Lucy Wright Park (TMK: 1-6-06) is a 4.48 acres park in the town of Waimea. The park is named after Lucy Wright, a prominent member of the Waimea community and the first native Hawaiian schoolteacher. The Waimea River is 12.1 miles (19.5 km) in length, one of the longest rivers in the Hawaiian Islands.

Lucy Wright Park is located in the lands called Panaʻewa, in the ʻili of Peʻekauaʻi, ahupuaʻa of Waimea, and the moku of Kona. The park sits at the mouth of Waimea bay, historically known as Laʻauokalā.

Certificate of Boundaries No. 28

The south east corner of this land commences at the mouth of the Waimea River on its eastern bank, and thence runs s.w. along the sea shore to Laeokokole. Thence continuing along beach to Kawaiuli. Thence to Palaeholani. Thence along shore to Moelaoa. Thence along shore to Nohili in Mana (Sounding Sands). Thence continuing along beach to Kapuai. Thence along beach to Polihale. Here ends the sand beach and begins the rocky coast and palis. Thence along the rocky coast to point at Milolii. Thence past Alapii point by Nualolo to point w.e of Nuololo bay and called Puawaawa, the n.w. corner of this land and s.w. corner of Wawapuhi, a government land. From this point the boundary runs up face of pali to peak and continuing along the ridge to Pohakuwaawaa, a large and peculiarly shaped stone on the east brow of Kaumuohua ridge. From this stone the boundary follows the watershed of the Kaumuohua ridge through forest land and long the tops of pali overlooking Kalalau to the top of a high noted peak called Puupehea, the s.e. corner of Kalalau and s.w. corner of Pohakuau. Then the boundary continues along watershed of mountain range bounded on the east by the land of Wainiha to where it joins the land of Makaweli at a place called Kapoki, the n.e. corner of this land and s.w. corner of Wainiha.

The eastern boundary of this land runs from place of commencement along the land of Makaweli up the eastern bank of the Waimea river to opposite the junction of the Waimea and Makaweli rivers. Thence up along east hand of river to stones. Thence to causeway and up to cliff above Makaweli valley. Thence up ridge and cactus bushes. Thence up ridge to top of Nahaleako. Then to Kalehuahakihaki, the norwest corner of Makaweli. Thence following in an easterly direction the watershed of the ridge Kapoki, the east corner of this land and junction with the n.e. boundary.


Lit: none.
Land area on the west side of the Waimea river mouth.


Lit: The famous waters
Waimea river from the junction of the Waimea and Makaweli to the sea. [Kaohe]



Lit: Hidden Kaua’i
[3309] [3587, 6752] [5496] [6267, 6378] [6268] [6271] [6308] [3590 et al]

‘Au kī

Lit: Stem of a ti plant
Mo‘o Borders the south edge of Pu‘ukāpele. Hulu-moa is to the east and Ka-hau is south.  [7672] [3353] [6755] [7672]


Lit: Standing voice
Lo‘i. A leokū is a song sung to an audience. [7672]


Lit: Kava
Mo‘o Borders Auki. Mauka of Na-mo’o-’eha. [7672] [mo’o 1976] [3587, 6752] [3353] [6334] [7672]


Lit: none.
Lo‘i. Possible meanings: 1. Dog’s bark, 2. A small shellfish strung in leis, 3. Sandalwood, 4. Name for sacrificial places near fishponds where semiannual offerings were made, as of taro, bananas, mullet, kohekohe sedge, and black pigs. 5. Name of a sea breeze, esp., off Honolulu. [7672]


Lit: Petrel snaring
‘Auwai feeding the mo’o of Awa.


Lit: Red water
An ahupua’a of the Kona district. [Geo] [PEM]

Waimea was the largest ahupua’a on Kaua’i, almost 93,000 acres in all. It included much of what we call Waimea Canyon and Koke’e today.

On the eastern bank, the boundary begins at the mouth of the river. The boundary line follows the low cliff until it reaches the junction with Makaweli river. There the boundary crosses the Waimea river, goes upstream a little, then re-crosses the river to climb up the ridge to Kane-kula. Kane-kula means Dry-land-man, named possibly after an expert in dry land farming of yams, sweet potatoes, and certain kinds of taro.

This east boundary is shared with the ahupuaʻa of Makaweli to the peak named Ka-lehua-hakihaki. This 3724 foot peak is often mentioned in Kaua’i mele. A warrior broke this tree apart to make his warclub from the wood. The splintered trees continued to grow.

