Ahuena Heiau, Kamehameha the Great's personal residence, is seen in this photo taken Sunday in Kailua-Kona. Hale Mana is in the foreground. The caretakers of the Ahuena Heiau need 500,000 ti leaves to restore Hale Mana's roof.
Kamehameha home needs ti
Some 500,000 leaves are wanted to restore the roof of a building
KAILUA-KONA » The caretakers of Kamehameha the Great's personal residence in Kailua-Kona are seeking 500,000 ti leaves to restore the roof on one of the buildings, Hale Mana.
Ahuena Heiau, a National Historic Landmark, was the center of political power in the Hawaiian Kingdom during Kamehameha's day. Kamehameha consulted with his priests and highest advisers there. The king died on the grounds in 1819.
Community members can drop off ti leaves at Yano Hall in Captain Cook or at King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel. Those interested in helping prepare the leaves should meet at Ahuena Heiau on Sept. 27.
"A project like this, it can't be done with just a few people," Ahuena Heiau Inc. Vice President Casey Balao said. "It's a community effort."
The restoration of the Hale Mana roof could take four to six months, Balao said. The structure must be disassembled to remove the old roof.
Ahuena Heiau Inc. partnered with the Royal Order of Kamehameha Moku o Kona to help gather, prepare and install the materials at the heiau. But the group needs help collecting the leaves.
The last major restoration project at Ahuena Heiau was in 1999, Balao said, when about 20 bags of sugar-cane leaves were collected for use on other structures.
Ahuena Heiau is the legal caretaker of the heiau, Balao said.
Another group, Kulana Huli Honua, led by Mikahala Roy, contends it is the rightful caretaker of the historic and religious site.
Roy is the daughter of David "Mauna" Roy, who led the rebuilding of the heiau in 1975. David Roy served as its kahu, or caretaker, until his death in 2005.
Mikahala Roy said Monday that Ahuena Heiau Inc. "disrespected" the heiau and allowed "desecration" of the site.
Balao said his group is the legal caretaker, and that, for several years, Roy and Kulana Huli Honua would not allow Ahuena Heiau Inc. access to the site to perform work on the buildings.
Regardless of their disagreements, both Roy and Balao said the heiau needs to be restored.
"This heiau, it once was a site for Kamehameha," Balao said. "It's the community's responsibility to take care of it. ... The more people fight, the more it dilapidates."