A Cultural History of Three Traditional Hawaiian Sites
on the West Coast of Hawai'i Island
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This document is a historic resource study for three Hawaiian units of the National Park System. These areas Pu'ukohola Heiau National Historic Site and Kaloko-Honokohau and Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Parks — are located on the west coast of the island of Hawai'i. All possess prehistoric sites as well as resources related to the historical period, after European and American vessels had begun to visit the islands.

map of Hawai'i

The primary purpose of this study was to ascertain the appearance of Pu'ukohola Heiau and any structures that rested on its platform during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Additionally important was any evidence concerning the location and appearance of buildings on the John Young homestead, which is a component of Pu'ukohola Heiau National Historic Site. It was hoped that data could be found on the historical landscape of these sites as first observed by European and American visitors. Because the source material for the early history of all three parks and the repositories to be visited were likely to be the same, it seemed more efficient to perform concurrent research and combine historic resource studies for the three parks into one document.

Specific emphasis was put on examining journals, logbooks, photographs, drawings, maps, and other material in the Eastern United States that had not been previously researched. Repositories in foreign countries, such as England and Russia, were not personally visited by the researchers due to time and budget constraints. Specialists at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., familiar with foreign holdings were consulted as to the existence of pertinent records. They had noted no early descriptions or drawings of these areas during research on other Hawaiian subjects. A variety of published German, French, and Spanish sources, however, were translated and studied during our research.

This study has collected and evaluated data and presents research findings on the physical development of these areas and on the use of sites and structures as well as of lands within the park boundaries and in immediately adjacent areas. The study also provides an overview of the prehistory and history of the Hawaiian Islands. It should be noted that not all anthropologists and historians agree on details of the origin and development of the Hawaiian culture prior to Western contact, nor do they interpret changes in political systems and societal patterns the same way. This will be especially evident in discussions such as those related to abolition of the kapu system. The study team determined that this introductory information was necessary to provide a context within which the parks' resources could be understood and evaluated. These sections provide data that not only increases our understanding of Hawaiian culture but enhances our ability to more accurately interpret the history of these park areas to visitors.

The study also provides narrative histories of each park area supplemented by historical maps, photos, and drawings. Archeological base maps showing the location of park resources are on file in the Pacific Area Office of the National Park Service in Honolulu. They are not included in this report due to the sensitivity of park resources. Numerous maps are presented, however, showing the location of major structures and sites. This report also contains recommendations for planning, resource management, and interpretation.

This study has been prepared in accordance with National Park Service Cultural Resources Management Guideline NPS-28 and NPS Management Policies. It has involved a thorough search of primary and secondary sources detailing various aspects of the historical period of these three areas. Source material consisted of logbooks of European and American vessels visiting the islands in connection with exploratory, trading, whaling, missionary, or diplomatic ventures; diaries, personal journals, and travel accounts of visitors; personal letters as well as official correspondence; records of scientific and exploratory expeditions; missionary records; official military reports; records and reports of the kingdom, territory, and state of Hawai'i; U.S. government documents; and land records. The researchers also examined newspapers, guidebooks, manuscripts, articles, oral histories, interviews, archeological reports, ethnographic collections, field notes, nautical charts, drawings, notes, sketches, maps, plans, watercolors, paintings, stereopticon slides, photographs, and other miscellaneous source materials.

An immense quantity of data was collected in the course of this study. Researchers handcopied, photocopied, and photographed site-specific data as well as historical background information pertaining to the west coast of Hawai'i Island. Focus lay on European and American travelers' accounts and records of voyages of discovery in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and on manuscripts and papers of mariners, missionaries, and adventurers who either visited the Island of Hawai'i or were early residents.

An effort has not been made in this study to provide a detailed analysis of the various models of Hawaiian cultural development or of the varied interpretations of Hawaiian cultural history. Nor did time permit a detailed analysis or critical evaluation of all the ninteenth- and twentieth-century European sources used. It is clear that ethnocentric social, political, and economic biases exist in many of these records, which must be viewed in the context of the writers' traditions, experiences, and background. Valid or not, many of them seemed worthy of inclusion.

The intent of this study was to examine Western sources for possible observances of structures or land use in these park areas. It was not intended to extensively collect and evaluate Native Hawaiian oral traditions or ethnographic or ethnohistorical data. A few such studies were used, however, as well as translations of native manuscripts when relevant. It is recognized that an ethnographic overview and assessment and a traditional use study of these three parks would be a valuable addition to their data bases. Utilizing native Hawaiian oral traditions as well as published ethnographic and ethnohistorical studies, an applied anthropologist might be able to provide important additional information on sites and structures in these three parks. Research of this type could also provide data on the continuing significance of these sites to contemporary peoples.

