The Oral History of North Kona
Respected Hawaiian elder Kumu Keala Ching has dedicated his life to preserving the oral history of Kona, and we are so thankful he has taken the time to share it with us here. Though many stories have been lost, Kumu Ching says North Kona has always been seen as a place of enlightenment. Hawaiian chiefs would travel from all across the island of Hawai’i to seek answers to their greatest questions. Their destination was likely a heiau, or temple, within the North Kona District.
“The chiefs would have come to figure out if they were on the right path, such as whether or not to go to battle,” says Kumu Ching. “So North Kona seems to be that place of blessing, seeking of knowledge.”
The district immediately north, Pahoehoe, also offered enlightenment. Pahoehoe takes its name from the smooth new lava that defines the area, and Kumu Ching believes ancient Hawaiians would lie down on the pahoehoe to search for answers or healing. In so doing, they would feel the energy that comes from the land through the lava’s smooth, gently rippled texture, as though one’s body were a canoe on the sea.
The Pahoehoe district’s southernmost point is home to Magics Beach Grill. It was one of many important canoe building and fishing areas up and down the Kona coast (read about the Kipapa Family, who lived here for generations, in the following history section).
Farther south sits the Kapala’ala’ea disctrict, which runs all the way down to North Kona’s southernmost point, Pu’u Ohau. Kumu Ching believes ancient peoples visited this area to confirm their vision of enlightenment will benefit the earth and future generations.
“Kapala’ala’ea could mean an imprint of the journey to independence,” says Kumu Ching. “Going back to the story of the chiefs, here was the place to find out if the path they’ve chosen is really the right one. Am I leaving an imprint that is significant for the rest of history?”
Something that unites the entire Kona coast is its sunsets, and the people of Hawai’i believed you could always align within yourself if you faced the cardinal sun. In this way, every sunset is a chance to find new understanding, a chance to heal.