The boundary now runs over and through part of the Alaka’i swamp until the Ka-unu-o-Hua ridge. Here, just above Kanaloa-huluhulu where the Koke’e Museum is, is a furrowed rock, Pōhaku wa’awa’a. Its name means furrowed, or full of grooves. It also refers to a person whose back bulges with muscles but is a stupid fool. This rock was the boundary point for four ahupuaʻa: Waimea, Kalalau, ʻAwaʻawapuhi and Nualolo.

From Pōhaku wa’awa’a, the boundary line continues along the top of Ka-unu-o-Hua ridge, with the edge of the canyon on the east and the watershed for the ridges above Mānā on the west.

Puʻukāpele is the highest point on the canyon’s edge and was the home of the specialists in canoe making. It was in the forest area where koa trees grow and these were carefully tended so that the trunks would be straight, branchless and as much as 80 feet tall. The original name means Distended-hill, like a pooched-out stomach. The meaning of Hill-of-Pele, Puʻukāpele, came much later for Puʻukāpele is named in the earliest legends almost eight hundred years before Pele came to Kaua’i.

After Puʻukāpele, the boundary is shared with the ahupua’a of Pokiʻikauna whose principal village was tucked up against the cliffs behind present-day Kekaha. Poki’ikauna means the chant belonging to a younger sister.

The ahupuaʻa also included off-shore fishing grounds and the surf for the sport called heʻe nalu, sliding the waves. [appeared in the Garden Island, April 22, 1990]

Waimea is a land of firsts. It was the first land settled by people who, it is thought, came from the Tahiti area. These settlers were led by Kūalunuikiniakua. With him was a high priest named Piʻi who brought the taro known as piʻI aliʻi with him. Also with these settlers came the Menehune, who were a group of skilled workers, experts in stonework, canoe building, and the like. They were not the little brownies or leprechauns or what have you that nineteenth century Europeans brought with them. By looking very carefully at the few stones visible of the Menehune Ditch, it is evident that never again were the Hawaiians capable of doing such work.

Under Kūalu’s grandson Ola, the island was explored and many of our present place names date from that time of discovery.

Waimea was an ideal place for settlement. There was abundant water. The climate was warm and relatively dry, useful to a people who wore few clothes of beaten bark, which held together well when dry but disintegrated quickly when wet. Taro could be grown. Captain Cook speaks of yams and sweet potatoes reaching fourteen pounds or more. Fish was abundant, and the early settlers brought pigs and dogs for meat, kukui for its nuts, ti for its many uses, and bananas, coconuts, and breadfruit.

Waimea is where Captain Cook first landed in the Hawaiian Islands. It is where the first Hawaiian was shot in a scuffle with Cook’s marines on Ke-one-luhi. It is where the first of the European diseases was introduced which in the next few decades would reduce the native population by more than half.

Waimea is where Kaumualiʻi, the last king of Kauaʻi, welcomed King Liholiho, son of Kamehameha who had been unable to conquer this island. Liholiho invited Kaumualiʻi on board his ship, The Pride of Hawaii, for dinner and during the meal Liholiho ordered the sails raised. Kaumualiʻi never returned to his island and was forced to cede his lands to Liholiho.

After Kaumualiʻi died in 1824, his son George Humehume rebelled against the Kamehameha family. He attacked the Fort at Hipo but in the battle Humehume was defeated. The Kamehameha forces killed every chief who had fought with Humehume and many of their wives and children. Those chiefs who had gone to Kaumualiʻi’s funeral which was held on Maui were never permitted to return to Kaua’i and the lands were taken over by Liholiho, Kaʻahumanu, and other members of that family.

The Waimea is the third longest river on Kauaʻi, after Wainiha and Wailua. It was the center of the ahupua’a, the ancient land division that stretched from Pōhakuwa’awa’a, Furrowed-rock, in the mountains down to the sea.

It was a heavily populated area, and there are still house sites, taro patch walls and ruins of temples all along the Waimea nd its tributaries.

Wai-mea means red-stream. After a storm, the water in the river runs red but the water down Makaweli (which joins the Waimea just above today’s town) runs white. When the two streams join, the water remains red on one side and white on the other. The red side was called Kawaiʻulaʻiliahi, The water that turns the skin fiery red.

