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Construction of Kau Hale O Hana Underway

kauhale groundWith the archaeological study completed and the official groundbreaking celebrated on November 11th , the Kau Hale O Hana has entered the actual construction phase. Over the past few years progress has been steady though slow, even measured by Hana's easy pace, yet the project represents a major expansion of the Hana Cultural Center and Museum. The Kau Hale O Hana will consist of living quarters, a cooking house and an open meeting house which will contain interpretive panels with related imagery.

Facing makai will be interpretations of traditional marine resource use, the center panels will feature local stories, and the mauka facing panels describing land resource use. This complex more than doubles the present facility space of our museum, gift store, archive annex and old historical courthouse and jail.

The archaeological survey was conducted by a team from Cultural Resources, a premier organization which specializes in the assessment of Hawaiian antiquities. Anthropologist and former HCC trustee Maria Orr and her volunteers joined Dr. Hal Hammatt and Wm. (Billy) Folk of Cultural Resources to conduct the meticulous excavations and uncovered new historical treasures for Hale Wai Wai O Hana, our Hana House of Treasures.

The Board of Trustees has retained Francis Sinenci a Hana native and resident of Oahu as the Kuhi Kuhipu'uone (Project Manager) for the complex, who, with trustee Coila Eade have researched, refined and finalized the preliminary plans submitted by the anthropology Department of the Bishop Museum. Coila has made many trips to the zoning agencies of the County of Maui to secure the final approval for this exemplary historical display.

Francis SinenciFrancis Sinenci, a Department of Education Cultural Resource who has constructed many authentic grass house demonstration projects on the island of Oahu and the mainland, has enthusiastically jumped into the project and is well into phase one. This involves stripping and salt water seasoning of the iron wood logs and ironwood poles which will be the skeletal framework for the structures.

A call has gone out to the community for dried Ti leaves for thatching and he is gathering indigenous plants for the Hawaiian gardens appropriate for a living compound. Other elements of phase one include building a stone retaining wall to stabilize the ground slope and to build stone platforms and foundations which will support the structures.

Francis has also conducted presentations of the project to the students and advisors of Hana High School Hawaiian Studies Class and Pacific Studies Class and all have shown tremendous interest in participating. He has challenged the students to research early Hawaiian lifestyles to add a local Hana flavor to the professional research conducted by the Bishop Museum. Sinenci expects to use small teams of students who show dedication and committment as apprentices to work with him in the construction phase.

The grand opening and traditional rite of housewarming will be held March 29 and 30, 1996 in conjunction with the enormously popular East Maui Taro Festival. These two events in themselves will create a most memorable weekend. Yet, there may be more to celebrate. We have petitioned, though not received official acceptance, the Pacific Voyaging Society to honor the Taro Festival and the opening of our Kau Hale O Hana with a ceremonial landing at Ka Pueokahi (Hana Bay). As many of Hana 's families are direct decendants of the first voyagers to reach Hawai'i Nei, this combination of events will bring a new height to the spiritual, emotional and cultural heart of Hana.


Hale Wa'aHale Wa'a

Those Good Ol' Days...

Even with much of the Kau Hale work being performed by the work of volunteers, the construction budget for the Kau Hale complex is set at $25,000.

Below is a budget recently printed in the Hawaiian Historical Society newsletter showing a budget for a single grass house in Honolulu in 1840...

Pili Grass $6.00
Hiring a thatcher 5.50
Door 3.25
Rental of a well 4.00
Soil 1.00
Rocks and dirt 15.00
Roof support 3.00
Rope 5.00
Total $42.75

Source: Native Testimony, 2:245, Nalaehima testifying for claimant Simeona Kou, who gave Nalaehima money "for arranging living and buying." Land Commission Award Book 1, p.335, L.C.A. 57.