Friday, May 13, 2005

State to purchase
historical site

The acquisition goes toward
the restoration of an area
associated with powerful women

KAILUA-KONA » Restoration of an ancient historical and cultural center of Hawaiian royalty on the Kona coast received a boost yesterday when Gov. Linda Lingle released funds for the purchase of a key piece of land.

Lingle approved the expenditure of $600,000 of state funds, to be matched by an equal amount of federal funding, for the purchase of 1.25 acres on Alii Drive, three miles south of Kailua-Kona.

The parcel will improve the linkage of two existing state sites, the 12-acre Keolonahihi State Park on the shoreline makai of Alii Drive and the 16-acre Keakealaniwahine complex on the mauka side of the road.

Together, the sites make up the Holualoa Royal Center, one of seven royal centers on the Kona coast in ancient times, said Martha Yent, head of the state parks interpretive program.

Another of those centers is Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, formerly known as the City of Refuge.

The Holualoa center is unique among the seven sites because it is associated with powerful women.

Keolonahihi, who ruled around 1300 A.D., was the niece of the High Priest Paao, who brought a system of kapus, or religious laws, to Hawaii that lasted 500 years.

Keakealaniwahine, active around 1650 A.D., was the great-great-grandmother of Kamehameha I. She and her mother, Keakamahana, are regarded as the only two women to have ruled the entire Big Island in pre-European times.

The state bought the Keolonahihi area in 1980 and received the Keakealaniwahine site as a donation from First Hawaiian Bank in 1998. Both sites are overgrown with vegetation because the state lacks money to develop them, Yent said.

The 1.25 acres to be acquired now are owned by Wayne Blasman, who had planned to develop 13 townhouse condominiums there.

Peter Young, head of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, praised Blasman for his willingness to forgo development.

Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim was credited with working to protect the property when the matter was brought to his attention three years ago by the Hawaiian community.

The Keolonahihi complex contains 16 archaeological sites, including five heiaus. The Keakealaniwahine complex has 29 features, including a wall 10 feet high and 4 feet thick.

E-mail to City Desk


© Honolulu Star-Bulletin -- http://archives.starbulletin.com