Ahupuaʻa ʻo Kahana
Kapaʻeleʻele Koʻa Trail
Guide to Kapaʻeleʻele Koʻa Trail at Ahupuaʻa ʻo Kahana State Park in Hawaii. Published by Hawaii State Parks.
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NOTES ON THE PLANT IDENTIFICATION Several plant species are identified along the trail route. These plants are not all native, but there are examples of endemic species (found only in Hawaii), indigenous species (native to Hawaii but also found elsewhere), Polynesian introduced species (brought by the original Hawaiian settlers over a thousand years ago), and alien species (recent introductions brought intentionally or accidentally following western contact in 1778). Polynesian-Introduced Species: Ki (ti). A very important plant to Hawaiians, ti leaves have widespread uses, including house thatching, cooking, clothing, fishing, lei making, and ritual uses. ki Noni. This bark and trunk of this tree was used by Hawaiians for dyes, and the fruit and leaves have a variety of medicinal uses. Endemic Species: ‘Akia. Hawaiians pounded the poisonous bark of this shrub into a powder. When placed in a pool , fish would be stunnedand could then be easily collected. Kauna‘oa. The stems of this low-growing leafless vine were used in lei making. Indigenous Species: Hau. The wood of this low, twisting tree is very buoyant, and was used by Hawaiians for canoe outriggers and fishing net floats. The bark was made into ropes and cordage. Hala. This small tree hala has long, sharp leaves and fruits resembling pineapples. The leaves were woven into floor mats, baskets, pillows and fans. The dried small pieces of the fruit were used as brushes to decorate kapa (barkcloth). Laua‘e. This creeping fern has shiny, dark-green fronds. This plant was used to scent dyes which decorated kapa. noni Alien Species: Guava. Introduced to Hawaii in the early 19th STATE OF HAWAIçI KAPA‘ELE‘ELE KO‘A & KEANIANI KILO TRAIL century as a cultivated plant, the fruit is made into paste, jams, preserves and juice. Guavas reproduce prolifically, their seeds being spread by pigs, cows and birds. Octopus-tree. This ornamental tree was introduced to Hawaii about 1900 and has rapidly spread in the wild. It reproduces quickly and has colonized large lowland areas, crowding out native species. State of Hawaiçi Department of Land & Natural Resources DIVISION OF STATE PARKS Ahupuaça çO Kahana State Park (808) 237-7766 AHUPUA‘A ‘O KAHANA STATE PARK Kahana, O‘ahu KO‘A & KILO TRAIL This trail consists of a 1.2 mile loop along the western side of the mouth of Kahana Valley. Allow about an hour for the hike. The trail originates at the park Orientation Center and climbs a gradual slope to an elevation of 150 feet. The first part of the trail follows the route of the former “Ko‘olau Railway” which hauled sugar cane grown in Kahana to the Kahuku sugar mill in the late 1800s. Kahana was the southern terminus of the railroad. This trail offers stunning views of Kahana Bay and passes two important cultural sites, Kapa‘ele‘ele Ko‘a (fishing shrine) and Keaniani Kilo (lookout). Look for plant identification signs along the path. Akule KAPA‘ELE‘ELE KO‘A A ko‘a is a shrine dedicated to fishing. Hawaiians made offerings here to ensure bountiful harvests of the akule fish (Bigeye scad). The offering might include the first fish caught. The akule is an important food fish that formerly schooled in Kahana Bay in large numbers. This ko‘a is a rectangular alignment of boulders that is open toward the sea. The name Kapa‘ele‘ele literally means “black cloth”. Kapa is Hawaiian cloth made from the bark of the wauke tree (paper mulberry). The name of the ko‘a may be a reference to a god or a specific ritual associated with offerings given here. The site has deteriorated over time, and we ask that you help us to preserve the site by remaining on the trail and not entering the shrine. Please do not disturb the stones or leave rock wrapped in ti leaves. This is not an appropriate offering. KEANIANI KILO This spot served as a lookout (kilo) for fishermen. From here, the kilo i‘a (fish watcher) could spy schools of akule fish which would sparkle as the sun reflected off of them like a mirror (aniani). He would then direct a group of waiting fishermen in canoes via a set of signals using a pole with a flag of white kapa. The fishermen would then surround the school of fish with their nets, and villagers of all ages would gather on the shore to hukilau (pull in the nets). The catch was then divided equally between all participants. Additionally, a malihini (guest) share was set aside for any passers by or visitors who were watching, an early example of what is today known as the “Aloha spirit.” A second kilo was located at about the same elevation on the opposite side of the bay. The time of day determined which lookout was used, taking advantage of the sun’s position.