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Kahalu'u Lo'i 2022 Progress Report

Updated: Jan 12, 2023

Aloha Kākou! Welcome to our first "blog" post. We are trying a new method of sharing information with our neighbors and broader community in hopes to keep everyone informed and updated on our progress. Below is a summary of work done at the Kahalu'u Lo'i from 2022. Please check back regularly for more updates.

The focus of this blog is to document the time contribution and physical work that has been done on site so that there is transparency and opportunity for feedback, or encouragement! This is not an all inclusive documentation of stakeholder meetings and other work that is being done behind the scenes to move the vision forward. Please contact with any questions or concerns.

1st Community Workday Volunteers (08/06/22)


July 23, 2022 - Small prep clearing for ʻĀhuimanu Elementary site visit

  • A small group of community members came to cut the grass and make a small trail for ‘Āhuimanu Elementary faculty & staff to safely enter the Kahalu’u Lo’i as part of their Nā Hopena A’o Personal Development Workshop.

  • Instagram Video - found an abundance of broken concrete, a rusted rebar anchored to concrete, & old fencing. We were able to reuse the broken concrete to outline a path and the old fencing was taken to the dump. We were not able to remove the rebar at this time and instead mitigated the hazard by wrapping it in banana stump and spray painting it red for visibility.

Aug 6, 2022 - 1st Community Work Day

Aug 20, 2022 - 2nd Community Work Day

The main focus for 1st & 2nd workdays:

Some hau was re-purposed for cultural usage (traditional implements & hau cordage was stripped - see photo below) & the rest was loaded into trucks & taken as green waste to Kapaʻa Transfer Station. Note: We hope to be able to get a wood chipper soon so that most of the greenery and wood can go right back to the place to feed the soil.

  • Removed some Shoebutton ardisia (Ardisia elliptica) with pullerbear tree puller (Info about Shoebutton ardisia)

  • Cut down 1 large Haole Koa tree (Leucaena leucocephala)

After the first 2 workdays approximately 657 sq. feet of total area was cleared of invasive vegetation. Red polygon below was created based on tracks that are being taken on the NRDS app: (more info on the app)

September 3, 2022 - 3rd Work Day

We had a total of 9 volunteers who focused on clearing ginger from the former drive way. Archaeologist, Summer Moore, filled in for our usual Archaeologist, Nick Belluzzo. We also had Tsuyuno Amos and Kenji Cataldo from Hawai'i People's Fund who stayed after the work day to record a podcast with us.

9/3/22 Before 9/3/22 After

September 17, 2022 - 4th Community Work Day

With the ginger patch cleared, we were able to see a large broken haole koa tree creating hazardous conditions. Volunteers focused on cutting the tree and removing other broken branches to mitigate hazards. Some volunteers learned how to process hau that was removed from the area for a school project. (See Instagram video here) A volunteer, Jorge Felix, was able to safely remove the rebar previously mentioned at the beginning of this blog. It was removed properly from the site.

October 1, 2022 - 5th Community Work Day

October 15, 2022 - 6th Community Work Day

Volunteers removed 1 large octopus tree, 1 haole koa, and 1 rotting Japanese Fern Tree.

On October 15, 2022, the SHPD Director of Archaeology, Susan Lebo, visited the Kahalu'u Lo'i during our work day. We were able to show her the physical progress made through our volunteer efforts, show her some of the historic site, and educate her on the history of the area.

All work days were completed without funding and only possible by the hard work and dedication of all our volunteers. Mahalo nui loa to all our volunteers in 2022! We couldn't have done it with out you all.

Below are before and after photos from community work days from August 6 - Nov 5, 2022.


After our community Town Hall meeting on March 15, 2022 it took some time before the State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD) responded to an official start date. We were required to submit a Safety and Training Plan, proof of fiscal sponsor (Pacific American Foundation) and liability insurance before any work could begin. All requirements were met and SHPD granted our organization 90 days to conduct vegetation maintenance, clearance, and out planting from August 6 - November 5, 2022.

After the SHPD Director of Archaeology visited the site on October 15, 2022, she was able to advocate to the SHPD Administrator on behalf our organization. Kaiāulu 'o Kahalu'u was granted a 2 year extension to our current agreement with an understanding that we will create our own non-profit 501(3)(c) organization and obtain our own liability insurance.

Once we have the aforementioned requirements, we can begin the process of applying for a curatorship agreement with SHPD/DLNR. The curatorship application goes through SHPD, then on to the Attorney General's Office, and once approved by those offices will go to the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) meeting for the Boards consideration. BLNR meetings are open to the public via Zoom, written testimony, telephone, or in person. For more information on BLNR meetings and how to testify, click here.


July 29, 2022 - Kaiāulu ‘o Kahalu’u Hui Members hosted the ‘Āhuimanu Elementary faculty and staff for our first site visit & workshop:

  • Met at the Kahalu’u Lo’i for a quick introduction to the space and our vision for the future

  • Then we all headed back to school to share mo’olelo and old maps of the community to strengthen their connection to place

  • Ended with a workshop on methods to de-construct and learn from moʻolelo/kaʻao (stories of place)

  • We hope to maintain a close relationship with ʻĀhuimanu Elementary to help educate the children of this community about the special place in their backyard, and to hopefully bring keiki one day to the Loʻi

RESTORATION- Restore native vegetation through out planting, seed scattering, and promoting natural regeneration.

November 5, 2022 - Last Community Work Day (under SHPD 90 day agreement)

Volunteers planted palapalai, pōhinahina, wiliwili, kupukupu, green & red ti leaves, and ma'o hau hele (our state flower). Check out our Instagram reels for more information on wiliwili and ma'o hau hele.

OTHER OBSERVATIONS/DOCUMENTATION- Opportunity to note any kilo (observation data) to document.

  • Kōlea(native indigenous) birds arrived earlier than usual in early/mid August (Info about Kōlea)

  • Our professional archaeologist on site at our workdays documented a portion of the ancient rock wall right outside our boundary of where we were clearing. We left the area untouched and noted the location of the wall leaving it undisturbed.

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