This aerial photo shows Kauhola Point. Maikai Kamakani O Kohala recently purchased 27.5 acres at the point. (Special To West Hawaii Today)
This aerial photo shows Kauhola Point. Maikai Kamakani O Kohala purchased 27.5 acres at the point. (Special To West Hawaii Today)
Kauhola Point and the surrounding coastline was an area Kamehameha I favored, officials with Maikai Kamakani O Kohala say.
The chief taught his favored wife, Kaahumanu, to surf there, and a taro plot and fish pond in the area bear his name.
Now, thanks to community groups and a state agency pooling their resources, 27.5 acres will be preserved from development.
Nonprofit Maikai Kamakani O Kohala announced the Kauhola Point purchase Friday. The State Legacy Land Conservation Program provided $975,000 of the $1.3 million purchase price. Other contributors included the Dorrance Family Foundation, which gave $100,000, and the Freeman Family Fund of the Hawaii Community Foundation, which gave another $100,000.
In Kohala “there’s a very active community, (with) a number of different community organizations that are focused on coastal protection and public access,” said Lea Hong, with the Trust for Public Land. The trust helped Maikai Kamakani O Kohala apply for the state funds and the private donations. “It was really a community, grass-roots effort.”
The existing coastal access will be maintained, and Maikai Kamakani O Kohala will work with the public to gather input and help in restoring the site and providing cultural and natural resource protections, Hong added.
Organization officials said they envision “a native landscape that protects the watershed, provides habitat for native species (especially shorebirds), preserves existing open view planes, cares appropriately for the heiau remnants, prevents coastal erosion by replanting native ground cover of naupaka and hala trees, makes efforts to research and revive Kamehameha I’s taro patches and plants other organic produce to provide a healthy sustainable food source for Kohala, and encourages further community unity and collaboration.”
Kohala students already use the land as an outdoor classroom through the Ocean Warriors Program.
“It has been so rewarding to see the surfers, fishermen and regular users of Kauhola Point come together with the Ocean Warriors to hold coastal cleanups, sell T-shirts, and organize a series of fundraising events to protect this place that we all love,” Ocean Warriors Program Co-director Elizabeth Pickett said. “Hopefully other communities will be able to learn from the ground-up stewardship process that continues to grow at Kauhola Point.”
Maikai Kamakani O Kohala purchased the land from Chad and Jenifer Davis, who have lived in North Kohala for more than two decades.
The site was the official recreation area for plantation families during the sugarcane area, according to a press release announcing the purchase.
Other organizations involved in the purchase include the HEI Charitable Foundation, Hawaii Electric Light Co. and many community members.