POIPU — Four 16-foot kii, representing the four corners of Honua, the pillars in ancient Hawaiian astrology, were placed on Saturday at Ke Kahua O Kaneiolouma.
The four kii — sometimes mistake for tiki — are the Hawaiian gods Kane, the god of the sky and creation; Ku, the god of war and male pursuits; Lono, the god of peace, rain, and fertility; and Kanaloa, the god of the ocean, who represent the next phase of Ke Kahua O Kaneiolouma restoration work.
“This is not about religion,” said Randy Wichman, historian for Hui Malama O Kaneiolouma, a group organized to care for and restore the historically significant site in Poipu. “This is about navigation, the stars, fishing, and even agriculture.”
Wichman, between running around getting precise placement with a helper, explained that a Center Stone is in the midst of the four kii whose shadows touch the Center Stone — the platform represents a map of the Pacific.
He said following the installation of the kii, the Manokalanipo perimeter security wall will be completed up to the platform housing the kii. Once completed, work will start toward the interior of Ke Kahua O Kaneiolouma.
James Kanani Kaulukukui Jr. of the Big Island was called on to carve the kii.
“It was a real honor to be able to do this project,” Kaulukukui said while intently watching the installation. “The kii are carved out of ohia. When they first called, it was for two kii in seven months. That was no sweat, but then they changed to four kii. That’s when the stress started.”
Throughout the installation, a steady stream of onlookers stopped and grabbed photos of the work being done — one of whom commented that this is going to to be a new source of pride for Poipu.
“The project was a lot of fun,” Kaulukukui said. “I did study on the Kauai headdresses for the kii. They all have Kauai-inspired headdresses and I let the logs tell me how to do the work.”
Ke Kahua O Kaneiolouma is a cultural site containing the remnants of an ancient Hawaiian village at Poipu, Koloa, Kauai, states the Kaneiolouma website.
The 13-acre complex, presently under the jurisdiction of the County of Kauai and designated as the Poipu Beach Mauka Preserve, contains numerous habitation, cultivation, sporting or assembly, and religious structures dating to at least the mid-1400s.
Hui Malama O Kaneiolouma has been unofficially caring for the site for more than a decade, receiving a Stewardship Agreement in 2010 from the County of Kauai.
Visit www.kaneiolouma.org for more information.