A Historical Take On Mokapu

Kailua Historical Society continues its mission to remind residents about their past in its next program, “Before the Military: Mokapu Peninsula.”

At the meeting from 7 to 9 tonight (Oct. 10) a panel representing descendants of the peninsula’s families will discuss what pre-military life was like at Mokapu. The program is at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 865 Auloa Road.

“Most Windward residents take the military’s presence at Mokapu for granted, but the community needs to know and be brought up to date, and this is a prime time to do it,” said KHS president and archeologist Paul Brennan, noting that military settlement began with the Army in 1918, the Navy in 1939 and the Marines in 1952. “It’s hard for us who reside here to think of the military’s absence.”

The Kaneohe base now has a population of about 18,000, with an additional 2,000 expected soon. There also is the matter of unexploded ordnance in Maunawili, Brennan point- ed out. “But there was a presence — a very Hawaiian presence — before the military established their bases,” he said. “Scattered throughout the peninsula today are the iwi kupuna that lie beneath the sand. House lots and acreages likewise exist, if only on old maps and in memories.” He said some 2,000 iwi (bones) may remain, and both military and civilian experts are working to account for them.

Brennan extends a special invitation to Mokapu family descendants to attend tonight’s meeting and share their stories.

According to one historical account, residents reached their Mokapu homes via horse-drawn buggies across the shallow reefs near Nu‘upia fish-ponds until the 1920s.; and Harold K.L. Castle pastured his cattle on the peninsula until the 1930s.

For more information, call 262-7316.