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MidWeek Staff

Kalaeloa Park Reaches Milestone In Preserving Culture

Second City Spotlight… Rep. Sharon Har

I recently was honored to participate in the bless- ing of a new house located amidst the scrub and brush of Kalaeloa — a traditional Hawaiian hale at Kalaeloa Heritage Park (KHP).

While I was amazed that the hale — constructed of stone, wood and grass — was surprisingly cool under the intense West Oahu sun, the modest thatched roof revealed the epic cooperation of several organizations to preserve many relics of Native Hawaiian culture.

The Kalaeloa Heritage and Legacy Foundation (KHLF), the U.S Navy and the Hawaii Community Development Association (HCDA) worked together for the preservation and restora- tion of the modest site off Coral Sea Road.

For the devotion of these groups and the many volunteers who work to preserve cultural artifacts, I would like to shine the Second City Spotlight on KHP.

The hale (house) itself took almost a year to complete. While its actual construction took only three weekends, the better part of a year was needed to gather the building materials required for the effort. Many helping hands came together from all points of the Islands, in the spirit of laulima (cooperation) to make it all possible.

The very same spirit that erected the hale is also what made KHP itself possible.

Preservation began with the Navy, at a time when Barbers Point Naval Air Station (NAS) was still in operation. The perimeter of the air station encompassed the current KHP site — including many cultural relics and a heiau.

While the Navy’s primary goal may not have been preservation, it still prevented the site from being covered by homes and other amenities of suburban civilization.

When the NAS closed and land was turned over to HCDA, the time was ripe to preserve this island treasure.

Rehabilitation of the site has taken thousands of volunteer hours and is still ongoing. In order to build additional hale, there are plans to recover more of the park from the kiawe trees that grew over the site.

Other proposals for the site include a visitor center and an offering place where iwi can be stored in a way that is respectful and pono.

I offer my sincerest appreciation and thanks to Uncle Shad Kane, Na Koa O Palehua, members of ‘Ahahui Siwila Hawaii O Kapolei, and other vol- unteers for their hard work and devotion.

It takes many hands to bring our community together, and in this case, to preserve our culture and heritage in West Oahu. For more information, visit khlfoundation.org.

State Rep. Sharon Har- D, represents District 42 (Makakilo/Kapolei).

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