Sunday, June 17, 2001

John Delima stood next to a rock wall surrounding the site of an
ancient heiau in Hawaii Kai yesterday.

Ancient village
leaves little evidence
in Hawaii Kai

The old heiau has almost
disappeared, and restoration
may be impossible

By Nelson Daranciang

Nothing remains of the ancient Hawaiian village in Hawaii Kai. Only rocks covered with old construction material mark the nearby heiau.

In 1993, John Delima said, a friend took him to the site where they made a traditional Hawaiian offering. They also surveyed the surrounding area.

"It pains me to see that nothing is or was ever done to protect this heiau or the remains of the village," he said. "I just wanted to spread awareness of it and maybe somebody would step up and put a fence around it and people would leave it alone."

Archaeologist Gilbert McAllister plotted the location of Hawea Heiau in 1930 for the Bishop Museum, which published his findings in "Archaeology of Oahu."

"It was already damaged in 1930. Rocks were taken to reconstruct the Keahupua O Maunalua Fish Pond (now known as Kuapa Pond). And it was finished off during the construction of Kaluanui Road in the '50s and '60s for Mariners Ridge," said Sarah Collins, state archaeologist.

The heiau was mauka of the Hawaii Kai Post Office on the side of the hill, Collins said.

Delima said he found a map showing that the village stretched from the heiau down toward where the Oahu Club now sits. But when he surveyed the site, he found no signs of the village.

Collins said no burials were found in the area.

Delima said he contacted Bishop Museum archaeologists who told him there was just not enough material there or knowledge of what had existed for a restoration of the heiau.

Collins said surveys done in 1985 and 1994 placed the heiau mauka of Kaluanui Road.

She said the 1994 survey located an archaeological site makai of the post office, which the developer who commissioned the survey agreed to preserve.

"There are petroglyphs on a plateau measuring 80 feet by 100 feet at about 20-foot elevation," said Mike Kline, founder of Hawaii Intergenerational Community Development Corp.

The company is developing 31 elderly housing apartments more than 300 feet in front of the plateau, Kline said. Its contractor, Foundation International, accidentally drilled through some underground telephone lines earlier this month, cutting off service to about 3,500 Verizon Hawaii customers.

Verizon is hoping to recover the cost of the repairs estimated at $150,000 from Hawaii Intergenerational Community Development.


Kline said Hawaii Intergenerational Community Development took over the property last year and was briefed on its proximity to the petroglyphs which he said is about halfway between Oahu Club and the intersection of Hawaii Kai Drive and Keahole Street.

"We were more than well-briefed and we did our own site review," he said.

"Hawea Heiau is not being damaged now. If any portion of it is still in existence it is mauka of the Kaluanui Road," Collins said. "Nowadays investigation of sites is triggered by development or land alteration because there just isn't money to do studies unless the landowner is willing and somebody picks up the cost. But in the absence of any development or permit application, there's no way to force the land owner to do a survey," she said.

"I fear that no one is aware that this heiau is even there, since it is buried under old construction waste and heavy kiawe growth. But it's there," Delima said.

E-mail to City Desk

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2001 Honolulu Star-Bulletin