Park plans working cultural village at Kaloko-Honokohau


A 1974 report, Spirit of Kaloko-Honokohau, established the goal of creating a cultural center, in the form of a working Hawaiian village, in which people could immerse themselves for short periods of time in Hawaiian traditions and practices.

Nearly four decades later, with the land now acquired and several other required plans completed, Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park officials are seeking comments through March 4 on a draft environmental assessment on a proposal to build the cultural center.

“The feedback (on the proposed cultural center) has been good since the ’70s,” park Superintendent Kathy Billings said.

Plans for the cultural center call for up to 12 traditional Hawaiian structures common to housing areas, including halau, a men’s house for eating and religious purposes, a guard house, a craft house, a sleeping house, a lean-to shelter, a women’s eating and general purpose building, a cooking house, a storage house and a canoe house. The center would allow opportunities to learn traditional cooking, planting and drying, building and using traditional canoes, weaving, hula instruction, making cordage, construction of fishing materials, wood carving, feather work, kapa making and drying and other activities. The cost has yet to be determined.

“The majority of the work is targeted through volunteers and our friends’ group, Makani Hou,” Billings said. “It’s learning traditional practices in halau construction.”

The National Parks Service may also provide some funding for the project.

Events in the cultural center may range from short, two-hour programs to five-day workshops, Billings said. Participation will be capped at 50 people for workshops lasting less than a day and 25 people for overnight events.

The preferred location, the draft document said, is south of the Kaloko Fishpond Area. The site is about 500 feet from the ocean and the ground has already been previously disturbed. The site would be on less than an acre. The location was selected because it allows for participant privacy and proximity to the ocean but enough distance to protect it from storm surge. Program participants would access the center by foot, following a trail from the Kaloko parking area.

More information about the plan and the draft environmental assessment is available at parkplanning.nps.gov/cc.