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Hoku‘ula: The ‘Red Star’ of Red Water Country

June 13, 2011

Hōkū‘ula = red star

Hokuula

Hoku‘ula - the site of a battle between the Kingdoms of Maui and Hawaii, circa 1650 A.D

After finally capturing a photo of Hoku‘ula on a sunny afternoon, I wanted to learn more about this iconic Waimea landmark’s place in local history. A Google search led me to the Waimea Community Association’s Waimea place names list and I realized that what I really needed was to find a map that would give me some perspective on exactly where all the hills mentioned in the list are located. But where to find such a map?

Anna Ranch Discovery Trail Interpretive Signs

Over the last two years, I’ve had a few opportunities to talk with Kay Kammerzell, Executive Director of Anna Ranch Heritage Center (who I met when working on this ‘Ranching in Hawaii’ post), about her plans for the Anna Ranch Discovery Trail. When I started looking for information about Waimea’s pu‘u yesterday, I was excited to discover a photo gallery of interpretive signs created for the Discovery Trail, hopefully a good indication that plans for the trail are moving forward! The gallery includes the image below, exactly what I was looking for to help me get a better understanding of where the pu‘u are located in proximity to each other and to learn more about their place in the legends and history of South Kohala:

The Puu Hills of Waimea

Click this image to view a large version of 'The Pu‘u (Hills) of Waimea'

Red Rain = Red Water?

One of the signs, #6, mentions a “fine red rain” falling on Hoku‘ula. My next quest will be to find out more about this “red rain” and how it might tie into Waimea’s “red water.” If anyone knows where I can find good information about that, please let me know and I will add links here.

Hoku‘ula in Hawaiian History

Read about ‘The Hill of Hoku‘ula’ and the war between the Kingdom of Hawaii and the Kingdom of Maui (PDF – see pg 14)

Hoku‘ula (Buster Brown Hill) During World War II

It was not all beer and skittles for Marines in Waimea. Forced marches and incessant drills were the order of the day. They hewed and slashed their way through thick underbrush and tramped over raw lava in North Kohala. They toted full ‘packs and rifles up steep Buster Brown Hill, that flanks Waimea, on the double. Dietz said he hated that “damned pu‘u” for officers watched below and woe betide the Marine who dropped any of his gear. It simply meant an immediate return trip on the run.

Source: the Camp Tarawa Memorial website

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Waimea’s ‘Flower of Love’ – The Agapanthus

April 7, 2011
Agapanthus

The Agapanthus is commonly known as the “Blue Lily,” the “African Lily” or “Lily of the Nile”

Agapanthus – The Flower of Love?

The beautiful blue flower pictured above is growing by the sidewalk on the grounds of Kamuela’s North Hawaii Community Hospital. A few days ago, I asked someone who knows about these things what kind of flower it is and was informed that it is an Agapanthus, a perennial that seems to thrive in the climate of upcountry Waimea.

According to one website, because the flower’s name comes from two Greek words:  ἀγάπη (agape – which means “love”) and ἄνθος (anthos – which means “flower”), the Agapanthus is sometimes called “the flower of love.” Other common names for the Agapanthus are Lily of the Nile, African Lily and Blue Lily (even though it is not really a lily, it is not native to the area around the Nile, and it can range in color from white to blue to indigo).

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Waimea’s Church Row Cherry Trees: A Closer Look

March 27, 2011
Waimea's Church Row Cherry Trees

Waimea's Church Row Park Cherry Trees

In early February, Church Row, one of the Big Island’s treasured historic sites, was host to the annual Waimea Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival, which celebrates the centuries-old Japanese tradition of hanami, or cherry blossom viewing.

Unfortunately, I missed the festival last month, but, since moving into Waimea town, I have been walking by Church Row several times each week on my way toward Parker Ranch Center where I start my Ala Ohia run.

Seeing the cherry trees in bloom at such close proximity over these last few weeks has made me more curious about them. Who planted them? Why? What happens after the blossoms fall? How many different kinds of cherry trees are there?

Hanami: Recognizing Transience

A fascinating NPR article posted earlier this week (about hanami in Japan after the tsunami) prompted me to think more about why the blossoming of the cherry trees seems to strike such an emotional chord with those who view them. The article says this about the significance of the cherry blossom in Japanese culture:

“The blossoms are heavy, and they fall to the ground soon after they bloom,” says James Ulak, senior curator of Japanese art at the Freer Gallery and the Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C. “Japanese poets from early on took this as analogous to the ephemerality of life, … and this blended with a strong Buddhist notion of transience: things are passing, nothing is permanent.”

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Walk With Me: Kona Bay Estates

March 24, 2011

Located just a short distance from the energy and activity of  Kailua-Kona’s Ali’i Drive, Kona Bay Estates is one of West Hawaii’s private oceanfront residential subdivisions, Kona Bay Estates.

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Reflecting on the Big Island Tsunami

March 11, 2011

Updated March 12, 10:30am – photo and links added.

Read more about the aftermath of the Kona tsunami in this Honolulu Star-Advertiser article: Homes, emotions devastated: Small Kealakekua Bay community is the worst hit of all the Big Isle’s damaged areas

Manini Beach home

House floating in Kealakekua Bay earlier today

Like many Hawaii residents, I didn’t get much sleep last night.

Even though I couldn’t hear the Civil Defense sirens that sounded hourly beginning at 10 pm, I was awake most of the night keeping a close watch on updates about the tsunami waves that were generated as a result of the devastating earthquake in Japan.

Countless news articles, videos and blog posts about the earthquake and the tsunami have been shared today. I’ve read many of them and I wrote one for the Clark Realty blog. I also watched a lot of video last night via Hawaii News Now, CNN, Al Jazeera English and (don’t laugh) the Waikiki Beach Surf ustream channel.

Even after sorting through all that information and all the visuals (I especially like the NOAA wave model we used in the Clark post), when I came to the end of my day today and saw the BBC video that Gary Davis of our Waimea office posted, I knew I had to slow down and take time to feel this event in a way that I hadn’t been able to when we were all still anticipating “what might be” for Hawaii.

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Walk With Me: Ala Ohia Road in Waimea

March 7, 2011

Walking Ala Ohia: Photo 1, taken at the intersection of Ala Ohia and Mamalahoa Highway, was the midpoint of my walk. Photo 2 looks back at where I started, from the intersection of Pukalani Street and Ala Ohia behind Parker Ranch Center. The slideshow unfolds from there.

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Mystery Over Mauna Kea

March 4, 2011

Update 3/8 – Mystery Solved?

KITV4 news posted Susan and Emma’s photos in their Weather Q&A section today along with a statement from Derek Wroe, the lead forecaster at the National Weather Service in Honolulu.

Read Derek’s explanation of the “hole punch” in the cloud ring around Mauna Kea here.

Larger versions of Emma and Susan’s photos can be found here.

Original post – 3/4/2011

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