Stories and photos of place caring for people,
and people caring for place as kinship ties strengthen
at Ka‘ūpūlehu ēlama forest in the lee of Hualalai, Hawai’i island.
An era of renewed collective care and awareness 1995-2022.
Mālama—Images of Work, is a growing collection of the remarkable story of people responding to ‘āina, and land in turn, responding to authentic generosity—unconditional giving—aloha. Whether transitioning invasives to mulch, planting, teaching, learning, or monitoring—the hard work of KS summer programs, families and community—in the drylands of Hualālai has made a difference. The recent land history of Ka’ūpūlehu Dryland Forest is also told in photographs and video. This is the first increment, with much more to come from an unprocessed archive of footage and images.
So Many Made A Difference
This rare ancient forest.
Until cut off
to become a nearly forgotten place
of trash and garbage,
thrown from the side of the road.
Generation after generation
Year after year
There were signs.
Trails and homes altered.
Footsteps of people nearly erased
in one decade
Hardly noticed or given a glance.
Until “endangered” became a legal word.
Protection on the edge of vaporization.
Meanwhile, slowly, a hopeful shift.
Forgotten and unknown become familiar again.
The intelligence of forest awakens kinship memories.
Still rare, but hope swells again,
So many make a difference.
A place of quiet caring reconnects.
People belonging from far and near.
Planetary winds reunite distant cousins.
Together we changed, with place.
Believing, not just saying
“you live, so I live”.
Spirit of love and caring,
displaces coveting, disdain and neglect.
So many make a difference.
Place remembers mālama,
itʻs sound waves and intent,
held close through time,
still vibrating in the air,
still vibrating in the water
still vibrating in stumps, roots and life in the lepo.
I ola ‘oe, I ola mākou nei
Our lives are dependent on each other.
Land, air, and waters remember.
Ho‘ola Ka Makana‘ā dryland forest.
The dryland forest of Kaūpūlehu—Wao Lama Nāhelehele has responded to the efforts of many to revitalize a 76-acre fenced fragment of a once vast native homeland ecosystem.
The efforts of a few began quietly in the 1990s when awareness of dryland forests had become sparse as native stewards passed, were displaced or relocated. Intimate knowledge and interaction with tropical dryland forest was even more rare at the time of the new millennium of 2000. It was so dismissed and impacted by humans worldwide during the industrial age, that only 10% remained at the turn of this century.
While we focus on the change to tropical dryland forests, it is not just the trees. It is the entire ‘ohana [family]—birds, insects, animals, winds, waters, and land.
There is even less of this ecosystem today, in this tropical zone of land, as people continue to migrate from harsher conditions and bring about change. The map below is a visual of the impact of those changes on indigenous dryland forest and all that once lived there.
Here at Ka‘ūpūlehu, Ho’ola Ka Makana‘ā, a handful of unexpected and diverse people began the restoration efforts in 1997, together planting the beginnings of new hope, and possibilities. They began as an informal group, without funding, under the radar, with hand tools and gloves.
The story is told, that a year of lightning and devastating fires to rare kupuna [elder] trees also sparked the imagination and action of people watching from Mamalohoa Highway as the rarest of the rare burned. Two people in particular led the rallying effort that brought together a small group of community, lineal descendants, landowners, government agencies, land developers, scientists.
There are many unsung people of inspiration. It was not easily seen, but these two rallied others to extremely fertile soil of potential; Hannah Kihalani Springer from the uplands of Ka‘ūpūlehu and Peter Simmons, a land planner for Kamehameha Schools at the time. Mahalo nui.
Please see the slideshow below for history of these early efforts:
A SHORT LAND HISTORY SLIDESHOW
By Aunty Yvonne. Ho‘ola Ka Makana‘ā o Ka‘ūpūlehu director, and outreach coordinator 2002-2022. Mahalo to Bob Cabin, Susan Cordell and Keoki Apokolani Carter for photo contributions. To Peter Simmons, Bob Lindsey and Neal Hannahs for guidance 2002-2012.
Ka‘ūpūlehu Ahupua‘a Land Kuleana Summary. Watch above video for more, and 1885 inoa ‘ohana, family names of record, living at Ka‘ūpūlehu.
1780-1848 inheritance of ahupua’a handed down and retained as important and favored lands to ali‘i. This continued to Kamehameha V during Mahele.
1873-2021 Summary of Ka‘ūpūlehu land management changes.
All 23,000 acres, except the shoreline village of Kahuwai leased to rancher John Broad in 1873, then to Greenwell in 1884, and John Maguire in 1888 to expand his Kukio, Huehue Ranch. Bernice Pauahi Bishop died in 1884 and all her lands were deeded to the Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estate. The 1885 population of this ahupua‘a homeland population and Kahuwai was recorded to be 1,233 with a dramatic decline by 1900. See some names of record associated with these lands. In 1917, Maguire lease ended and 31-acres deeded to him and his wife Luka Hopulā’au. Today, in 2021, Kamehameha Schools owns all except less than 50-acres in the ahupua‘a of Ka‘ūpūlehu.
