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Group continuing mission to restore, maintain Ahuena Heiau

Ahuena Heiau (Hawaii 24/7 photo courtesy of Amy Young)

MEDIA RELEASE

Ahuena Heiau Inc. is seeking the community’s support to help gather another 100,000 yellow or brown ti leaves to refurbish the revered heiau in Kailua, Kona.

“The community-based group Ahuena Heiau Inc. was formed in 1993 to permanently guide the restoration and maintenance of this historic treasure. We continue to gather, prepare and install materials at Ahuena Heiau but we need all of the community’s kokua to gather another 100,000 ti leaves,” Ahuena Heiau Board Chairman Tom Hickcox said.

Yellow or brown ti leaves may be dropped off daily between now and Sunday, June 6 at King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel. Go to the hotel’s security guard shack at the entrance to the parking lot for instructions on where to drop off the ti leaves.

Those wishing to volunteer to prepare the ti leaves may call Kalei Villacorte at 331-6339 for specific dates and times.

Ahuena Heiau Inc. continues to partner with the Royal Order of Kamehameha I Moku o Kona, has a working relationship with Bishop Museum and consults with founding committee member Herb Kane.

Ongoing initiatives include an annual maintenance schedule, engaging the community in the heiau’s preservation, maintenance and education programs, fundraising and addressing long-term needs.

Since its inception, Ahuena Heiau Inc. has functioned independently and has never been affiliated with any other organization. Its mission is clear and the organization has a sole purpose — to preserve, protect and maintain this treasured site. Ahuena Heiau Inc. has no other mission, purpose or agenda.

The restored Ahuena Heiau is the religious temple that served King Kamehameha the Great when he returned to the island of Hawaii in 1812. The center of political power in the Hawaiian kingdom during Kamehameha’s golden years, his highest advisors gathered at the heiau each night.

Three momentous events occurred here which established Ahuena Heiau as the most historically significant site in Hawaii.

* In the early morning hours of May 8, 1819, King Kamehameha I died here.

* A few months after the death of his father, in a time of political consternation and the threat of civil war, Liholiho (Kamehameha II) broke the ancient kapu system, a highly defined regime of taboos that provided the framework of the traditional Hawaiian government.

* The first Christian missionaries from New England were granted permission April 4, 1820 to come ashore here.

Not until the mid-1970s, over 150 years after these historical events unfolded, was an accurate restoration project undertaken. A community-based committee, Ahuena Heiau Inc., formed in 1993 to permanently guide the restoration and maintenance of this national treasure.

For further information, call 329-2911 ext. 6970

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