A Glimpse Into Ewa’s Cultural History At Kalaeloa

City News …City Councilwoman Kymberly Pine

The future looks bright for West Oahu as new park facilities and amenities are planned. Our city parks continue to grow with new facilities such as the ‘Ewa Mahiko Gym that opened recently.

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City Councilwoman Kymberly Pine

These parks offer a multitude of programs, from wellness classes to youth sports. In total, our community is blessed to be the home of 23 parks on 702 acres.

While they provide us with space for recreation and wellness, there is another park that offers visitors a unique walk back into ‘Ewa’s history. Located off Coral Sea Road a mile from the entrance of Kalaeloa is the 77-acre Kalaeloa Heritage Park, which is home to more than 177 recorded cultural sites. These include a heiau, habitation sites and native plants. Constructed out of coral, many are unique and cannot be found anywhere else on Oahu.

In addition, volunteers have transformed the landscape, replacing invasive kiawe trees with native drought-tolerant plants such as the fast-growing naio, the fragrant maiapilo and the rugged wiliwili tree.

As restoration efforts grew, the nonprofit Kalaeloa Heritage and Legacy Foundation was established in 2010 to help residents of the Honouliuli ahupua’a to preserve and protect both native Hawaiian cultural sites and historical sites within the heritage park.

“The vastness of the cultural landscape paints a picture of a community of people that lived and thrived here,” said foundation board member Shad Kane.

“It’s not a documentation of individual archeological features but rather a landscape, an ancient community that once lived at a place once known as Kanehili.”

The mission of the foundation is to promote stew-ardship and preservation of these sites and the cultural landscape of Kalaeloa, educate the community on traditions and practices, advocate for cultural awareness, and maintain an authentic Hawaiian presence in the area.

Its long-term plan, for instance, is to create a learning center where cultural practitioners from the Honouliuli ahupua’a, local residents and visitors can be introduced to the traditions and customs of both the past and present. The hale and cultural sites, Kane explained, will allow the exploration of ancient tradition and the presentation of stories from the past.

To learn more about the foundation and the park, and how to support it, visit khlfoundation.org.

To contact City Councilwoman Kymberly Marcos Pine, District 1 (Ewa Villages to Makua) call 768-5001 or email kmpine@honolulu.gov.