Mauna Kea Science Reserve and Hale Pohaku Complex Development Plan Update:   Oral History and Consultation Study, and Archival Literature Research,    continued                                                                         arwleft.gif (1297 bytes)

Overview of Information Recorded
Through Interviews and Consultation

The "summit region" study area contains approximately 11,000 acres, including a portion of the southern flank of the mountain (a roadway and the Hale PŰhaku facilities), and the entire summit region (the zone at approximately the 11,500 foot elevation and higher) of Mauna Kea. The specific tasks of the oral history study sought to focus on sites and resources in the summit region of Mauna Kea. In conducting the study, limited-yet important-site-specific information for the summit was recorded. This fact is not surprising, and can be attributed in-part to the remoteness, environmental conditions, and nature of the Mauna Kea summit region. Also, by the time of undertaking this study, nearly all of the elders (i.e., the parent and grandparent generations of the interviewees-who were born in the period between 1850 to 1900) who traveled to Mauna Kea with their own elders had passed away. In reading the interviews, it will be seen that a significant portion of the information recorded for Mauna Kea focuses on the mountain as a whole feature in the cultural and natural landscape, rather than focusing on specific regions or zones. This attachment to the mountain landscape is rooted in antiquity and remains important in the lives of native Hawaiians today, who attribute spiritual and cultural values to Mauna Kea. It will also be seen that non-Hawaiians assign spiritual significance to Mauna Kea.

The following overview provides readers with summaries of the primary information recorded about several of the resources on Mauna Kea, considered to be significant by interview- and consultation-participants. The site, resource, cultural significance, and documentation on practices has been separated into several general categories below. These categories provide readers with immediate access to key points raised by interviewees and consultation participants. Each of the primary topic categories are also divided into two sub-categories-information recorded in a formal interview, and information recorded in consultation. Please note that while the information below provides readers with an overview of the cultural-historical information that was recorded as a part of this study, the full interview transcripts (Appendix A), and consultation records (in Appendices B & C), should be read for further details and to understand the context in which the information was discussed. Additionally, at the end of Appendix A, readers will find an "Index to Selected Subjects Discussed in Oral History Interviews." The index will help readers access various areas of interest raised in the interviews.

Table 1. Interviewee Background

Previously Recorded Interviews:

Name of Interviewee    Ethnicity    YearBorn    Birth Place   Male (M) Female (F) Place of Residence Comments

Kaleohano Kalili ,       Hawaiian,   ca. 1884,     n/a,     M     Honolulu, 1956, participant in Bishop Museum interview.

James Kahalelaum‚mane Lindsey, Hawaiian 1882, Waimea Hawai‘i  M Waimea 1966 participant in family interview.

Kalani Ka‘apuni Phillips,  Hawaiian,   1902,   Waimea Hawai‘i,    F,   Waimea,   1967, participant in family interview.

Interviews of 1998:

Name of Interviewee Ethnicity Year Born Birth Place Male (M) Female (F) Place of Residence Comments

Toshi Imoto,              Japanese, 1928,                                          Pu‘u ‘‘‘Ű,    M,          P‚pa‘ikou Retired Cowboy.

John Ah San, Chinese- Portuguese,   1907, Laup‚hoehoe M Laup‚hoehoe, Retired Mauna Kea Forestry employee.

Coco Hind, Part Hawaiian, 1923 Honolulu (Raised in Waimea) F HŰlualoa, Descendant of Hawaiian ranching family.

Table 1. Interviewee Background (continued)

Name of Interviewee Ethnicity Year Born Birth Place Male (M) Female (F) Place of Residence Comments

Teddy Bell,           Part Hawaiian,     1923,    Waimea,   M,   Waimea Retired Cowboy and Construction worker.

Sonny Kaniho,   Part Hawaiian,     1922,     Kawaihae uka,    M,   Waimea,      Retired Cowboy.

Daniel Kaniho Sr.,   Part Hawaiian,   1932,   Waimea,     M,    Waimea Retired Cowboy.

Judge Martin Pence,   Caucasian,  1904,    Kansas,      M,   Honolulu,    Federal Judge; Mauna Kea Hunter.

Pete L‘Orange,   Part Hawaiian,  1933,  Waipahu, M,   Waimea, Retired Parker Ranch/Humu‘ula Manager; Land Use Planner.

Alika Lancaster,  Part Hawaiian,  1930, Hilo, M,  Keaukaha Mason; Hawai‘i Loa Descendant; Hawaiian practi- tioner.

Anita (Kamaka‘ala- Poli‘ahu) Lancaster, Part Hawaiian, 1942, Moloka‘i, F, Keaukaha Poli‘ahu-Hawai‘i Loa descendant.

Tita Spielman,   Part Hawaiian,  1924,  Wai‚kea,     F,     ‘‘uli Parker-Low family descendant.

J.K. Spielman,   Part Hawaiian,   1959,   Honolulu,    M,    ‘‘uli Son of Tita Spielman; fisher- man.

Hannah Kihalani Springer, Part Hawaiian,  1952,  Kona F Ka‘ŻpŻlehu,   Hawaiian Practi- tioner; historian; OHA Trustee.

