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

June 13, 2011

Hōkū‘ula = red star


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

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Karen Clarkson permalink
    June 14, 2011 12:35 pm

    This is great! I am excited to learn more about where I am living now.

  2. Ron Rigg permalink
    June 14, 2011 2:10 pm

    Great focus…Always wanted to know more about “Buster Brown” and what is up there other than cattle with the best view…

  3. June 14, 2011 5:10 pm

    In the afternoons, the setting sun often colors the misty Waimea clouds a deep shade of orange, pink and red. I can imagine with a setting sun and deep red colors of the sky it can color the falling rain to red. I used to host astronomy lectures at Keck at 7pm and around 6:30 I would see red clouds over Hōkū‘ula.

  4. January 18, 2012 2:25 pm

    Uakoko: Literally bloody rain, a term applied to a rainbow when lying near the ground, or to a freshet-stream swollen with the red muddy water from the wash of the hillsides. These were important omens, claimed as marking the birth of tabu chiefs. (Unwritten Literature of Hawaii, The Sacred Songs of the Hula, Nathaniel B. Emerson, A.M., M.D., Smithsonian Institution, Bulletin of the Bureau of American Ethnology, no. 38, Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office, 1909)

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