Ka‘ūpūlehu Mauka of Mamalahoa Highway, Kamehameha Schools land offers 5.7 acre lease in 1957 to Territory of Hawaii for a “native tree sanctuary” but withdrawn in 1972. NTBG (National Tropical Botanical Gardens) granted management lease by KS in 1973 and plantings and botanical inventories done. Called the “mauka plot” during NTBG research into 1990s. As more programs develop at multiple elevations in the ahupua‘a, the name “mauka plot” became confusing. It is known today by the site staff as “Māulukua” as described in early Hawaiian language newspapers.
Ka‘ūpūlehu Makai of Mamalahoa Highway protection begins in baby steps. 1989 PIA lease of KS lands. 1992 one-acre fenced makai of Mamalahoa Highway. (Names of fenced one-acre: Cole exclosure, Koena, Makana‘ā Iki). 1993 Oweowe fire. 1995 USFWS agreement signed by HFIA for DFWG, KS, PIA collaboration. 1999 first funding from USFWS grant to fence 70-acres. The ad-hoc Dryland Forest Working Group (DFWG) forms and volunteer manages efforts with forest meetings and gatherings hosted in the nearby home of Hannah Springer and Mike Tomich.
Spirit of Place & Ka‘ūpūlehu homeland background & history.
What were the family names?
Was yours connected to the 1,233 Hawaiians recorded as residing here in 1835.
The number declined by 1900. The native forest population declined too.
Now only 5% or less Hawai‘i dryland forest still lives.
Ka‘ūpūlehu is one of the healthiest slivers of dryland native forests left.
Meet the quiet, protective, blend of people beginning mālama restoration “under the radar” in 1997.
To their 2002 change in thinking to do outreach, “If people donʻt know itʻs there—how can they love and care for the disappearing forest.”
1995-2003—Revitalization Includes timeline summary of land relationships, leases, ownership and inheritance by Bernice Pauahi Bishop in 1883.
What do forest memories awaken in you?
To all of you who made a difference. Photopoints and people who pili ‘āina.
joyful sounds resonate through the forest and kumulā‘au (trees). (interactive: what things in the forest are traditional instruments…how do they let trees hear us…Uncle Keoki…”can trees hear? Can they feel? We were taught yes…that is why they are treated with respect. Permission to harvest…pluck their leaves))
Slideshow photos of place changing with us…select photopoints
1997-2000 Dryland Forest Working Group Begins New Era of Aloha Ka‘ūpūlehu
add video of hannah about dfwg and forest history (old format needs digital transfer)
add photo of peter simmons at forest 1999 (interview)
Land Relationships and change in Ka‘ūpūlehu.
1995-2003—Revitalization: Same forest shared mālama. Expansion across highway. Science Research and adhoc stewardship group gets 70 acres fenced to protect rare natives from goats (Aunty Hannah & Uncle Mike leadership with Peter Simmons and Dryland Forest Working Group). More early land management, community collaborators, and background history in the slideshow and summary below.
Mahalo to those who grew this foundation. And mahalo to those who documented with photos including Jack Jeffrey, Bob Cabin, Susan Cordell, Yvonne Yarber, Keoki Carter and others.
2001 Reconnecting Community to Forest ‘Ohana—Education Outreach Begins
Aunty Yvonne begins the mālama education program with DFWG with KS and HFIA summer of 2002. Among the community and university volunteers, Kamehameha Schools begins the Ho‘olauna Keauhou summer pilot program in 2003, birthing the statewide Ho‘olauna programs and reconnection of 6th and 7th graders to ‘āina.
This “bio-cultural” outreach and stewardship came to be known as
Ho‘ola Ka Makana’ā an ‘Āina Ulu KS collaborator.
Were You Here?
Begin a new era of reconnecting keiki through Hoolauna, and others from far away places.
Photos to be input through time eras. 2002 to present.
1950s: territory 5+ acre preserve “kokio” (letters) also put in staff library
2000-2003 early 2004(check dates) Brian site tech…thousands of natives planted . [insert cross link to video of planting hauheleula/kokio]
2002: Commitment to formal Outreach Education Program begins. Aunty Yvonne goes from volunteer to staff.
2003: Ho‘olauna Keauhou —KS Pilot Program Makana Gorma, Kalani Flores, Malani Deguiar, Ulalia Berman. 2004 becomes the Ho‘olauna Kona program, and other Ho‘olana sites begin. Busloads come. 2004: Brian leaves. Killed Fountain grass below 1-acre. No fulltime tech for the next almost 5 years.
200?: (malani and Ulalia leave) Lehua and Kapena…and
Midge folks partime contractor techs. (below 1-acre and to North)
(Begin partnership with Aunty Lei & Kalaemano & Ku‘ulei)
2006: Ho‘ola Ka Makana’ā and Nāhelehele website Aunty Yvonne & Uncle Keoki.
2008: Wilds joins team.
Insert when Kekaulike began and about first being here as child with parents
Insert when Dryland Hui began…photos…wilds
Lehua begins with Ho‘ola Ka Makana‘ā
2020 Last two groups before COVID. Mahalo ui!
Poems, drawings, mele, riddles etc by those whoʻve been here. reflection sheet drawings, this is login section, wood tiles.