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Waikiki: A History of Forgetting and Remembering

Gaye Chan
Andrea Feeser
Copyright Date: 2006
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Waikiki:A History of Forgetting and Remembering presents a compelling cultural and environmental history of the area, exploring its place not only in the popular imagination, but also through the experiences of those who lived there. Employing a wide range of primary and secondary sources—including historical texts and photographs, government documents, newspaper accounts, posters, advertisements, and personal interviews—an artist and a cultural historian join forces to reveal how rich agricultural sites and sacred places were transformed into one of the world’s most famous vacation destinations. The story of Waikiki’s conversion from a vital self-sufficient community to a tourist dystopia is one of colonial oppression and unchecked capitalist development, both of which have fundamentally transformed all of Hawai‘i. Colonialism and capitalism have not only changed the look and function of the landscape, but also how Native Hawaiians, immigrants, settlers, and visitors interact with one another and with the islands’ natural resources. The book’s creators counter this narrative of displacement and destruction with stories—less known or forgotten—of resistance and protest.

    eISBN: 978-0-8248-6552-8
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xi)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-9)

    The pages that you turn in this book—the images and words on them—tell stories of Waikīkī, a site on the island of O‘ahu with a Hawaiian name that means “place of spouting waters.” Presented through the art and writing of two individuals, these stories communicate the deeds, designs, and dreams of countless people who have known Waikīkī. Physical traces of these people’s connections to Waikīkī, such as photographs, maps, and quotations, are incorporated into what follows. What you will view, read, and ponder is therefore an adventure through place and time that in many ways is like Waikīkī...

  6. LĒ‘ahi Diamond Head
    (pp. 11-23)

    Lē‘ahi, better known as Diamond Head, is a dormant volcano at the edge of Waikīkī and perhaps the most recognized landmark in Hawai‘i. For centuries, governments and individuals have exploited Lē‘ahi’s natural beauty and its geographical relationship to the rest of the Hawaiian Islands. Lē‘ahi has been and continues to be used by businesspeople as a visual emblem to market land: Hawai‘i as a tourist destination and the Diamond Head neighborhood as a luxury home site. The physical landmass itself also has been used as a symbolic and material tool of power and control.Ali‘iestablished aheiauon the...

  7. Ala Wai Ala Wai Canal
    (pp. 25-37)

    In this chapter, we review the history of the Ala Wai, which was created by Walter F. Dillingham’s Hawaiian Dredging Company in 1921–1928 and was aptly first known as the Waikīkī Drainage Canal.¹ Whereas Lē‘ahi is the most recognized landmark associated with Waikīkī, the Ala Wai is the mark on the land—indeed the scar on the‘āina—responsible for creating the Waikīkī we know today. The canal ostensibly was created to clean up Waikīkī’s so-called swamps, which harbored mosquitoes feared as carriers of disease. However, the engineering project was really undertaken as a reclamation endeavor, to create land...

  8. Kālia ‘Ewa End of Waikīkī through Fort DeRussy
    (pp. 39-51)

    Kālia, a place where Native Hawaiians initially prospered as cultivators, is now a site for prosperous military personnel to vacation. Kālia was the portion of Waikīkī that was originally the wettest. The Pi‘inaio Stream once coursed through Kālia, where it fed numerous fishponds built bykānaka maoliand spread into a broad delta that stretched its many fingers and rivulets into the sea. Kālia was perhaps the richest source of fish, shellfish, and seaweed in all of Waikīkī, nourishing area residents along with their families and friends well into the first three decades of the twentieth century. However, beginning with...

  9. Kawehewehe Vicinity of Halekūlani Hotel
    (pp. 53-61)

    In this chapter, we examine the history of a small section of Waikīkī adjacent to Kālia, an area profoundly linked to both life and death. Native Hawaiians who lived, worked, and fought in this land and its waters knew it as Kawehewehe. Its boundaries roughly correspond to the land beneath Kalākaua Avenue between Saratoga Road and Lewers Street, and include the ocean just beyond Gray’s Beach, in front of the Halekūlani Hotel. Until developers filled their courses, additional waters once flowed through the area. These were a spring, pond, and stream that during heavy rains drained into the ocean. Native...

