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POSTED: Sunday, February 01, 2009

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”;Hanalei: A Kauai River Town”;

By Daniel Harrington / Mutual Publishing / $18.95

Hanalei Bay. Star of the film “;South Pacific.”;

That's how much of the world came to know Hanalei, the sleepy plantation town on Kauai. Not many know its rich history.

Ancient Hawaiians divided the coastal plain of Hanalei in four separate ahupuaa, which border the bay. Mount Waialeale towers above these ahupuaa at a height of 5,148 feet.

Missionaries later settled in the area, and with increased Western contact, Hanalei began a transition to the modern era. In the 1800s a silkworm plantation there exported silk to South America. It also was one of the top rice-producing regions in Hawaii.

Modern aspects covered include restoration of historical buildings in the area, and even the 2004 visit from a pod of melon-headed whales.

The author, who resides in the area, paints a multilayered portrait of a town with a deep and fascinating history.