For several years now the Kalaeloa Heritage Park (KHP) has been helping a number of Leeward District and island wide high schools with their school luau fundraisers. It has become more of a partnership rather than casual help due to its mutual benefit. A major effort in the building of the KHP is the clearing of kiawe trees. Kiawe trees have been the major culprit in the disturbance and damage to cultural sites in the park. The heritage park is located on an ancient coral plain that causes kiawe roots to travel on the surface. These surface roots eventually find their way into Hawaiian-Tahitian cultural structures and displace the coral walls. The major effort toward the preservation of the ancient cultural landscape is kiawe removal. Kiawe is a non-native tree that was introduced into these islands by Catholic Priest Father Bachelot to provide shade to a hot and arid Downtown Honolulu in the 1820s. It was soon learned however the kiawe was a favorite food for grazing cattle. Initially cattle were turned loose to roam freely and the introduced kiawe provided a nutritious food source for these wild cattle. Ships passing through these islands in 1800s would hunt for them and get assistance from the local community salting then for the long trip to trade with China. Some of us clearing kiawe from the heritage park would jokingly say this may take us a 100 years to remove all the kiawe although we know it may be true. Amongst those schools that have been helping us remove the kiawe and making it possible for us to restore native vegetation that once thrived in this hot dry land coastal region has been Waialua High School and Moanalua. On April 22, members of the football team, coaching staffs, and students from Waialua High School and Moanalua High School met at KHP to cut kiawe for their respective football team kalua pig fundraisers. Facilitating this entire effort was Mililani Football coach John Kaaiwaawa who has been to the park on numerous kiawe cutting expeditions. We decided to highlight the work of these volunteers on this occasion simply because of the amount of help that showed up and the amount of trees they were able to cut in just a matter of a few hours. We have never seen this amount of volunteer help cutting kiawe. This article is just a simple way for us, the Kalaeloa Heritage and Legacy Foundation, to say mahalo to Mr. John Kaaiwaawa of Mililani High School, the Waialua and Moanalua High School football teams, coaching staff and students. A big mahalo for helping us build the Kalaeloa Heritage Park.
Park Entry Fees$1.00 School Age Students (K-12) $5.00 Adults