The river runs red, the legend goes, because a man named Mano wanted to marry Kōmaliu, daughter of the chief. She did not like Mano and refused to have anything to do with him. One night he kidnapped her and took her to his home, which was a cave behind a waterfall. Here he demanded that she marry him and once again she refused. He hit her with his war club and she fell dead. The blood from her wound flowed across the floor of the cave and into the waterfall and was carried downstream to the village near the sea. Her death was avenged yet the river runs red in her memory.

Waimea River was famous for its hinana, the spawn of the ʻoʻopu, a goby fish. During the season when these fish swim down river to the sea, they were so thick in the water that they touched the skin of anyone entering the water.

Waimea is also the Kaua’i name for a kind of mamaki, a native tree that was often used to make tapa. It had leaves with red veins and stems. Tapa made of waimea was coarse and heavy compared to the tapa made from wauke, the mulberry tree. It was durable if kept dry, but tore like paper when wet. [appeared June 25, 1989 in The Garden Island]

Waimea is also a species of tree, the same as olomea. [And]

There are extensive taro fields on both sides of the river. This is one of the most populated of ancient villages. Along the base of the bluffs on both sides of the river after getting up past the branch of the Makaweli and Waimea rivers, there are built up stone house sites. In some places these facings run for over 100 feet along the base of the bluff with the paving extending back 15 feet or more. At other places the terrace is just sufficient to maintain one house. On the east side of the river on the steep talus slopes, there are house sites with terraces as high as 8 feet to maintain a level platform for a house. [Ben 25,33,27]

Hinana were a small ‘o’opu (1 or 2 inches in length) that only grew in the Waimea river and is different than the nopili. [G. Christian]

PE says the hinana were the young of ‘o’opu and were formerly caught in nets and greatly relished. [PE iii]

Ka iʻa ho’opā ‘ili kanaka o Waimea,
The fish of Waimea that touch the skins of people.

When it was the season for hinana, the spawn of ‘o’opu, at Waimea, they were so numerous that one couldn’t go into the water without rubbing against them. [Pukui 1339]

Hoʻi hou ka paʻakai i Waimea,
The salt has gone back to Waimea.

Said when someone starts out on a journey and then comes back again. The salt of Waimea is known for its reddish brown color. [Pukui 1028]

Ka ua nounou ‘ili o Waimea,
The skin-pelting rain of Waimea.

Refers to Waimea, Kauai. [Pukui 1591]

Ka-wai-’ula ‘iliahi o Waimea,
The red sandalwood water of Waimea.

This expression is sometimes used in old chants of Waimea, Kauai. After a storm Waimea Stream is said to run red. Where it meets Makaweli stream to form Waimea river, the water is sometimes red on one side and clear on the other. The red side is called wai ‘ula ‘iliahi. [Pukui 1662]

Ka wai ‘ula ‘ili ahi o Waimea,
The fiery red skin of Waimea.

The water of the Waimea river, like that of Kawaikōī and Koai’e is the color similar to iced tea. When one puts an arm into the water, it looks as though it is on fire, e.g. fiery skin. The water from the Makaweli was named Wai-kea, white or clear water. [Kaohe, telephone conversation 12 Jul 89]

Ke one kapu o Kahamalu’ihi,
The sacred sand of Kahamalu’ihi.

A city of refuge for those of Waimea, Mānā, and the Kona side of Kauai. [Pukui 1775]

The Waimea River watershed encompasses 85.9 square miles in west Kauaʻi, it contains 38 streams totaling 276.4 miles in length as well as 8 waterfalls. It is one of the largest river systems in all of Hawaiʻi. The river flows generally north to south, collecting surface flows from various other headwaters and tributaries that flow down to Waimea Bay. Makaweli River is one of the major lower tributaries feeding the bay.

On January 18,1778 Capt. Cook anchors at the river mouth of Waimea and was immediately struck by the highly organized state of kalo (taro) production throughout the valley. West Kauaʻi inhabitants far surpassed their neighbors in management of their wetland kalo systems. This was furthered documented as time progressed. The famed “Menehune” ditch (aka “Kīkīaola”) is a traditional ʻauwai (irrigation system) that traverses the cliffs of Waimea Canyon for several miles, a true engineering feat accomplished very early in Hawaiian history.

The savvy engineering allowed for terraced loʻi (taro farms) to reach as far as 8-10 miles inland at one time and extended along approximately 25 linear miles along Waimea Canyon. The cultivation of kalo in this area dates back thousands of years and at one time was probably some of the most advanced irrigation and cultivation practices in all of Hawaiʻi.

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