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Preliminary Plans For Hawaiian Living Compound Reviewed

By Carl Lindquist

As part of its continuing effort to educate both residents and visitors about various aspects of Hana's vibrant history, the Hana Cultural Center has long discussed the idea of building a replicated ancient Hawaiian living compound, (kauhale), on an adjacent parcel of property acquired several years ago for that purpose. In order to ensure absolute authenticity, the initial planning phases of the project have been contracted for with the Anthropology Department of Bishop Museum, with funding by way of a cultural grant obtained from the County of Maui.

In mid October the team of Bishop Museum experts assigned to the task made their first interim report, coming to Hana to discuss preliminary design plans while also verifying the property's measurements and elevations in preparation for more detailed drawings. As presently contemplated, the kauhale will be of the type most commonly used by the "maka'ainana", or common people of old, consisting of a typical stone and thatched dwelling, with an adjacent roofed cooking structure, including an imu, or underground oven.

Surrounding walls and terraces would be built in a fashion echoing the highly refined agrarian techniques of Hana's earliest settlers, with appropriate food and medicinal plants also selected for their historic relevance. Various utilitarian and household implements in their "natural" settings, and a series of graphic illustrations and information about life-styles, legends and historical highlights of Hana's past would be housed in a thatched "orientation pavilion" at the compound's entrance.

A major phase of the preparatory work will include an archaeological study of the property prior to the start of any construction, limited earlier searches having already turned up a wide variety of historical objects. It is anticipated that building and planting will largely be accomplished by volunteers, with emphasis on involving the active participation of Hana's schoolchildren. (Students will also be encouraged to "manage" various aspects of the kauhale on an ongoing basis).

Those wishing to participate in the work, or to make sorely needed donations specifically for this important project are encouraged to contact the Center at P.O. Box 27, Hana, Hawaii 96713, or by calling Coila Eade at (808) 248-8070 or the Center at (808) 248-8622.