Dr. Huang and Daughter Volunteer to Restore Kaho‘olawe’s Place in History
Recently, Dr. Huang and his ten-year-old daughter, Paige. journeyed to Kaho‘olawe to participate in the rejuvenation of the island habitat after years of devastation. Kaho‘olawe has a very special place in Hawaiian history. According to the Kaho‘olawe Island Reserve Commission, “Hawaiians came to Kaho‘olawe as early as 400 A.D., settling in small fishing villages along the island’s coast. To date, nearly 3,000 archeological and historical sites and features—inventoried through 2004—paint a picture of Kaho‘olawe as a navigational center for voyaging, the site of an adze quarry, an agricultural center, and a site for religious and cultural ceremonies.”
Over the years, that all changed. It became a penal colony, a place for sheep and cattle ranching, and eventually the land was transferred to the U.S. Navy for use as a bombing range following the attack at Pearl Harbor. In the mid-90s the Department of Defense Appropriations Act authorized conveyance of Kaho‘olawe and its surrounding waters back to the State of Hawai‘i. Congress voted to end military use of Kaho‘olawe and provided $400 million for ordnance removal.
Since then, the Kaho‘olawe Island Reserve Commission (KIRC) was formed. Forests and shrublands of native plants are being returned through state and private funding, and the generosity of volunteers like Paige and her father. Their work will help to transform the moonlike scape devastated from the goats and bombings of past years.
The KIRC vision states, “This sacred place, the piko of Kanaloa (the navel, the center) is the crossroads of past and future generations from which the native Hawaiian lifestyle is spread throughout the islands.”
View more photos from Dr. Huang and Paige’s trip in the slideshow below: