Native Hawaiians established a complex government to oversee the
needs of their people and to ensure that there was a sense of equality
throughout the kingdom. An example of this is their division of each
island into smaller regions. There were four basic hierarchal levels,
which began with the mokupuni, which meant the island as a whole.
This was followed by moku which broke the mokupuni into large
subdivisions, of which there are five on Kaua‘i. Following the moku
were ahupua‘a, which were smaller regions within the subdivision, that
were ruled by a local chief or aliÿi. The last of the four levels was
called ‘ili of which there could be two to three ‘ili within an ahupua‘a.
The land divides were based on geographic features such as
mountains, valleys, or streams and ran from the highest point on the
island all the way to the sea. The land divisions were not meant to
segregate people, but rather were a way to manage natural resources
in a sustainable and equal manner; delineating where people were
allowed to hunt, fish, gather, and farm.
Nearly all of Kaua‘i’s North Shore falls within Halele‘a Moku, which
translates to “joyful house.” This moku runs from Mt. Waiÿaleÿale to
Makana Mountain. It extends as far as the eastern edge of Kalihiwai
Bay, just before Kauapea (Secret) Beach. Halele‘a boasts many of
Kaua‘i’s most iconic views such as Limahuli Valley, Hanalei Bay, and
Princeville, as well as some of the island’s best beaches—Këÿë, Mäkua
(Tunnels), and ‘Anini. By understanding a little of the region’s history
and cultural importance, you can see why Haleleÿa is so important to
the people of Kaua‘i.
The eastern portion of Halele‘a is Kalihiwai, which literally means
“the edge of (fresh) water.” Flourishing with many rivers, streams,
and waterfalls Kalihiwai is praised in many Hawaiian oli (chants) for
its abundance of water.
Moving westward is Kalihikai, which means “the edge of the sea.”
This region was very important to kalo (taro) farming and also home
to the fragile coastal reef which surrounds serene ‘Anini Beach.
Within Kalihikai is Princeville.
Princeville was named in honor of Prince Albert Edward, the son
of Queen Emma and King Kamehameha IV, in 1860. Prince Albert
was the godson of Britain’s Queen Victoria and he was named after
Victoria’s prince consort. Originally a site of a cattle ranch, in 1969 it
became home to a resort community with street names that still pay
homage to many figures in Hawaiian royalty.
A 10-minute car ride from Princeville will bring you to the famed
Hanalei Bay. Hanalei’s coast is divided into four ahupua‘a: Hanalei,
Wai‘oli, Waipä, and Waikoko. Plentiful in rainfall and water flowing