Albert Kahiwahiwaokalani Haa Sr. , Hawaiian,   1930, Kapoho M Wai‚kea,    Retired from Military and State Corrections program; Hawaiian ranching family with ties to Mauna Kea.

Albert K. Haa Jr.,   Part Hawaiian,   1953,   Honolulu,    M Wai‚kea,   Son of A. Haa Sr.; Hawaiian Practi- tioner.

Lloyd Case Part Hawaiian 1949 Waimea M Waimea Construction worker; Hawaiian practitioner; and subsistence hunter.

Pualani Kanaka‘ole-Kanahele Hawaiian 1937 Hilo F Pana‘ewa Hawaiian Educator, cultural practi- tioner; Ho‘opa‘a Kumu Hula.

Irene Lindsey- Fergerstrom & Romona Ferger- strom-Kalalau and family members Part Hawaiian 1932 1960 Waimea F F Waimea Descendants of families with generations of practice on Mauna Kea.

Heiau (Ceremonial Sites) and Spiritual Significance

In Hawaiian culture, natural and cultural resources are one and the same. Native traditions describe the formation of the Hawaiian Islands and the presence of life on and around them, in the context of genealogical accounts. All forms of the natural environment, from the skies and mountain peaks, to the watered valleys and plains, and to the shore line and ocean depths were the embodiments of Hawaiian gods and deities. One Hawaiian genealogical account, records that W‚kea (the expanse of the sky) and Papa-h‚nau-moku (Papa-Earth-mother who gave birth to the islands)-also called Haumea-nui-h‚nau-w‚-w‚ (Great Haumea-Woman-earth born time and time again)-and various gods and creative forces of nature, gave birth to the islands. Hawai‘i, the largest of the islands, was the first-born of these island children. As the Hawaiian genealogical account continues, we find that these same god-beings, or creative forces of nature who gave birth to the islands, were also the parents of the first man (H‚loa), and from this ancestor, all Hawaiian people are descended (cf. David Malo 1951:3; Beckwith 1970; Pukui and Korn 1973).

In some genealogical chants, Mauna Kea is referred to as "Ka Mauna a Kea" (W‚kea’s Mountain), and it is likened to the first-born of the island of Hawai‘i (Pukui and Korn 1973). A mele h‚nau (birth chant) for Kauikeaouli (Kamehameha III) describes Mauna Kea in this genealogical context:

O h‚nau ka mauna a Kea, Born of Kea was the mountain,

‘‘pu‘u a‘e ka mauna a Kea. The mountain of Kea budded forth.

‘O W‚kea ke k‚ne, ‘o Papa, W‚kea was the husband, Papa

‘o Walinu‘u ka wahine. Walinu‘u was the wife.

H‚nau Ho‘ohoku he wahine, Born was Ho‘ohoku, a daughter,

H‚nau H‚loa he ali‘i, Born was H‚loa, a chief,

H‚nau ka mauna, he keiki mauna na Kea… Born was the mountain, a mountain-son of Kea…

(Pukui and Korn 1973:13-28)

In Hawaiian practice, elders are revered -they are the connection to one’s past-and they are looked to for spiritual guidance (Interview with Tita and JK Spielman; Pua Kanahele pers comm. Dec. 1, 1998 and interview Dec. 11, 1998; and Handy and Pukui 1977). In this case, Mauna Kea, the landscape itself is a sacred ancestor.

In regards to specific features, native traditions such as the Boundary Commission Testimonies collected as early as 1873; field survey work conducted by W.D. Alexander and party in 1892; and an archaeological survey (Hudson ms. 1930), provide specific documentation of worship or sites of worship on Mauna Kea, including the presence of heiau in the summit region (see historical documentation in Appendix D). Also, a 1926 photograph in the collection of Bishop Museum (No. CP 14969) shows Willie Kaniho sitting on what appears to be a stone platform on the summit plateau of Mauna Kea (see interview with Sonny and Daniel Kaniho). Detailed documentation of the "ritual landscape" of Mauna Kea as recorded in archaeological surveys is documented in studies presently being prepared by the State Historic Preservation Division (DLNR-SHPD).

Interview participants

None of the interviewees recalled hearing the names of heiau or other ceremonial sites on Mauna Kea.

Lloyd Case, and Irene Lindsey-Fergerstrom (with Romona Fergerstrom-Kalalau and relatives of the Lindsey-Kealamakia line) do describe various kŻahu (altar) and platform features with upright stones that archaeologists have identified around the 10,000 foot elevation, and in other areas of Mauna Kea. The other interviewees did not recall seeing the features.

Most had never heard any kŻpuna or old timers speak of specific heiau on the Mauna Kea.

Johnny Ah San, Toshi Imoto, Daniel Kaniho Sr., Tita Spielman, and Lloyd Case all stated they had seen a stone ahu or platform on the summit peak of Mauna Kea (still visible from ca. 1947 to 1969).

Based on family history, Lloyd Case specifically associates the platform with navigational practices.

Theodore Bell Sr., recalls seeing a stone ahu or mound at Waiau, in the vicinity of the Humu‘ula-Mauna Kea Trail. In his youth, a bottle with the names of visitors to Mauna Kea was set on the stone mound.

