Lapakahi circa 1900, 2007 (7’ by 25’) Politec glaze painted mural on panels, Puakea Bay Ranch, North Kohala, Hawai’i.
The village of Lapakahi which stretches for miles along the rugged North Kohala coastline was inhabited by early Hawaiians from the 1300’s until just a few decades ago, when drought conditions undoubtedly drove the Hawaiians to more fertile ground.
It is amazing to contemplate that on this dry,windy, rugged coastal land with powerful ocean forces, generations of Native Hawaiians cultivated ‘uala (sweet potatoes) and ipu (gourds) on the rocky mineral rich soils. They fished, gathered Pa’akai (sea salt) in hand carved stone salt pans, limu (seaweed) from the shoreline, and traded with upland villagers for kalo (taro), maia (banana), ko, (sugar cane) to make this area home. People lived in the ahupua’a (traditional pie shaped land division from the mountain to ocean) sharing the fruits and vegetables of the land and the sea from mauka (toward the mountain) to makai (toward the ocean).
According to my beloved Kumu La’au (Hawaiian herbal medicine teacher) Po’okela Kahuna La’au Lapa’au Papa Hentry Allan Auwae, Lapakahi was a major center of healing and medical education, where healers from all of the islands would gather and share knowledge.