Ke Ao Hali’i board members and Hāna community members welcome the sunrise at Hāna wharf overlooking Pu’u Ka’uiki on March 28, the 5th anniversary of the establishment of the nonprofit organization.
O Ka‘uiki, mauna ki‘eki‘e, Ka‘uiki, mountain famous in story,
Huki a‘e la a pa i ka lani Stretching upward to touch the heavens,
He po‘ohiwi no kai halulu. … A shoulder for the buffeting sea. … (Beckwith)
Honolulu, April 10, 2023 – Hāna-based nonprofit Ke Ao Hāliʻi is pleased to announce the donation of 94 acres of coastal land in two important locations in Hāna: Pu‘u Ka’uiki and Makaʻalae. The land was donated on March 29 by HRP-Hana LLC (formerly known as Hana Ranch Partners LLC), along with a donation of $100,000 to support the stewardship of the lands in perpetuity.
The protected lands complete the final phase of a multi-year effort in partnership with Hawaiʻi Land Trust, the Maui County Open Space Program, and State Legacy Land Conservation Program (LLCP) to purchase and permanently preserve a total of over 190 acres of land along the Hāna coastline.
“We are extremely grateful to HRP for the donation of these two special places, and for working with us over the last several years to ensure the protection of all of these precious coastal lands in Hāna, to enable these lands to return to community management,” said Scott Crawford, chair of Ke Ao Haliʻiʻs Board of Directors. “It is the intention of Ke Ao Hāliʻi that these lands be not only protected in perpetuity, but also be used and enjoyed by the people of Hāna as places to feed ourselves both physically and spiritually, and to pass along to our future generations the traditional values, practices and connections to place.”
Pu‘u Ka‘uiki is the iconic hill that overlooks Kapueokahi (Hāna Bay), famed as the birthplace of Queen Ka‘ahumanu, and as a fortress that protected Hāna moku from forces invading from the sea. This 33-acre parcel includes most of the hill itself, as well as the area above Hāna Beach Park where the Akule Hale is located.
“I am humbled and extremely happy to hear that Puʻu Kaʻuiki has returned to the people of Hāna,” said Nani Lay-Pelikikena, a member of the ‘Ahahui Ka‘ahumanu Hāna Chapter XI. “The ‘Ahahui Ka‘ahumanu Hāna Chapter XI supports Ke Ao Hāliʻi and others in creating an approach to care for Ka‘uiki. But more importantly I am excited to raise awareness about Ka‘uiki’s sacredness and importance in the history of Hāna, like being the birthplace of our Mo‘i Wahine Ka‘ahumanu.”
Ka Ao Hāli‘i plans to convene a hui of community organizations, ʻohana, agencies and businesses who have a close relationship with Pu‘u Ka‘uiki to help to guide and support the stewardship of this wahi pana. One priority will be compiling research on the historical significance of the place, and also recording the living memories of many residents who have lived and played around the hill for generations.
“Our storied places help to identify who we are and it is important to preserve them for future generations,” said Councilmember Shane Sinenci, who represents East Maui on the Maui County Council. “This is a wonderful opportunity for the Hāna community to come together to care for this very special place. I encourage anyone with pilina to this wahi pana to get involved with the management of it.”
“Ka‘uiki has held a place of great importance to me,” said Kane Medeiros, a community member, “As a young child I played at its base in the waters of Kapueokahi and the wharf, fished along its shores at Kaihalulu, and played on its back at Hāna ball park. Now I raise my children amongst its presence. It has also been a guidance to home when out at sea fishing. When I can see Ka‘uiki I know I am near home.”
The approximately 60 acres donated at Makaʻalae include 7 parcels that were permanently protected via donated conservation easements by HRP to Hawaiʻi Land Trust in 2002 and 2014. Shae Kamakaʻal, Hawaiʻi Land Trust’s Director of ʻĀina Protection and General Counsel shared, “[a] conservation easement is a unique tool ensuring the permanent protection of land across Hawaiʻi. It’s like a forever marriage between the landowner, the land trust, and the County—as HILT co-holds multiple conservation easements in partnership with Maui County. HILT applauds the conservation ethic of HRP and welcomes a great new marriage with Ke Ao Hāliʻi, as new landowner and steward of these culturally and agriculturally significant coastal lands.” Ke Ao Hāliʻi and Hawaiʻi Land Trust look forward to further partnerships placing conservation easements over the remaining parcels where ones are not already in place.
Over the last four years, Ke Ao Haliʻi has previoulsy acquired approximately 94 acres of land in Mokae and Maka‘alae, with funding from the State LLCP and the Maui County Open Space Program.
With this recent fee donation by HRP all of the undeveloped lands makai of Hana Highway from Haneo‘o Road and Hāmoa Beach in the north to Waiohonu Stream and Waioka Pond in the south are now protected in perpetuity and under the ownership of Ke Ao Hāliʻi for community stewardship and benefit.
“As lineal descendants of the Kauimakaole ʻohana in Makaʻalae, we, along with our community, have witnessed the stewardship changes of the ʻāina over time,” said Sunnie Kaikala Mākua, Ke Ao Hāliʻi board member. “However, one thing remains the same: the bones of our ancestors have been carefully placed and marked so they will never be forgotten. This not only connects us as lineal descendants to our ʻohana but perhaps more importantly, it connects us to our ʻāina, our kulāiwi. The transfer of the remaining eight parcels that complete the conservation of the entire Makaʻalae homestead for perpetuity is a monumental accomplishment in our lifetime. We see this as a kāhea, a call to reconnect to our ʻāina, not only for our ʻohana but the entire community of Maui Hikina.”
“HRP-Hana LLC has long realized that the Maka’alae and Ka’uiki Hill properties should be managed, enjoyed, and protected by the Hāna community,” said Roy O’Connor, Chair, HRP-Hana LLC. “We are glad that KAH has come forward to accept ownership and protection of these lands and their shoreline resources for the benefit of the Hāna community.”
The $100,000 donation by HRP will be used to support the management of the donated lands. Ke Ao Hāli‘i is seeking to establish an endowment fund to help provide for ongoing costs associated with the ownership and stewardship of these lands. Anyone wishing to contribute to the overall management of the lands, or to the endowment fund specifically, is encouraged to visit savehanacoast.org. Ke Ao Hāli‘i is a 501c3 nonprofit organization and donations are tax-deductible.
For more information, visit savehanacoast.org.
About Ke Ao Hāliʻi
Hāna-based nonprofit community organization Ke Ao Hāliʻi (Save Hāna Coast) was formed in 2018 to protect and preserve the natural and cultural resources of the Hāna moku and the customary and traditional practices of Native Hawaiians of the region; to hold title to and own interests in real property or to hold easements; to preserve and manage the area’s natural, cultural, scenic, historic and marine resources for the benefit, education and enjoyment of our community and future generations. For more, visit savehanacoast.org.
About Hawaiʻi Land Trust
Hawaiʻi Land Trust (HILT) is a Hawaiʻi 501(c)3 nonprofit and nationally-accredited land trust that protects and stewards the lands that sustain Hawaiʻi, and teaches the next generation to do the same. Hawaiʻi Land Trust has protected 21,680 acres across the islands through 7 land purchases and 46 conservation easements. Hawaiʻi Land Trust prioritizes the protection of coastlines, cultural landscapes, and lands that grow food for Hawaiʻi’s people. Visit HILT.org.