Alika Lancaster (as a participant), Albert K. Haa Sr. (and Jr.), and Lloyd Case (being told by elders) share accounts learned from elders of individuals going to the summit region of Mauna Kea to offer prayers.

Members of the Haa family specifically describe the work of their kupuna, Ioane, on Mauna Kea as being work of Akua. He retreated to Mauna Kea to worship in secrecy (in the old way), because to do so publicly was kapu.

Alika and Anita Lancaster, and Lloyd Case describe the practice of gathering water from Waiau, which was used for ceremonial and healing practices.

Alika Lancaster describes Mauna Kea as a sanctuary in ancient times. The area above the forest line was so sacred that once in the upper region, your enemies could not pursue you.

Other interviewees feel that it is likely that worship occurred on Mauna Kea.

All interviewees attributed spirituality and healing qualities to being on Mauna Kea; and several stated that they still go to Mauna Kea for prayer and restoration.

Pua Kanaka‘ole-Kanahele provides readers with detailed narratives of the spiritual significance of Mauna Kea, the Mountain of W‚kea in Hawaiian traditions of creation. She observes that Mauna Kea is considered to be kupuna (elder), the first born, and is held in high esteem. In native traditions, Mauna Kea is identified as "Ka mauna a W‚kea" (The Mountain of W‚kea-traditional god and father of Hawai‘i-who’s name is also written "Kea"). There are many mele ali‘i (chiefly chants) that identify Mauna Kea as foremost in the genealogies of the ali‘i. Mauna Kea is the source of a high sense of spirituality. It is the ‘aha ho‘owili mo‘o (genealogical cord that ties earth to the heavens). (MKAC meeting Dec. 1, 1998 and interview of December 11, 1998)

Alika Lancaster and Hannah Kihalani Springer described their on-going customs of travel to Mauna Kea to worship and pray.

Consultation Records (see Appendices B & C)

Many individuals who were contacted about Mauna Kea report being told by their elders that worship occurred on Mauna Kea-with practices occurring at specific sites and other areas as the spirit moved them.

Emma Kauhi, Pua Kanaka‘ole-Kanahele, Larry Kauanoe Kimura, and Leina‘ala Teves, all described Mauna Kea as a sacred and spiritual place.

Kealoha Pisciotta, Maile Akimseu, Leina‘ala McCord, Ed Stevens, Reynolds Kamakawiwo‘ole, and Kaliko Kanaele offer personal knowledge of ahu (altars) and the on-going practices of worship on Mauna Kea, including worship at specific sites or features.

Trails and Access

In the period leading up to the mid 1800s, travel to Mauna Kea was done on foot, along a system of trails that crossed the mountain. By the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, those trails were often traveled on horseback, and while fewer of the trails were used, travel still generally occurred on traditional trails. The trails of Mauna Kea are unique features that linked communities and cultural and natural resources together. To reach the summit, people departed the near-shore and plains lands, and traveled the mountain slopes to the summit region. Thus, the signature or evidence of visitation and site use from pre-contact and through the historic periods, has been recorded across the mountain. Family traditions pertaining to journeys on the mountain trails, and knowledge of Mauna Kea-handed down by elders-are still retained as important family history today. A number of the interview participants still travel to Mauna Kea for spiritual well-being and recreational opportunities.

Interview Participants

Interviews with James K. Lindsey, Johnny Ah San, Theodore Bell, Sonny and Daniel Kaniho, Alika and Anita Lancaster, Albert K. Haa Sr. (and Jr.), Lloyd Case, and Irene Lindsey-Fergerstrom (with Romona Fergerstrom-Kalalau and relatives of the Lindsey-Kealamakia line) provide descriptions of trail systems that approach the summit of Mauna Kea from all sides of the mountain. Several of these trails were still traveled by the interviewees in their youth, or were described by their elders who still used the trails through the 1930s. Two of the trails, the Makah‚lau-Kemole-Waiau Trail, Waiki‘i-Pu‘u L‚‘au-Waiau Trail (see interviews with Kahalelaum‚mane Lindsey and Theodore Bell Sr.) are generally unknown to most people today. Another important trail described in the interviews is the Laup‚hoehoe-Waipunalei-Keanakolu Trail to the summit of Mauna Kea (see the interview with Johnny Ah San).

Of particular interest to the history of trail use is the fact that many of the trails converge at Waiau (reference interviews cited above). The trails ascend the slopes of Mauna Kea from nearly all the major, and many smaller ahupua‘a which lie upon Mauna Kea. Testimonies gathered by the Commission on Boundaries from native informants in the 1870s (see excerpts in Appendix D), describe ahupua‘a-specific rights of use and collection of resources on the summit and slope regions of Mauna Kea. However, the number of trails leading up the mountain indicate that people from various regions of the island had reasons to visit Mauna Kea as well.

Irene Lindsey-Fergerstrom (with Romona Fergerstrom-Kalalau and relatives of the Lindsey-Kealamakia line, including elders recorded in 1966 & 1967) share family traditions of travel along the trails of Mauna Kea. They also shared accounts of a visit made by Queen Emma to Mauna Kea in ca. 1881. The Queen was led by William Seymour Lindsey, and as a result of his help to her, the Queen named one of the Lindsey children "Ka-hale-lau-m‚mane" (The house made of m‚mane leaves.) The name commemorates an event that occurred on the ascent to Mauna Kea.