A vast number of previously unresearched manuscripts, periodicals, and published sources were inventoried at the following repositories:

Berkeley — Bancroft Library, University of California
San Francisco — California Historical Society
Maritime Museum
Stockton — University of the Pacific
Denver — Museum of Natural History
Denver Public Library
Boulder — University of Colorado Library
Mystic — White Library, Mystic Seaport, Inc.
New Haven — Yale University Libraries and
Peabody Museum of Natural History
Island of Hawai'i — Kona Historical Society
Hawaii Volcanoes NP, USGS
Lyman House Memorial Museum
University of Hawaii, Hilo, Hawaiian Studies Division
Kaloko-Honokohau NHP
Pu'ukohola Heiau NHS
Pu'uhonua o Honaunau NHP
Island of O'ahu — Pacific Area Office, NPS
Hawaii State Library
Hawaii State Archives
Hawaiian Mission Children's Society
Mission Houses Museum
Hawaiian Historical Society
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Bernice P. Bishop Museum
Island of Mau'i — Kahului Historic House Museums
Lahaina Restoration Foundation
Maui Historical Society
Lahaina Whaling Museum
Island of Kaua'i — Waioli Mission House Museum
Kauai Museum Association, Ltd.
Kauai Historical Society
Boston — Bostonian Society
Boston Athenaeum
Massachusetts Historical Society
Cambridge — Harvard University Libraries
Peabody Museum of Archeology and Anthropology
Nantucket — Nantucket Historical Society
New Bedford — Public Library
Whaling Museum
Salem — Peabody Museum
Essex Institute
Salem Maritime NHS
Sharon — Kendall Whaling Museum
Worcester — American Antiquarian Society
Philadelphia — University Museum, University of Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
Providence — Public Library
John Carter Brown Library, Brown University
Washington, D.C.

Library of Congress
National Archives
Smithsonian Institution, National Anthropological Archives

Telephone contact was made with numerous other museums and libraries that did not have pertinent material and were therefore not visited.

The research study for this team consisted of Linda W. Greene, Historian; Diane Lee Rhodes, Archeologist; and Dr. Lawrence F. Van Horn, Anthropologist, Denver Service Center, National Park Service, Denver, Colorado. Ms. Rhodes wrote the historical overview section of this report. Rhodes and Van Horn are to be especially commended and thanked for their many long research trips, their meticulous note-taking, and their invaluable expertise and suggestions during the course of this study.

Numerous other people facilitated our work. They include the staffs of all the institutions mentioned above who contributed their time and knowledge. In addition the author expresses great appreciation to Dorothy Barrère, Marion Kelly, and Russell Apple, all of whom gave freely of their extensive knowledge of Hawaiian prehistory and history. Janette Wesley and her staff in the Rocky Mountain Regional Library, National Park Service, Denver, facilitated the pace of the research by acquiring a vast number of books and articles on inter-library loan. Janet Stickland and Mary Ryan of the Graphics Division, Denver Service Center, spent long hours typing rough drafts and the final document and preparing maps and photographs for publication. Their hard work and professional expertise is highly valued.

Thanks also to Maurice Miller and Michael Spratt of the Branch of Planning, Western Team, Denver Service Center, for their support of the project; to Western Regional Office personnel including Thomas F. Mulhern, Chief, Park Historic Preservation; Gordon Chappell, Regional Historian; Helene R. Dunbar, Archeologist, Interagency Archeological Services; and Roger E. Kelly, Regional Archeologist, for contributing data and advice; to G. Bryan Harry, Director, Pacific Area Office, National Park Service, and especially to Gary F. Somers, Archeologist, Pacific Area Office, for his constant help and advice. Thanks also for their help either in providing data, park tours, or review comments to Jerry Y. Shimoda, Superintendent, Pu'ukohola Heiau NHS and Pu'uhonua o Honaunau NHP; Daniel K. Kawaiaea, Jr., Area Manager, Pu'ukohola Heiau NHS; and Francis I. Kuailani, Sr., Superintendent, Kaloko-Honokohau NHP.

This is the second study on Hawaiian park units that I have had the privilege to be involved in. I continue to be thoroughly fascinated by the complex culture and exciting history of the Hawaiian people. The three parks addressed in this study are truly important cultural sites and significant components of the National Park System.

Linda W. Greene
Denver, Colorado
September 8, 1992

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Last Updated: 15-Nov-2001