|A'a flow at Kaloko Honokohau National Historical Park|
|Maybe this picture of Honokohau Beach sells the place a bit better?|
It helps if one finds out "the rest of the story". The word ahupua'a refers to the land divisions that existed prior to European colonization of the Hawaiian Islands. These were the highly organized tracts of land that were given over to various clans and families, and which allowed the islands to support a population estimated at between 200,000 and 1,000,000 (the present population is about 1.4 million). The tracts of land sloped down from the summits of the volcanoes on the Big Island like the spokes on a wheel, leading to the coastline. Each division included a portion of coast as well as forest lands at the higher elevations. This arrangement provided access to a wide variety of resources.
I saw several kinds of birds during our visit, but the most special was the sighting of a Kolea, the Pacific Golden Plover. The Golden Plover is sometimes credited with allowing the Polynesians to discover the Hawaiian Islands. The birds migrate thousands of miles between South Pacific islands to Alaska. The Polynesians would have known they were headed north to some kind of landmass, which may have led to expeditions northward to find the new lands.
Hawai'i That Was" that existed in the years prior to European contact. It's almost ironic that the park today, smack in the middle of an industrial area, is rebuilding the natural environment of Hawai'i that existed before the Polynesians arrived, even while preserving the memories and spirit of the Native Hawaiians.