  10. Helumoa Vicinity of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel
    (pp. 63-73)

    Helumoa is a section of Waikīkī associated with royalty—Hawai‘i’s rulingali‘iwho lived in the area, and foreign “kings” and “queens” of industry who vacationed at the famous Royal Hawaiian Hotel, built in 1927. Well before modern times, Helumoa was a residence and playground for the most privilegedkānaka maoli.This legacy was exploited by the shipping company that built the Royal Hawaiian, the Pink Palace, to seduce wealthy tourists into buying costly sea passage and hotel accommodations. Later, developers in Waikīkī further cultivated the fantasy of purchasing a “royal” experience through the construction, in 1960 and 2001, of...

  11. Uluniu Vicinity of the Sheraton Moana Surfrider Hotel
    (pp. 75-87)

    Uluniu is a section of Waikīkī once favored byali‘i, kāhuna,andkānaka maoliof all castes who loved the area’s surf and its branch of ‘Āpuakēhau Stream. In this chapter, we examine the ways in which these Native Hawaiians’ practices in Uluniu and throughout Waikīkī have been valued or devalued. In so doing, we will see that value has much to do with what is visible and invisible, and that sometimes we view what is not meant for our eyes and overlook what we should perhaps most examine. Specifically, we will consider a celebration of life in Waikīkī surf...

  12. Kaluaokau Vicinity of the International Market Place
    (pp. 89-99)

    In this chapter, we explore the transformations that occurred on a relatively small parcel of Waikīkī once called Kaluaokau. Today it is known as the International Market Place, a hodgepodge of shops, restaurants, and vending carts off Kalākaua Avenue, sandwiched between the Waikīkī Beachcomber and Sheraton Princess Ka‘iulani Hotels. As its current name suggests, the market place is conceived as an exotic shopping experience, where consumers can purchase refreshments and souvenirs with an international flair. Many of the goods and services offered at the site are billed as Hawaiian or Pacific, although virtually any “ethnic” item is for sale there....

  13. Hamohamo Vicinity between Ala Wai Boulevard and Waikīkī Beach Center
    (pp. 101-113)

    In this chapter, we explore the myths that surround Hawai‘i and the feminine in relation to a Waikīkī place where two of the islands’ most famous women of modern times lived. The region, Hamohamo, runs from the Ala Wai Canal to the sea between today’s Ka‘iulani and ‘Ōhua Avenues. Both streets bear witness to the two important women that once made Hamohamo home: Princess Ka‘iulani, heir to the Hawaiian throne, and Queen Lili‘uokalani, whose retainers(‘ōhua)are memorialized by ‘Ōhua Avenue. The streets also overlie evidence of powerful natural forces that formerly shaped Hamohamo: two of the freshwater streams that...

  14. Kāneloa and Kapua Kapi‘olani Park
    (pp. 115-125)

    Today’s Kapi‘olani Park, named in honor of King Kalākaua’s queen, is made up of Kāneloa and Kapua, two former land divisions that were once part of the Waikīkīahupua‘a.Although the names “Kāneloa” and “Kapua” survive in the present—for a seasonal wetland and a sea channel, respectively—most visitors think of the park in terms of modern-day, built environments, such as the Waikīkī Aquarium, Honolulu Zoo, and Natatorium memorial and pool. Although a great deal of the park consists of grassy playing fields and picnic areas fringed on one side by narrow strips of beach, it is a recreation...

  15. Conclusion
    (pp. 127-138)

    In our journey through Waikīkī’s history, we have seen how colonialism and capitalism have ravaged land and water and dispossessed those who harnessed both for their livelihoods. The three streams that formerly fed Waikīkī’s wetlands have been largely eradicated, and much of the area’s bays and reefs, which used to teem with sea life, have been stilled. Where fishponds, taro fields,heiau,burial grounds,ali‘icompounds, andmaka‘āinanahome sites once existed, there is a concrete jungle built to entice travelers from distant shores.

    Numerous battles—propelled by greed as well as opposition to it—were waged during Waikīkī’s transformation...

  16. Waikiki Timeline
    (pp. 139-146)
  17. Notes
    (pp. 147-163)
  18. MAPS
    (pp. 164-166)
  19. Glossary
    (pp. 167-170)
  20. Historical Figures
    (pp. 171-174)
  21. List of Images
    (pp. 175-182)
  22. Index
    (pp. 183-188)