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East // East Oahu Coverstory
Carol Chang

Wetland Discovery Inspiring To HK Hui

Hawea Heiau Complex and Keawawa Wetland stewards with Livable Hawaii Kai Hui recently cleaned out this water well, visible behind a distinguished coconut palm on the 5-acre property. The tree itself won the 2012 National Big Tree (of its species) competition, sponsored by American Forests and nominated by Chris Cramer of Aina Haina. Photo from the state Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

Hawea Heiau Complex and Keawawa Wetland stewards with Livable Hawaii Kai Hui recently cleaned out this water well, visible behind a distinguished coconut palm on the 5-acre property. The tree itself won the 2012 National Big Tree (of its species) competition, sponsored by American Forests and nominated by Chris Cramer of Aina Haina. Photo from the state Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

A wetland cleanup day last month turned out to be much more than feeling good about getting dirty.

Livable Hawaii Kai Hui folks got acquainted with an old spring-fed water well in the Hawea Heiau Complex, bringing amazement and pride to all helping hands.

The group removed “buckets of rubbish and mud” from the well Nov. 9, allowing for a renewed flow of water. They followed up with a fourth annual drumming and cleansing ceremony at the well, witnessed by 18 participants. (Historians say elders have told of a bubbling well at this former village site in the Keawawa wetlands.)

Avid volunteer Sam Camp reported on the moving event, which is printed below in part.

“At dusk Kaleo Paik and her associates conducted a Drumming and Cleansing ceremony at Hawea. It started with a cleansing of the participants by Kaleo with salt water. She then opened with a chant followed by blowing of a bamboo pu. Following that, the drumming began with several small pahu and ipu which were initially played by Kaleo and her associates but later circulated so that all had opportunities to join in. During the hour, the bamboo pu were blown several more times, followed by a short chant, which ended the drumming. Then each participant, in turn, cleansed themselves. A circle was formed, with everyone holding hands, where they were asked to remember the meaning of Hawea, thanked for their participation and asked for their comments.

“Near the end of the drumming a remarkable phenomenon was observed by many of us, myself included. The answering note of a pu was heard in the distance to the northeast – the historical location of the main Hawea heiau.

“The importance of cleaning the well and the resulting restoration of water to Hawea was stressed. The rain, which had poured down on Maunalua all day long and helped to somewhat clarify the water in the well, abated for the duration of the drumming. We were able to visit the well and honor it. The rain resumed in full force an hour later.”

The nonprofit Livable Hawaii Kai Hui will next meet at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 11 for its monthly community cleanup and restoration in the complex. New volunteer coodinator is Kapiolani Community College student Tom Johnson, who recruited Kaiser High’s JROTC cadets for a Dec. 14 work day. Call 864-8081 or visit hawaiikaihui.org.

Its mission is to “uphold the integrity of the East Honolulu Sustainable Communities Plan, which sets guidelines for sensible development respectful of natural resources that make East Honolulu a unique place to live; protecting the ‘aina and saving the beauty of East Honolulu.”

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