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Waimea Valley, a Living Ahupua'a

A park dedicated to the Hawaiian way of life exists on the North Shore of the island of Oahu.

Photo by neanderthalis

Early on in Hawaii’s history, the Ali’i or the ruling classes decided that although the islands are relatively small, they could provide for many if well managed.

The kings of each island would divide the islands like a pie chart of sorts. Each of his chiefs (the Ali’i) would see over a slice of the island from the central mountains to the sea. These were called Ahupua’a — the common translations are “pig alter” or “path of the pig”. By giving a chief a sliver of the island from the mountain to the sea, they had all the resources they needed. They had the wood, building materials and fresh water along the mountain, fertile plains for crops like Taro (Kalo) and the ocean for fish and other seafood.

Some Ahupua’a span many miles, and the land may include dry areas. This occurs on the dry Leeward coasts, but the lush windward sides fueled by daily rains may have all they need in a narrow valley.

One such preserved Ahupua’a exists in an area known today as Waimea Valley. In the 1970’s, a concentration of historical sites were discovered in this single narrow valley, and further studies in 2003 found even more archaeological sites.

Legend holds that 700 years ago, the King of Oahu, Kamapuaa, granted the land to the Priest Lono-a-wohi and his decedents into the arrival of Captain Cook.

In the 1960’s till 1996, amusement and theme parks existed in the valley from campy cowboy-themed shows to a full amusement theme park planned until the property went into bankruptcy. In 2002, the State of Hawaii acquired the property and leased it to the Audubon Society which has made the area an ecological and cultural park.

This past December, I went for the first time. The park is famous for its waterfall. From the entrance of the park, a paved path that takes you through park along the stream that feeds botanical gardens and native species. There are also recreated cultural sites like one of the Priest’s Residence.

Exibitions are often held letting visitors experience Hula, traditional games, Lei making, and education on the Hawaiian way of life. If you are adventurous, at the top of the valley, you may swim in the waterfall’s pool.

Here are some of the things you may see on your visit to the park.

The path will also take you to the games field.

You can also see the Priest’s home.

And if you are adventurous, you can try the waterfall.

Photo by neanderthalis

All facts were taken from the Valley’s webpage. If you would like more information on visiting the park, please click here.

written by neanderthalis

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