Albert K. Haa Sr. (and Jr.), Alika and Anita Lancaster, and Lloyd Case, shared information that their elders traveled the Mauna Kea trails to worship in the summit region and gather water from Waiau. The water was used for healing and ceremonial practices.

Theodore Bell, Sonny and Daniel Kaniho, Tita Spielman (with JK), Albert K. Haa Sr. (and Jr.), and Alika Lancaster, provide information they learned from their elders about travel to Mauna Kea to procure stone for adze making, which occurred in ancient times.

Johnny Ah San also recalls information about the practice as he learned of it from old native informants.

Toshi Imoto, Tita Spielman (with JK), Daniel Kaniho, Johnny Ah San, and Lloyd Case provide information about the use of the Mauna Kea-Humu‘ula Trail (later the Mauna Kea Road) for the purpose of taking individuals ash remains to the summit of Mauna Kea for release.

Martin Pence, Johnny Ah San, Sonny and Daniel Kaniho, Theodore Bell, Toshi Imoto, Albert K. Haa Sr. (and Jr.), Alika Lancaster, Pete L‘Orange, and Lloyd Case provide detailed discussion of their own use of trails on Mauna Kea. Use was primarily associated with Territorial Forestry operations, ranching, hunting, and recreational activities.

Access - many of the interviewees express various concerns about access to Mauna Kea. Most believe that the rights of access by native Hawaiians must be protected. But several interviewees express concerns about unmonitored and uninformed access. Nearly all interviewees believe that everyone who visits Mauna Kea needs to have information that can help them be responsible for their actions on Mauna Kea. See interviews with Tita Spielman (with JK), Albert K. Haa Sr. (and Jr.), Pete L‘Orange, Hannah Kihalani Springer, Lloyd Case, Pua Kanaka‘ole-Kanahele and members of the Lindsey family.

Consultation Records (see Appendices B & C)

William Akau, a Kawaihae native, learned from his elders of the traditional use of a Mauna Kea trail. The trail was situated on the north-western slope of the mountain, and reached by individuals from other islands, who landed their canoes in the KÓholo vicinity and went to Mauna Kea to gather adze making stones from the summit region.

John Hale and Gabriel Kealoha, native residents of the Puna District, learned from their elders that families of Puna traveled to the upland koa forests on Mauna Kea and made canoes there. They then returned to the shore with the canoes, and traveled back to Puna by sea.

Ed Stevens describes the use of trails (‘Umikoa and Waipunalei) by priests traveling to Mauna Kea for ceremonies.

Maile Akimseu testified that her kŻpuna walked the trails on Mauna Kea (noting that part of her genealogy ties back to ‘Umi-a-LÓloa; with whom the ‘Umikoa-Mauna Kea Trail is associated).

Burial Practices and Sites

All of the interviewees who were asked about their feelings of the treatment of ilina (burial sites), expressed their desire that ilina be protected in place. While none of the interviewees reported knowing of specific locations of burials in the immediate area of the Mauna Kea summit, many spoke of ilina in cinder cones, and other natural features in the region extending from about the 12,000 to 7,000 foot elevation. The presence of burials on Mauna Kea, ranging from the summit region to the forest zone was recorded as early as 1873 in testimonies before the Boundary Commission, with subsequent documentation in the 1880s and 1890s by surveyors and historic visitors (see historical documentation in Appendix D). Knowledge of the occurrence of burials on Mauna Kea has been handed down through present times.

Interview Participants

Alika and Anita Lancaster, Sonny and Daniel Kaniho, Albert K. Haa Sr. (and Jr.), Lloyd Case, and Irene Lindsey-Fergerstrom (with Romona Fergerstrom-Kalalau and relatives of the Lindsey-Kealamakia line) shared their understanding that the individuals buried on Mauna Kea were of an elite class, and considered sacred.

Alika Lancaster further records learning from his elders that all the high mountain pu‘u contain ilina (burials).

Johnny Ah San, Sonny and Daniel Kaniho, Alika Lancaster, and Lloyd Case share first hand knowledge of the presence of ilina at several of the pu‘u on Mauna Kea, including but not limited to-M‚kanaka, KaupŰ, Pu‘u Loa, Kanakaleonui, Keanakolu, Pu‘u Kihe, Pu‘u K‚lepa, Pu‘u Mali, and Kemole.

A Bishop Museum Photograph (No. CP 14970) discussed in the interviews with Sonny and Daniel Kaniho, and Johnny Ah San, shows Lester Bryan and Willie Kaniho sitting outside of a small cave identified as a burial site by H. Gregory (BPBM Field Notes and Photograph; July 24, 1926)

Albert K. Haa Sr. (and Jr.), and Pete L‘Orange have heard of the presence of ilina on Mauna Kea from elders.

Albert K. Haa Sr. (with his son), expressed the thought that his great grandmother (the wife of Ioane) was buried somewhere on Mauna Kea.

