Hanalei.
‘Olelo No‘eau #1584

"Lu‘ulu‘u Hanalei i ka ua nui; kaumaha i ka noe o Alaka‘i"
Heavily weighted is Hanalei in the pouring rain; laden down by the mist of Alaka‘i.
An expression used in dirges and chants of woe to express the burden of sadness, the heaviness of grief, and the tears pouring freely like rain.
‘Olelo No‘eau # 2034

Here are the names of the neighboring ahupua‘a from Hā‘ena eastward to the next moku, and their meanings according to Place Names of Hawai‘i:

Wainiha: Unfriendly Water
Lumaha‘i: Certain twist of the fingers in making string figures, perhaps named for this ahupua‘a.
Waikoko: Blood Water
Waipā: Touched Water
Wai‘oli: Joyful Water
Hanalei: Crescent Bay
Kalihikai: The Edge of the Sea
Kalihiwai: The Edge of the Water

Nearby Lumaha‘i was once known for a certain kind of shell made into hat bands:

“Ke one lei pūpū o Waimea.”
The sand of Waimea, where shells for lei are found.
Waimea, O‘ahu and Lumaha‘i, Kaua‘i, were to places where the shells that were made into hat bands wer found.  Those on O‘ahu were predominantly white and those on Kaua‘i, brown.  Not now seen.
‘Olelo No‘eau # 1778


Hanakāpī‘ai Valley. Photo from a State Parks sign at the head of the Kalalau trail.

Going the other direction, one immediately enters the moku of Nā Pali (the cliffs). There is no road, only a trail. “That isn’t really a true Hawaiian trail,” Ka‘iulani says, “it was built to catch an outlaw.” She refers to the story of Ko‘olau the Leper, who fled to Kalalau in the 1890s to evade capture and quarantine on Moloka‘i.

“The moku of Nā Pali is a small district facing northwest,” Carlos says, “and named for its rugged coastline of spectacular sea cliffs and hanging valleys. This name is shared by no other moku in the Hawaiian Islands.”

First is the valley of Hanakāpī‘ai (“bay sprinkling food”). This small valley is accessible by the Nā Pali trail and by boat, but not by road. Smallness, yet sturdiness, appears to have been a characteristic of this valley:

"Ka iki koai‘e a Hanakāpī‘ai."
The small koai‘e tree of Hanakāpī‘ai.
A boast of that locality on Kaua‘i. One may be small in stature but he is as tough and sturdy as the koai‘e tree.
‘Olelo No‘eau # 1399

"Ka ‘o‘opu peke o Hanakāpī‘ai."
The short ‘o‘opu of Hanakāpī‘ai.
The ‘o‘opu at Hanakāpī‘ai on Kaua‘i were said to be shorter and plumper than those anywhere else. Mentioned in chants.
(Pukui elsewhere notes that the phrase is "sometimes applied humorously to a short, plump person. ‘O‘opu, a freshwater fish, are discussed in the Sustenance section).
‘Olelo No‘eau #1517.

Past Hanakāpī‘ai, the trail crosses two more ahupua‘a before reaching Kalalau:

Hanakoa: Bay of Koa Trees, or Bay of Warriors
Pohakuao: Day Stone

Whatever the traditions of these areas, they have been lost.

Na Pali Coast

The Nā Pali Coast, from above Kē‘ē


Several miles of trail beyond Hanakāpī‘ai is the broad valley of Kalalau. Once a well populated and productive valley, this was the farthest one could go down the coast on foot. Consequently, a strong bond developed between the people of Kalalau and the people of Hā‘ena, at either end of the trail.

The valleys of Nā Pali are well watered with permanent streams, good agricultural soil and abundant marine life. According to a sign at the head of the Nā Pali trail, “Hawaiians continued to live in the valleys of Nā Pali until 1920, growing kalo and fishing for subsistence and trade. Others tried growing coffee in Hanakāpī‘ai and Hanakoa in the late 1800s. Their ventures were short-lived, but the coffee trees remain.

