Waimea in Hawaii County, Hawaii — Hawaiian Island Archipelago (Pacific Ocean)
Farming the Land, Fishing the Sea
Lapakahi State Historical Park
The ahupua'a is a traditional land division that runs mauka from the mountains to makai (seaward). The ahupua'a of Lapakahi encompasses more than 2,000 acres along the leeward slopes of the Kohala Mountains. The distance from the upland forests down to the shoreline is about 4 miles.
The makai or coastal area around Koai'e Cove was initially settled around A.D. 1300. By A.D. 1500, people had moved upland to the kula zone and were cultivating crops in the extensive Kohala fieldsystem. The staple crops of 'uala (sweet potato) and drylands kale (taro) were grown on the slopes in planting areas defined by earthen berms and low rock walls. The population of maka'āinana (farmers and fishers) in the ahupua'a of Lapakahi grew to several hundred at the time of Western Contact in the late 1700s.
Many families lived around Koai'e Coave where they built pole frame houses with thatched roofs of pili grass atop stacked rock walls. The complex of rock walls along the coast are what remains of this former settlement that flourished at Koai'e. They gathered shellfish and limu (seaweed) from the nearshore wars and fished offshore
Many 'ohana (families) move mauka during the rainy winter season as this was the time for planting and agricultural activity was at its peak. A network of trails running mauka-makai was used to tend to the fields and exchange the resources of the 'āina (land) and kai (sea).
The leeward coast of the island lacks permanent surface water because the rain falls upslope and is rapidly absorbed by the porous volcanic soils. At Lapakahi, wells were dug near the coast to locate the freshwater lenses atop the salt water. This water is vital for drinking, gardens, and food preparation. The lowering the water table in the late 1800s may be one reason the people left Lapakahi around 1920.
Erected by State of Hawai'i, Department of Land ad Natural Resources, Division of State.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Agriculture • Anthropology & Archaeology • Asian Americans • Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1300.
Location. 20° 10.518′ N, 155° 53.856′ W. Marker is in Waimea, Hawaii, in Hawaii County. Marker can be reached from Akoni Pule Highway (Hawaii Route 270), Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Kamuela HI 96743, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 12 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Clues from the Past... The Archaeology of Lapakahi (within shouting distance of this marker); 1st BN., 141st Infantry Regiment (approx. 7˝ miles away); Pelekane (approx. 11.3 miles away); Hale o Kapuni Heiau (approx. 11.3 miles away); Pu'ukohola Heiau (approx. 11.3 miles away); Mailekini Heiau (approx. 11.3 miles away); Pu'ukohlā Heiau (approx. 11.3 miles away); Pu'ukohola Heiau National Historic Site (approx. 11˝ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Waimea.
More about this marker. This marker is located at Lapakahi State Historical Park
Additional keywords. Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders
Credits. This page was last revised on August 23, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 20, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 91 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on November 20, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.