Recently the Kalaeloa Heritage and Legacy Foundation was invited by Kamuela Enos to participate in several meetings in an effort to assist students of the University of Hawaii Manoa Department of Urban and Regional Planning. It is an effort to help these students learn about the manner in which they can help local communities, land owners and developers integrate a sense of place into their planning processes and at the same time fulfill their study criteria.
This University of Hawaii’s Dept. of Urban and Regional Planning project with the Kalaeloa Heritage Park is the result of their Community Planning course (Plan 616) taught by lecturers Bob Agres and Kamuela Enos. The intent of the class is to teach aspiring planners the basics on working with communities. The focus is to work with cultural practitioners within specific geographic areas and learn how work together to find a common sense of direction and integrate that commonality into a broad base community plan for growth. The theme of this program of learning is Urban Ahupua`a. It is integrating a cultural identity into regional planning. There are three communities that are partners in this year’s class: Papakolea, Kalauao (Pearl Ridge) and Kapolei. Partners in the Kapolei workgroup include Halau Kaululauae (w/ Kumu Mikiala Lidstone), UH West Oahu’s Indigenous Education arm (including Prof. Manu Meyer and Kehau Kupihea), and the Kalaeloa Heritage Park. Students will work with each practitioner group individually and then as a team to help develop a deliverable that supports them in their collective aim of educating the broader Kapolei community on the incredible cultural resources that exist in the region.
Kamuela Enos is the director of social enterprise at MAʻO Organic Farms. Born and raised in Waiʻanae, he comes from a family of cultural practitioners and farmers committed to sustainable agriculture. A vocal advocate for innovative educational approaches that serve all learners., Enos has turned his challenged secondary education experiences into a successful post-secondary academic career. He has an undergraduate degree in Hawaiian Studies and a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.
Kapolei is an excellent example for university students to learn of the many considerations in the planning of a new city. In that original plan It was an effort to make certain that Kapolei did not take on the look of something foreign. Competing sugar prices made it difficult for Campbell Estate to stay in sugar which brought about a change in direction and visions of building a new city with a new name and a sense of historical identity. Whether we all realize it that was a major decision. Hawaii had always been known as an agricultural state, even anciently by the very nature of its isolation and a need to sustain its isolation. It was obvious in that decision with the closing of large tracts of their sugar lands Campbell Estate and Hawaii could no longer depend on agriculture to sustain themselves. It was the beginning of this states realization that the State of Hawaii would need to rely on the visitor industry for revenue. In that decision and the direction of the future it became critical that this planned city had to be consistent with that future direction. In that effort this city could not take on the look of something foreign. It had to be an authentic Hawaiian place. A restoration of those ancient Hawaiian place names of this entire region would find their place as street names, city and park names, names of buildings, site specific historical cultural celebrations. All of this planned effort brought about a need to seek out those sources of this regions historical past. That is how the Kalaeloa Heritage Park came to be as part of the closure of the Barbers Point Naval Air Station. It was meant to serve as a community benefit and an educational component. The original planned thought its board of directors and community advisory committee would be cultural resource people, educators, neighborhood board representatives, landowners, contractors, developers, business and organizations involved in the visitor industry. Places such as Papakolea and Pearlridge, historically known as Kalauao is different in the sense that the focus in these would be to breath new life into these older areas. Kapolei is uniquely different. The Kalaeloa Heritage Park serves as a cultural resource in an effort to provide that cultural sense of place in the planning and direction of the new city of Kapolei.
On October 27 students of the University of Hawaii’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning was provided a site tour of the Kalaeloa Heritage Park. Students Maria Morales, Miles Nishioka and Sameer Saraswat were also provided with an understanding on how the park came to be in terms of the closure of the former Barbers Point Naval Air Station and the reason this 77 acre parcel of land was identified as a cultural park. That intent defined the heritage park as a resource to urban and regional planning and building of a new city. That has been the contributions of the Kalaeloa Heritage Park to this new city of Kapolei. Critical to that contribution is the parks educational component. That educational component is to assist students such as Maria, Miles and Sameer to achieve their academic aspirations as part of the planned building of the city of Kapolei. This is who we are in this new city of Kapolei.