Tita Spielman (with JK), Toshi Imoto, Johnny Ah San, Sonny and Daniel Kaniho, Theodore Bell, and Lloyd Case stated that since 1954 several family members or close friends of theirs have had their cremated remains taken to the summit of Mauna Kea for release.

The ashes of Tita Ruddle-Spielman’s grandfather (Eben Low) and her mother and father (Annabelle and Albert Ruddle), were taken to the summit of Mauna Kea to be released. Tita (with JK) stated that until a few years ago she was going to have her ashes taken there as well. But because of the amount of development on the summit, Tita changed her plans and so notified her children.

While cremation of remains is not a traditional Hawaiian practice, the practice of taking loved one’s remains to special landscapes-considered to be the realm of the gods-is an ancient Hawaiian custom. Today, the burial of family remains at a place such as one of the pu‘u of Mauna Kea may not feasible. Yet the depth of and on-going cultural attachment to landscape remains strong. Thus, the traditional practice of interment in special landscapes has been adapted to allow for its continuation (see also the interview with Pua Kanaka‘ole-Kanahele for further discussion on the cultural significance of this practice).

Johnny Ah San and Theodore Bell have it written in their wills that upon their passing away their ashes are to be taken to Kalua Kauka and Pu‘u N‚n‚ (respectively), on the slopes of Mauna Kea.

All interviewees who were asked (16 out of 19) specifically stated that burial remains should be protected in place, and that present activities in the vicinity of the sites should be relocated, or if in the future tense, planned actions should be relocated.

Both Teddy Bell and Alika Lancaster worked on the original road and telescope pads in the mid 1960s, early 1970s. They stated that during that time, they did not see, or hear of burial sites being disturbed as a part of construction activities.

Consultation Records (see Appendices B & C)

Leina‘ala McCord, Maile Akimseu, Ed Stevens, Iopa Maunakea, and Kealoha Pisciotta recounted hearing from elders that the individuals buried atop Mauna Kea were sacred personages, possibly even the progenitors of the Hawaiian race.

Iopa Maunakea’s kŻpuna taught him that the reason people were buried atop Mauna Kea was because they desired to be close to Akua (God).

Maile Akimseu, Leina‘ala McCord and Kealoha Pisciotta stated that the burials sites and individuals in them were so sacred, that to speak of them outside of family members could mean death.

Maile Akimseu, Kealoha Pisciotta, and Luana Adams report that they have heard of burial sites being destroyed in the summit region as a part of observatory development.


Waiau is one of the significant features on Mauna Kea that also has an important role in the traditions of the mountain. Of particular importance in traditions and some of the oral history interviews are accounts that associate the water of Waiau with the god K‚ne and documentation that the water is important to the on-going practices of native healers and practitioners (see historical documentation in Appendix D for further details).

Interview Participants

Irene Lindsey-Fergerstrom (with Romona Fergerstrom-Kalalau and relatives of the Lindsey-Kealamakia line, including elder family members recorded in 1966 & 1967) recorded that in ca. 1881, Dowager Queen Emma ascended Mauna Kea on a journey of spiritual and physical well-being. On that visit, one of the Queen’s primary desires was to swim across the waters of Waiau, which she did with the help of William Seymour Lindsey and Waiau Lima who accompanied her on the journey.

Traditions passed down through descendents of the Lindsey family also describe that it has been the custom of their family to take the piko (umbilical cords) of children born in the family to Waiau and the summit peak of Mauna Kea (see interviews with the above family members and consultation records with Larry Kauanoe Kimura).

Pua Kanaka‘ole-Kanahele described the waters of Waiau as the most spiritually and culturally significant in all the islands.

Alika and Anita Lancaster and Lloyd Case stated that their elders regularly traveled to Waiau to collect water to be used for healing purposes. Lloyd Case also describes customs associated with collection of water from Waiau to be used for healing purposes.

Johnny Ah San, Theodore Bell, Tita Spielman (with JK), Toshi Imoto, Sonny and Daniel Kaniho, Coco Hind, Alika Lancaster provide descriptions of visits to Waiau in the period between 1932 to 1954.

Theodore Bell, Toshi Imoto, and Tita Spielman (with JK) describe specific features in the vicinity of Waiau.

Theodore Bell recalled that in his youth, there was an ahu near Waiau, close to the Mauna Kea-Humu‘ula Trail, in which a glass bottle was kept. In that bottle were placed papers on which the names of visitors to Mauna Kea were kept.

Toshi Imoto and Tita Spielman describe a memorial plaque which was set in place on ca. January 16, 1954, commemorating the life of Eben Low and his love for Mauna Kea.

Consultation Records

Larry Kauanoe Kimura and Pua Kanaka‘ole-Kanahele learned that the waters of Waiau are perhaps the most sacred in all Hawai‘i. The water was (and still is) collected for use in ceremonies and for healing. Kimura also stated that it is the custom of his mother’s family (descendants of Kaluna Lindsey) to have taken the piko (umbilical cords) of newborn children to be placed in Waiau. (MKAC meeting Dec. 1, 1998)

Barbara (Ka‘apuni) Phillips-Robertson (daughter of Kalani Ka‘apuni-Phillips, interviewed by Kimura in 1967), noted that her mother discussed the custom of taking piko to Waiau on Mauna Kea. Her mother described it as a unique custom of the people of Waimea-there was (and remains) a strong connection between the native families of Waimea and Mauna Kea (pers comm. December 22, 1998).

