Wahi Pana Education: Dr. Paul Brennan speaks on the topic of Kawainui Marsh

March 8 – 10 was the weekend for creating art – starting the process of going on-site to make art related to the historical education we listened to throughout February and early March.  

Personally I was highly involved with selecting and even creating some clips. I ended up watching most of the educational materials for all the sites.  I came away from that experience with all sorts of new understanding about the Hawaiian culture and the local history of Kailua and Waianae especially.  The most profound experiences for me were the two on-site tours I attended.  One was given by Dr. Paul Brennan, archaeologist and one of the main authors of the “Kailua” book (published by the Kailua Historical Society) that is a wonderful authoritative book on the history of Kailua up to the 1950s. The other wonderful tour we took with Kumu Glen Kila of Marae Ha’a Koa at Waianae. 

In this blog post, I will share my experiences and clips of the Kailua presentation which covered three main sites:  Kawainui in general, including the present-day area of the park and levee, Ulupo Heiau, the ancient agricultural temple that became a luakini with the arrival of Kamehameha, and Na Pohaku o Hauwahine, the boulders of Hauwahine, a beautiful shape shifting mo’o goddess who could appear in the form of a beautiful woman to bathe in the waters of the marsh, a huge lizard (mo’o), or a graceful white fairy tern in order to protect the Kawainui area. The rocks are said to be the place where she would sun herself as she watched over the marsh, but they are also shaped like a massive lizard head, as if they are Hauwahine in her mo’o form.  It is an amazing rock promontory overlook with views from the mountains to the ocean.

I have lacking skills in videography, but I edited together several topics from Dr. Brennan’s presentation to share not only with artists, but with anyone who would like to see them.  It was truly packed with excellent information.  We got rained out so we all went to Sherree’s home for the majority of the tour, but the content he shared brings the past into focus and helps us understand how much the Kawainui area has changed.  It was a shallow sea long ago, then a fishpond and realm of the beautiful mo’o Hauwahine who has protected it fiercely through many agricultural uses: kalo, rice farms, cattle, papaya farms, sweet potato, etc… to the modern marsh of international Ramsar importance.  It is currently a sanctuary of endangered birds with a levee that changed the entire flow of water throughout Kailua post 1960s.  Most plans for development have come and gone, fortunately leaving the marsh open and wild despite rising property values. I like to think that Hauwahine has never given up her guardian role, forever watching from Na Pohaku over the wide green expanse of the wetlands. Certainly many people help guard and restore the precious marsh today, including Dr. Brennan.

All of Paul Brennan’s video clips are on my YouTube Channel. He is an excellent keeper of the post-contact history of Kailua especially. I would love to have everyone watch and listen to what he has to say. Please view them and enjoy them!  They are snipped down to clips that average about 10 minutes apiece so it is easier to find time to watch.

The flow of water

Wahi Pana and the Role of Artists: 

Na Pohaku o Hauwahine and the Rice Mills:  

Kawainui Agriculture: 

Ulupo Heiau Area: 

Sincerest thanks to Dr. Paul Brennan for taking the time to share just a taste of the many stories he knows about Kawainui area!

By Land or Sea

I am excited to announce that I unintentionally dressed in the same color scheme as my painting, and also, “Peaceful Sanctuary” won first place at the HCC “By Land or Sea” show yesterday! Hooray! It was nice to see friends and meet so many wonderful people at the reception! Thank you Jennifer Rothschild for organizing so many lovely shows at HCC, and also to the three anonymous (mysterious) jurors who chose my work. It’s an honor and I am grateful!

Standing in front of my painting, "Peaceful Sanctuary" in my matching outfit. I wish I could say I planned it!

Standing in front of my painting, “Peaceful Sanctuary” in my coordinating outfit. I wish I could say I planned it, but it was just a happy fashion accident.