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Hā`ena: Through the Eyes of Ancestors

Carlos Andrade
Copyright Date: 2008
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Ha‘ena is a land steeped in antiquity yet vibrantly beautiful today as any Hollywood fantasy of a tropical paradise. He ‘aina momona, a rich and fertile land linked to the sea and the rising and setting sun, is a place of gods and goddesses: Pele and her sister, Hi‘iaka, and Laka, patron of hula. It epitomizes the best that can be found in the district of northwestern Kaua‘i, known to aboriginal Hawaiians as Hale Le‘a (House of Pleasure and Delight). This work is an ambitious attempt to provide a unique perspective in the complex story of the ahupua‘a of Ha‘ena. Carlos Andrade begins by examining the stories that identify the origins and places of the earliest inhabitants of Ha‘ena. The narrative outlines the unique relationships developed by Hawaiians with the environment and describes the system used to look after the land and the sea. Andrade goes on to research the changes wrought by concepts and perceptions introduced by European, American, and Asian immigrants. He delves into the impact of land privatization as Hawai‘i struggled to preserve its independence. The Mahele and the Kuleana Act, legislation that laid the foundation for all landholding in Hawai‘i, had a profound influence on Ha‘ena. Part of this story includes a description of the thirty-nine Hawaiians who pooled their resources, bought the entire ahupua‘a of Ha‘ena, and held it in common from the late 1800s to 1967—a little-known chapter in the fight to perpetuate traditional lifeways. Lastly, Andrade collects the stories of kupuna who share their experiences of life in Ha‘ena and surrounding areas, capturing a way of life that is quickly disappearing beneath the rising tide of non-Native people who now inhabit the land. Ha‘ena: Through the Eyes of the Ancestors is a distinctive work, which blends folklore, geography, history, and ethnography. It casts a wide net over information from earliest times to the present, primarily related from a Native perspective. It should be of great interest to historians, ethnologists, sociologists, and students of Hawaiian language, literature, and culture.

    eISBN: 978-0-8248-6272-5
    Subjects: Sociology, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-X)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. XI-XI)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. XIII-XIII)
    Pualani Kanahele

    Hā‘ena, the intense breath of the sun, reverberates through the archipelago, beginning first at the easternmost tip at Hā‘ena, Puna, and on to the northwest coast of Hā‘ena, Kohala, on the island of Hawai‘i. Again, its breath is felt on the northern tip of Kaua‘i at Hā‘ena, Halele‘a. The intense breath of the sun continues to the island of Mokumanamana, where it crosses Ke Ala Polohiwa a Kāne, the dark pathway of Kāne, moving out of our universe and into the spiritual realm of Kāne.Hā‘ena, defined as intense(breath), is the sun’s exhalation as it first appears in...

  4. Preface
    (pp. XV-XVIII)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. XIX-XXI)
    (pp. 1-23)

    HĀ‘ENA is a place well deserving of the title‘āina momona—a fertile, rich, fruitful, sweet land of abundant springs and waters flowing from the mountains to the nearby sea. Numerous reefs, inhabited byhe‘e(octopus),ula(lobster), and schools ofnenue(Kyphosus bigibbus),kala(unicorn fish), andmanini(convict tang) fringe white sand beaches.Āholehole(Kuhlia sandvicensis),‘āweoweo(species ofPriacanthus),moi(threadfin), andpuhi(eel) dwell in the shadowy caves beneath the sunlit reef flats. Sturdy trees, bamboo, and native shrubs root themselves in the coastal plain, spread into verdant valleys, and climb thepali(cliffs) into the...

    (pp. 25-67)

    THE FAMILIAL RELATIONSHIPS established by the Papa and Wākea story place human beings as the younger siblings of thekalo(taro plant) and the‘āina(islands) in the family of life. These relationships carry with them responsibilities and examples for proper behavior. The‘āinais the eldest sibling, and therefore responsible for protecting and feeding the younger ones. As younger siblings, Hawaiian people inherit akuleana(responsibility) tomālama(keep, obey, pay heed to, care for)‘āinaandkalo. These primary values set a course for the system of living patterns developed by the ancestors. A brief description of the...

    (pp. 69-85)

    OVER THE APPROXIMATELY two thousand years people have inhabited these islands the land has changed. Due in large part to the isolated location of the islands in middle of the great ocean, these changes came slowly. Each time change came—brought by wind or tide or by early voyagers from the southern islands—a certain measure of equilibrium was eventually restored. In the last two hundred or so years, however, a flood of profound biological, economic, political, and social changes has been visited upon the islands, beginning with the arrival of Captain Cook in 1778. Often in staggering numbers and...

    (pp. 87-101)

    IN THE MAHELE, Hā‘ena was awarded to Abner Pākī, a powerfulali‘iclosely allied with the Kamehameha family. Kamehameha III and approximately 250ali‘iquitclaimed and separated out their interests in the lands of Hwai‘i in the Mahele of 1848. Themō‘īkept approximately one million acres as his personal lands. The combined total of the 250 or soali‘iwas approximately 1,600,000 acres and the newly formed government of the nation of Hawai‘i acquired approximately one-and-a-half million acres by the time the Mahele was complete. Significantly, almost all of the lands were granted and confirmed in deeds inscribed with...

    (pp. 103-121)

    HUI KŪ‘AI ‘ĀINA O HĀ‘ENA (Hā‘ena Cooperative/Company to Purchase Land) was only one of manyhui(organizations, gatherings together of people) formed by the people to buy land in the aftermath of the Mahele and Kuleana Act. Thesehuicame into existence in large part becausemaka‘āinanarecognized that lands provided for them by the Mahele and Kuleana Act were inadequate for continued survival. The manner in which they organized themselves, as indicated by the bylaws they drafted to guide the activities of their organizations, also suggests they wanted to retain some features of the traditional life ways of the...

    (pp. 123-144)

    CHANGES OVER THE LAST two hundred years have been many and complex. Hā‘ena, once a land supporting a robust population of agriculturalists, fisher folk, experts in chant and dance, and artisans producing from the abundance around them everything necessary for survival and prosperity, now is almost unrecognizable as such. First slowly, and then precipitously, Native ways of being in the world have been submerged by European, American, and Asian sensibilities, ethics, and aesthetics. After a catastrophic population collapse following first contact with Europeans, Americans, and those from other continents, the Native population slowly declined, becoming almost invisible. Although a great...

  12. Epilogue
    (pp. 145-146)

    In the singing ofmele(the songs of these islands), the last verse often exhorts those listening to join in and sing the refrain again along with the singers. As mentioned earlier, Hā‘ena is only one of many lands in Nā Kai ‘Ewalu (the realm of the eight seas), as Hawai‘i was known to the people of old. Each has stories embedded in land, sea, sky, and the lives of the people. Songs of these places are chanted in winds, murmur in water, and resonate out of earth and stone. The character of people is nourished by‘āinaand celebrated...

  13. References
    (pp. 147-152)
  14. Index
    (pp. 153-158)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 159-161)