As noted above, Hawaiian members of the Lindsey family have a tradition of taking the piko of their children to Waiau and the summit of Mauna Kea. This custom was first brought to the author’s attention in 1997, by aunty Emma Kauhi (a native of Kapa‘ahu, Puna), who provided the author with a historical account about Waiau, published as a part of a special insert of the Hawaii Tribune Herald. Titled "Mauna Kea (Past, Present and Future)" (January 27, 1980), one of the articles was authored by Pat McCoy (now of the DLNR-SHPD), who wrote that "there are reports of certain families depositing the umbilical cord (piko) of newborn babies in Lake Waiau at the 13,020 foot elevation" (McCoy in the Hawaii Tribune Herald, 1980:B-3). Aunty Emma found the reference very interesting, but had not personally heard of the practice (pers comm.).

On November 24, 1998, the author located a 1956 Bishop Museum interview recorded in Hawaiian by Kaleohano Kalili. Kalili documented that in the old days, people used to take "piko" (umbilical cords) of newborn children to a "punawai" (spring) on Mauna Kea; he also observed that the people who did this were worshippers of Pele (Bishop Museum audio recording, April 21, 1956 - HAW 60.1). The author subsequently translated and transcribed the Kalili interview, and learned that members of Kalili’s parent to great grandparent generation had lived on the island of Hawai‘i (at the time of the interview, Kalili was residing on O‘ahu), and many of the piko of various generations of the family had been taken to Mauna Kea. Also, while Kalili did not specifically name Waiau as the punawai, he did note that it was situated near the top of Mauna Kea (see interview transcript in Appendix A).

During several of the interviews, or in follow up discussions with several of the participants in this oral history study (i.e., Toshi Imoto, Johnny Ah San, Tita Spielman, Sonny and Daniel Kaniho, Albert Haa Sr., Alika Lancaster, and Irene Lindsey-Fergerstrom et al.), interviewees were asked if they had heard of the practice. None of the interviewees except for the Lindsey descendants had. Irene Lindsey Fergerstrom and her family have continued the customs of taking children’s piko to the summit of Mauna Kea to the present-day. The piko of mo‘opuna (grandchildren) of Mrs. Fergerstrom have been taken to Mauna Kea within the last ten years.

Others interviewees who had not heard of the practice of taking piko to Mauna Kea all felt that it was likely to have occurred, and they shared similar stories from their own families of the custom at various localities. The interviewees suggested that Lake Waiau was a likely location of such a practice as well. When asked about Kaleohano Kalili, none of the interviewees had personal knowledge of him (he was not known as a Waimea or Hilo vicinity native).

On December 1st, 1998 (following initial write up of this study), the author was given an opportunity to review his findings with members of the MKAC and the special panel that provided committee members with an overview of Hawaiian spirituality. In regards to the custom of piko being taken to Mauna Kea and Waiau, Larry K. Kimura noted that in his immediate family, this practice was still discussed and possibly occurring. His own piko, and that of other siblings was to have been taken to Waiau by his mother (pers comm. Dec. 1, 1998). At the December 1st, MKAC meeting, Larry Kimura also provided the author with audio copies of two recorded interviews he had conducted with elder family members in the 1960s. The interviews recorded the family’s traditions of William Lindsey’s having guided dowager Queen Emma and her party to Mauna Kea and Waiau in ca. 1881. As recorded in the interview with James Kahalelaum‚mane Lindsey, his name, given at the request of Queen Emma, is still carried by family members, and commemorates the journey.

Keanak‚ko‘i (or Kaluak‚ko‘i) - Adze Quarries

In 1964, the Mauna Kea Adze Quarry was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark. It is the largest prehistoric quarry in the world, extending at lease seven miles across the summit region of Mauna Kea. Many sites, including, but not limited to shrines, habitation features, and burials are associated with the adze quarries. In the period from the 1860s through the 1880s, Ka-lua-k‚-ko‘i (The adze making pit - quarry) was recorded as a name for the quarries, with a specific named location identified near the Mauna Kea-Humu‘ula Trail. By the 1890s, and subsequently through modern times, the name has been written as Ke-ana-k‚-ko‘i (The adze making cave). Traditions and historical accounts describe the protocols and customs associated with the collection of stone and manufacture of adze, which was still practiced through the early 1800s-stone adze eventually gave way to metal tools. Many of the interview participants traveled to Mauna Kea in the 1930s to 1940s with their elders, and the adze quarries were pointed out to them as being one of the significant cultural features on Mauna Kea.


Interview Participants

Johnny Ah San, Theodore Bell, Sonny and Daniel Kaniho, Coco Hind, Alika Lancaster, Tita Spielman, Lloyd Case, and Irene Lindsey-Fergerstrom (with Romona Fergerstrom-Kalalau and relatives of the Lindsey-Kealamakia line) all traveled to Mauna Kea with members of their family and visited the adze quarries. On those visits, they heard short accounts of the process of making adze on Mauna Kea, and the value of the stone to the ancient Hawaiians.

