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OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Office of Hawaiian Affairs announces name for Kakaʻako Makai property

HONOLULU (Nov 11, 2022) – Today the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) announced that internationally recognized Native Hawaiian cultural practitioner, genealogist, historian and loea hula, Kumu Cy Bridges, has thoughtfully selected a name for OHA’s 30-acre Kakaʻako Makai property. That name: Hakuone, will represent the history and cultural significance of the area.

Bridges worked at the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) for 46 years starting as a guide and dancer. Through the years he climbed the ranks to vice president of cultural presentations, which was the largest division at PCC, including several departments with over 400 employees. He retired from PCC in 2014. A renowned chanter, the Hau‘ula, Ko‘olauloa native is a founding board member of the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association, and advises the Department of Land and Natural Resources on sacred and historic sites. Bridges has served on the Cultural Advisory Committee for the Hawaiʻi Visitors and Convention Bureau, as well as, the University of Hawaiʻi School of Travel Industry Management.

The ʻĀina

In 2012, 30 acres of land south of Ala Moana Boulevard were transferred from the State of Hawai‘i to OHA as a settlement for back-rent for its use of ceded lands. These 30 acres represent 14 percent of the total land area that make up Kakaʻako Makai.

The properties ceased to be public lands when they were transferred to OHA’s ownership. Once developed, Hakuone has the potential to generate millions of dollars for OHA to put into community-based programs to benefit Native Hawaiians. Over the course of the next few months, OHA plans to conduct a robust community outreach strategy to determine the best uses of the 30 acres for the betterment of its beneficiaries. OHA seeks to steward these lands in a way that fulfills its kuleana while honoring the wahi pana.

Historically, this area was well known for brackish marshes, fresh water springs, poho pa‘akai (salt pans), and small loko i‘a (fish ponds). As Oʻahu urbanized in the early and mid-nineteenth century, activities in Kakaʻako transitioned from salt-making and fishing to large industrial complexes. Dredging and infilling turned the once productive wetlands into a dumping ground. OHA seeks to bring a greater sense of Hawaiʻi back to Kakaʻako by growing the culture and the language and increasing opportunities for the lāhui.

The Pelekānia

After careful thought and deliberation, these 30 acres will now be referred to as Hakuone.

“Hakuone is defined as a small division of land that was cared for or cultivated for the aliʻi. Both aliʻi and kahuna maintained residences at Kakaʻako when it was a well-known fishing grounds,” Bridges said, explaining the significance of the place name.

“ ‘Haku’ means to compose, create, invent, put in order, arrange; to braid, such as a haku lei, with flowers, leaves, shells or feathers, as well as haku mele to compose a song or chant.

‘One’ means sand, or land of my birth. The Sands of Kakuhihewa are the most celebrated aliʻi of Oʻahu. The word is also tied to hoʻōne which is the pumice stone that is used by Hawaiians to smooth out their final artwork from ‘umeke (calabashes) and canoes. Poetically, it’s used to indicate smoothing out situations within the ʻahahui (society).

As a name, Hakuone recognizes the kūpuna, the kumu, beginning, source, foundation, reason and teacher of who we are as a native people,” Bridges said.

The Future

Hakuone is a kīpuka (cultural oasis) where Hawaiian national identity can flourish in a community that embraces the live, work, play ideal. It also supports a hālau ola (center of life and healing) that invests in native intellectual capital and innovation. OHA seeks to balance commerce and culture to ensure the land will generate important revenues for the betterment of Native Hawaiians, but also creates a Hawaiian sense of place.

Currently at Hakuone, you can visit the food truck park, open daily except Mondays, or attend one of many fun events planned in the coming months such as What the Truck?!, performances, markets, and more.

Upcoming events at Hakuone:

What the Truck?! – Friday, Dec. 9th at 5:00 p.m.
Kakaʻako Farmers’ Market – Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to noon

What The Truck event pic

“What The Truck?” event at Hakuone, Photo: Courtesy

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