“By 1900, it was a hardship for families to live and farm along this isolated coast. Many moved to the towns of Hanalei and Waimea for jobs and schooling.  The agricultural fields were abandoned and became overgrown.  After 1920, cattle grazing in Kalalau valley was the only economic activity along this coastline.”


Kalalau Valley

The broad valley of Kalalau rests at the end of ten miles of winding trail from Hā‘ena.

“The ancient connection between the people of Hā‘ena and Nā Pali district was one of longstanding duration,” Carlos explains. “A unique, practical, reciprocal relationship evolving in historic times joined Hā‘ena people and residents of the isolated valley of Kalalau, located at the end of the eleven-mile-long trail leading deep into Nā Pali. Kalalau valley, once home to a thriving population numbering well into the hundreds, continued to support a small community of permanent residents until the early 1900s.

“The fertile valleys of Nā Pali were somewhat more isolated from the rest of the island in post-contact times. They were only accessible by a narrow trail alternately winding itself in and out of the valleys, clinging to precipitous sea cliffs. During the relatively calm months of summer, a few select places could be accessed by sea. An incredible number of stone wall terraced fields are found in these valleys, now devoid of any permanent human residents.  The ancient stone-faced terraces of Nā Pali stand in mute testimony to the industry of the people and the intense cultivation of those valleys in pre-Euro-American times.

“Hā‘ena residents would, from time to time, go into the valleys of Nā Pali on excursions, hunting feral goats and fishing the less intensely used areas there. The people of Kalalau raised their own horses and kept them in their valley, utilizing them in much the same manner as the people in Hā‘ena. Visitors from Hā‘ena would often stay several days and sometimes a week or more on these jaunts. Often, quantities of fish or goat meat would be accumulated early on and would be ready to be sent home before the hunting party was ready to leave. There were no stores in Kalalau but in Wainiha, the neighboring ahupua‘a east of Hā‘ena, was a store stocked with kerosene, flour, and canned goods—items that had either become necessities or welcomed as luxuries, providing a change from the traditional diet of fish and poi.”

Kalalau's dramatic landscape and its location on the rugged, weather-beaten Nā Pali coast perhaps gives rise to the following saying:

"Napelepele na pali o Kalalau i ka wili a ka makani."
Weakened are the cliffs of Kalalau in being buffeted by the wind.
Said of one who is worn out.
‘Olelo No‘eau #2287

But many of the Hawaiian expressions mentioning Kalalau engage in word-play with "lalau," to wander astray:

"Hala i Kaua‘i i Kalalau."
Gone to Kalalau, on Kaua‘i.
Said of one who is off-course mentally or is off gadding somewhere; a blunderer.
‘Olelo No‘eau #419

"Molale loa no kumupali o Kalalau."
Clearly seen is the base of Kalalau cliff.
It is obvious that one is way off the subject.
‘Olelo No‘eau #2190

“My mom and dad are both from Kalalau,” Michael tells us. “I think Samson Mahuiki, his dad La‘a came from down Kalalau. Some families are still around, their ancestors came from Kalalau. Kalalau was great. I used to go hunting with the old folks, my dad guys, and cowboys from the west side will come this side on a Friday. They all have mules and all. My first time, my mom said, 'Oh, you’re going hunting with your dad on Friday? Oh, great.' And then I see all these guys coming with trailers and mules. 

“His dad used to tell me when, where, and how to go for block the goat. He never took me in there but I listened to his story, what he told me to do, and I went. I found all the places where the goat would run. So, I would wait here and let the other guys chase them, come to me over here and then I’d take them out over here. So yeah, Kalalau is beautiful.”

“Once you go Kalalau,” Samson says, “there’s that nostalgia, you stay away too long. There’s something in that place that you gotta go, eh? I think Dr. Koontz is one of the guys that always went too to, liked the outdoors. Even me, I don’t know why I used to go back, but once you see that place, oh!”

Nested within the moku‘aina of Halele‘a and positioned midway between Hanalei and Kalalau, Hā‘ena's unique character as a native place unfolds.



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