Alika Lancaster describes customs associated with collection of stone for adze making as learned from his elders.

Other interviewees also visited the quarries in the company of friends.

Johnny Ah San, Albert K. Haa Sr. (and Jr.), Hannah Kihalani Springer, Lloyd Case, and Pua Kanahele specifically express concerns about the impacts of collectors on the traditional quarry sites, and discuss possible protocols for on-going practices.

Consultation Records (Appendix B)

As noted above, under the heading of "Trails and Access," as a child, William Akau heard his elders talking about visits made by people from other islands to Hawai‘i. In ancient times, canoes would land in the KÓholo vicinity, and people walked the trails along the gentle slopes of Mauna Loa-Mauna Kea to the summit to harvest and shape stone. Mr. Akau knows the location of a stone just inland from the shore of KÓholo, that was reportedly used as a polishing stone for adze brought from Mauna Kea.


There is an ancient Hawaiian saying "Mauna Kea kuahiwi ku ha‘o i ka m‚lie" (Mauna Kea is the astonishing mountain that stands in the calm) (Pukui 1983: No. 2147), that suggests that Mauna Kea is a source of awe and inspiration for the Hawaiian people. Mauna Kea figures in a number of traditional accounts, and many of its place names are directly attributed to the interaction of gods with the land and people. The discussion under the heading of "Heiau (Ceremonial Sites) and Spiritual Significance," provides readers with an introduction to native Hawaiian beliefs surrounding the birth of the islands, and the prominence of Mauna Kea in Hawaiian genealogies-the mountain is a respected elder, a spiritual connection to one’s gods. Thus, landscape can be interpreted as a significant facet of a Hawaiian’s identity. Also, the discussions above, under the heading of Waiau, add further insight into the relationship of land to cultural practices, customs, and beliefs.

There are people today who tie the name Mauna Kea to that of the W‚kea, the forefather of the Hawaiian race and liken the mountain to one of his body forms (see the historical documentation in Appendix D for further details). Native families also retain names such as Maunakea, Poli‘ahu, Lilinoe, and Waiau, which in some cases are directly tied to the mountain landscape. All of the interview participants, regardless of cultural affiliation, expressed deeply rooted sentiments about seeing Mauna Kea. Everyone spoke of their sense of spiritual well-being in either viewing, or being on Mauna Kea. And a number of the interviewees affectionately refer to Mauna Kea as "my mountain."

During the interviews, several interviewees lamented that their parents or grandparents had passed away before an interview process was undertaken. The families recounted that their elders knew the names of every pu‘u, the trails, various sites and features, and traditions of Mauna Kea. But because of the remoteness of the summit region and historic changes in native Hawaiian land tenure and practices associated with resource usage, the interviewees noted that their primary experiences in the summit region of Mauna Kea came from infrequent visits made with elders, or later on their own. Thus, only limited site specific documentation of summit sites and place names was recorded. As a result of historic ranching, forestry, and hunting activities much of the information recorded as a part of the present oral history study pertains to the elevations below the summit and into the forest zone.

Interview Participants

All interviewees expressed a spiritual connection to Mauna Kea when viewing it from afar, or walking upon it.

∑ Pua Kanaka‘ole-Kanahele describes the summit region of Mauna Kea as a "sacred landscape." Indeed for some people it was so sacred, that there was no desire to even walk upon it. Mauna Kea - the Mountain of W‚kea and first born of Hawai‘i, is kupuna (an elder or ancestor). Just seeing Mauna Kea from afar provided Hawaiians with a sense of well-being and security. Pua states that seeing Mauna Kea today with construction upon it is hurtful and shameful.

Pua Kanahele further explained, that one did not need to physically touch the mountain to benefit from this spiritual connection. Simply looking at Mauna Kea from afar, seeing it standing there reaching to the heavens, gave the Hawaiian spiritual strength. She also stated that today, each time she looks at Mauna Kea with the observatories built upon it she feels pain, and cannot look at it because she is ashamed that she did nothing to stop the desecration of Mauna Kea.

Anita (Kamaka‘ala) Lancaster, a descendant of the Poli‘ahu line; and Lloyd Case, also tied to the Poli‘ahu line associate their lineage with features of the Mauna Kea landscape. Likewise, Alika and Anita Lancaster trace their genealogies through the line of Hawai‘i Loa-in some accounts, named as the original settler of Hawai‘i and progenitor of the Hawaiian race (see Appendix E for an overview of the Hawai‘i Loa traditions). The Lancasters and many other native Hawaiians associate a number of the natural and cultural features on the landscape of Mauna Kea with their ancestor’s activities and as repositories of their remains.

People from the eastern side of the island describe Mauna Kea’s beauty at sunrise and value the changing of the mountain’s colors. Likewise, people from the northwestern side of the island describe the mountain’s beauty and changing colors as lit in the sunset.

Tita Spielman recalled that an elder fisherman and relative of hers, always instructed her when they were out fishing from Keawaiki, to watch a pu‘u on the upper slopes of Mauna Kea for signs of shifting clouds (thought to be Ahumoa). When the clouds moved onto the pu‘u, it was time to return to the shore as the winds would rise and the ocean become rough.

