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Waimea in Kauai County, Hawaii — Hawaiian Island Archipelago (Pacific Ocean)
Menehune Ditch
Historical Landmark - Territory of Hawaii
 
Menehune Ditch Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Andrew Ruppenstein, July 25, 2008
1. Menehune Ditch Marker
 
Inscription. The row of hewn stone along the inner side of the road is a remnant of one wall of a water-course which is said to have been made by the MENEHUNES (Hawaiian dwarves or Brownies)
The stones were brought from Mokihana
There is an old saying: "Uwa ka menehune ma kanalloahuluhulu (Kaui)puoho ka manu kawainui (Oahu) The shout of the Menehunes at kanalloahuluhulu (Kauai) startle the birds of kawainui (Oahu)."

Tablet erected 1928
By Superintendent of Public Works
 
Erected 1928 by Hawaiian Superintendent of Public Works.
 
Location. 21° 58.184′ N, 159° 39.398′ W. Marker is in Waimea, Hawaii, in Kauai County. Marker is on Menehune Road north of Hawaii Highway 50, on the left when traveling north. Click for map. The Menehune Ditch is located on a single-lane-wide stretch of Menehune Road. When visiting, it is best to park at the pulloff on the right, some 500 feet south of the ditch, or at the small widespot in the road, some 500 feet north of the Ditch. Marker is in this post office area: Waimea HI 96796, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 14 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Captain Cook Monument (approx. 1.2 miles away); Russian Fort Elizabeth (approx. 1.3 miles away); Spouting Horn Park (approx. 12 miles away); Koloa, Birthplace of the Hawaiian Sugar Industry (approx. 13.1 miles away); Yamamoto Store & Kōloa Hotel (approx. 13.1 miles away); Kōloa Missionary Church (approx. 13.1 miles away); Prince Kūhiō Birthplace & Park (approx. 13.2 miles away); Kōloa Jodo Mission (approx. 13.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Waimea.
 
Menehune Ditch Marker - Wide View Photo, Click for full size
By Andrew Ruppenstein, July 25, 2008
2. Menehune Ditch Marker - Wide View
 

 
Also see . . .  Southwestern Kauai. HawaiianEncyclopedia.com's description of signifcant historical sites in Southwestern Kauai, including the Menehune Ditch. (Submitted on January 9, 2010.) 
 
Additional keywords. irrigation
 
Menehune Ditch Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Bill Kirchner, May 24, 2013
3. Menehune Ditch Marker
This photo shows the marker and where the ditch flows through a tunnel.
 
 
Menehune Ditch - looking north, with marker visible (on left). Photo, Click for full size
By Andrew Ruppenstein, July 25, 2008
4. Menehune Ditch - looking north, with marker visible (on left).
Little of the ditch and its stonework remain to be seen - less than 100 feet worth of an aqueduct that once was up to 24 feet high and several miles in length.
(The metal structure visible is an anchor for the footbridge over the Waimea River.)
 
 
Menehune Ditch - looking south (with marker visible between shrubs) Photo, Click for full size
By Andrew Ruppenstein, July 25, 2008
5. Menehune Ditch - looking south (with marker visible between shrubs)
From HawaiianEncyclopedia.Com: "The stones of the Menehune Ditch are flanged and fitted so that the smooth, flattened surfaces fit closely together. This type of cut and dressed stonework is not found anywhere else in the Hawaiian Islands. The origins and methods used in the construction of the Menehune Ditch remain a mystery. Some researchers theorize that the Menehune Ditch was built by the early Marquesan settlers, who arrived in the Hawaiian Islands about A.D. 200 to 800, and are thus considered the first “native Hawaiians.” It is possible that these first settlers of the Hawaiian Islands were responsible for the unique method of stonework used on the Menehune Ditch. This type of craftsmanship is not seen in the projects of later Tahitian settlers, who began arriving in the Hawaiian Islands around A.D. 1.000."
 
 
Waimea River Canyon as viewed from Menehune Ditch Marker Site Photo, Click for full size
By Andrew Ruppenstein, July 25, 2008
6. Waimea River Canyon as viewed from Menehune Ditch Marker Site
"...our attention was arrested by an object that greatly excited our admiration, and at once put an end to all conjecture on the means to which the natives resorted for the watering of their plantations. A lofty perpendicular cliff now presented itself, which, by rising immediately from the river, would effectually have stopped our further progress into the country, had it not been for an exceedingly well constructed wall of stones and clay about twenty-four feet high, raised from the bottom by the side of the cliff, which not only served as a pass into the country, but also as an aqueduct, to convey the water brought thither by great labour from a considerable distance; the place where the river descends from the mountains affording the planters an abundant stream, for the purpose to which it is so advantageously applied. This wall, which did no less credit to the mind of the projector than to the skill of the builder...", Captain George Vancouver (early 1790s)
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on January 9, 2010, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. This page has been viewed 1,610 times since then. Last updated on February 18, 2010, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 9, 2010, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California.   3. submitted on June 9, 2013, by Bill Kirchner of Tucson, Arizona.   4, 5, 6. submitted on January 9, 2010, by Andrew Ruppenstein of Sacramento, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
 
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