Johnny Ah San, Martin Pence, Theodore Bell, Sonny and Daniel Kaniho, Tita Spielman (with JK), and Lloyd Case describe changes in vegetation on Mauna Kea in the period between 1930 to the present day.

Theodore Bell, Tita Spielman (with JK), Sonny and Danny Kaniho, Toshi Imoto, Albert K. Haa Sr. and Jr., Alika and Anita Lancaster, Coco Hind, Hannah Kihalani Springer, Lloyd Case, Pua Kanaka‘ole-Kanahele, and Irene Lindsey-Fergerstrom (with Romona Fergerstrom-Kalalau and relatives of the Lindsey-Kealamakia line) all express the sentiments that the observatories are painful to see on the landscape of the summit.

Albert K. Haa Sr. (and Jr.) specifically describe the landscape of Mauna Kea as belonging to Akua (God).

Consultation Records (see Appendices B & C)

Hannah Akau-Bowman, Sister Thelma Parrish, Wm. Billy Paris, Katherine Kahe‘e, Martha Lancaster, and Marjorie Kaholo-Kailianu (in personal communications prior to undertaking the present study); and Maile Akimseu, Luika Pereira, Arthur Mahi, Leina‘ala McCord, Kealoha Pisciotta, Abe and Reynolds Kamakawiwo‘ole, Ed Stevens, and Iopa Maunakea attribute sacredness and healing qualities to Mauna Kea.

As noted above, in the section under the heading of "Heiau (other Ceremonial Sites) and Spiritual Significance," Emma Kauhi, Pua Kanaka‘ole-Kanahele, Larry Kauanoe Kimura, and Leina‘ala Teves, ascribe spiritual-cultural significance to the landscape of Mauna Kea (MKAC meeting of Dec. 1, 1998).

Larry K. Kimura also noted that it was the tradition of the old agricultural families of the Waimea-Kohala region (and still practiced today among ranchers and others), to discern the nature of the upcoming growing season by the amount of snow fall seen upon Mauna Kea. Viewing heavy snow fall on the mountain prior to what we now call the New Year, indicated that there would be good rainfall in the coming season. The rains would in turn bring life to the crops in the spring. (MKAC meeting Dec. 1, 1998)

Leina‘ala McCord stated her line descended from Poli‘ahu; and Ed Stevens and Kealoha Pisciotta trace their lines through the Hawai‘i Loa genealogy and thus state that they share a familial relationship with named features of the Mauna Kea landscape (see interviews with Alika and Anita Lancaster and Pualani Kanaka‘ole Kanahele, and Appendix E for an over view of the Hawai‘i Loa traditions).

Some of the individuals cited in the above paragraphs likened natural phenomena such as cloud formations to omens of coming events or natures way of lamenting the passing of an individual of high rank.

All of the individuals cited above, express strong sentiments about the impacts of observatory development on the landscape of Mauna Kea.


Sixteen of the interviewees expressed the opinion that the proposed development of additional observatory complexes on Mauna Kea was inappropriate and not acceptable. Two of the interviewees expressed hesitancy at further development-based on a deep respect for Mauna Kea. One interviewee felt that the benefits of the work done by the observatories far out weighed other concerns, and that the research conducted on Mauna Kea provided important knowledge to all mankind.

Thus, nearly all the interviewees and all others who participated in the consultation process (Appendices B and C) called for a moratorium on any further development on the summit of Mauna Kea. In Appendix B, it will be noted that on November 14th, 1998, the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs (AHCC) voted in support of and passed the Hawai‘i Island Caucus’ Resolution No. 98-16, calling for a moratorium on further construction on Mauna Kea (Appendix B).

On October 27th, 1998, Mililani B. Trask, Kia‘‚ina of Ka L‚hui Hawai‘i submitted a packet of documentation to Kenneth Mortimer, President, University of Hawaii, the Mauna Kea Advisory Committee (and other organizations), which included communications from several agencies, public organizations, and individuals documenting both cultural and natural resources on Mauna Kea (see communications in materials present by Group 70 International). The communication set forth nine recommendations regarding protection and use of Mauna Kea. Recommendation # 5 observed that "future development of astronomy on Mauna Kea should not occur." (Trask to Mortimer et al. Oct. 27, 1998:9 # 5)

As a part of the work undertaken as a part of this study, a letter was sent to Hui M‚lama i N‚ KŻpuna o Hawai‘i Nei on October 6th, 1998 (Appendix B). While no answer was received, Pua Kanaka‘ole Kanahele, one of the founding members of this nationally recognized Native Hawaiian organization did participate in the oral history interview program (see also Appendix D for an overview of historical information compiled by Pualani Kanahele regarding Mauna Kea). Also, on October 6th and November 18th, 1998, letters were sent to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA)-with telephone conversations in between-requesting that OHA consider submitting comments to this study (Appendix B). While no answer was received, it is noted that Trustee Springer participated in the interview program (as a kama‘‚ina - native practitioner), and that Mililani Trask (recently elected as a Trustee of OHA) has for years, taken an active role in the issues on Mauna Kea.

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