Bellstone believed missing is at Kauai Museum

  • Bethany Freudenthal/The Garden Island Photo of the Bellstone site from the bottom of the hill. Alalem said in ancient times it wasn't overgrown and you could see all the way from the site on the mountain down to where the birthing place is.
  • Bethany Freudenthal/The Garden Island

    As kahu of this area for decades, Jim Alalem said he single handedly re-erected these idols that were toppled during the time of Kaahumanu. He’s no longer caring for the area as he did when he was younger because he said others who claim to be descendants took over the work. Alalem said he is supportive of what Kimberly Souza is doing at the Bellstone as a religious practitioner.

    Bethany Freudenthal/The Garden Island

    As kahu of this area for decades, Jim Alalem said he single handedly re-erected these idols that were toppled during the time of Kaahumanu. He’s no longer caring for the area as he did when he was younger because he said others who claim to be descendants took over the work. Alalem said he is supportive of what Kimberly Souza is doing at the Bellstone as a religious practitioner.

  • Bethany Freudenthal/The Garden Island

    When a child was born the kahuna of the area would announce whether the baby was a boy or a girl, then a runner would run up to the bellstone which would be rung with different tones whether the baby was a boy or a girl.

  • Bethany Freudenthal/ The Garden Island

    The Pohaku Kani, (Bellstone), that’s on display at the Kauai Museum.

A bellstone believed by some to be missing from a sacred site on Kauai apparently isn’t missing at all, according to the state.

It’s at the Kauai Museum.

In a statement to TGI, spokesman for the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Dan Dennison said the Pohaku Kani is on display in the museum’s main gallery.

“In the 1920s Andrew Kane of Wailua brought the stone up the slope. He took it home for many years, then gave it to Mrs. Guslander at Coco Palms where it remained until 2011 when Randy Wichman took the stone from Coco Palms, worried that it would be stolen, to the Kauai Historical Society’s vault for safe keeping,” Dennison wrote.

A couple years later, the stone was transferred to the Kauai Museum, where it remains, Dennison said.

“It is possible that there are two other pieces of this stone. It is written that one of Kaahumanu’s priests, Huleia, broke the stone into three pieces and threw it over the slope towards the Wailua River,” Dennison said.

In ancient times when a member of the royal family was ready to give birth, they would retreat to a birthing site. When the baby was born the kahuna of the area would announce whether the child was a boy or girl and the Pohaku Kani, (bellstone), was rung, reverberating from kai to mauka.

On Kauai, the birthing site is in the District of Puna of Wailua Ahupua’a off of Kuamo’o Road, between the Wailua River and the Coco Palms site.

Over recent weeks, Kimberley Souza, with the occasional assistance of others, had been clearing years of overgrowth and rubbish up the hill from the birthing site, where the Pohaku Kani once stood.

They believed the bellstone to be missing and TGI reported on this on March 20.

Some say it’s buried at the site, while others say it was removed by artifact collectors.

Still, some say the Pohaki Kani is still there, “you just have to know where to look for it.”

It is believed that Kauai was home to 12 Pohaku Kani, more than any other Hawaiian island.

According to historical records, the Kauai bellstone near ‘Opaeka’a Falls is a rock formation that was built by the natives long ago to honor a historical or significant event. The rocks were placed so that a certain sound would be made once they were struck.

Bellstones can be found on all the main Hawaiian Islands. The bellstone in Kauai in question was reported to be located just off of Highway 580 in the Wailua area. The two boulders of bellstone are supposed to be located about 100 feet past a guardrail.

Born and raised on Kauai and former caretaker of the site, James Alalem recently toured the area with TGI. The stone, he said, was oblong and flat.

As a National Historic Landmark, Alalem said the Pohaku Kani area was maintained when he was growing up, but was eventually closed.

“They just let it overgrow and once they do that a lot of rubbish started to come up because nobody takes care of that place,” he said.

The site was also used as a dump-site for boulders removed during construction of the Wailua Bridge, he said.

There’s a pasture at the bottom of the area. Alalem said when they leased the pasture, a gate went up.

“They didn’t want anyone to go in there, but the gate never had no signs, keep out, anything just one gate was locked and all of a sudden the lock was gone and it was open and that’s when Kimberly took over the place because the state was not taking care of the area under historical preservation,” Alalem said.

Law enforcement officers recently removed Souza from the site, because she had been living there.

Alalem said he was ordained by the spirits to be the kahu of the area because when he was born his mom put his piko (umbilical cord) there.

“I was told a lot of times a spirit prepared this place like this and nobody ever helped me. I had a couple friends that helped me, God bless those guys if they’re still around, I love those people that they came and helped me that they put in the effort,” he said.

Alalem says he’s upset the sacred site hasn’t been maintained.

“If they put a sign up that says this is a historical preservation then it’s their responsibility to take care of it,” he said.

Victoria Stauffenberg, spokeswoman for the National Parks Service, said care and maintenance of properties designated as National Historic Landmarks are the responsibility of the property owner and participation in the NHL is voluntary.

Dennison said there’s a gate at the site to protect it from people causing damage while looking for the bellstone.

There are no restoration plans.

“The only maintenance that needs to be done there is keeping the vegetation and vandalism down,” Dennison wrote.

7 Comments
  1. billyjoebob March 28, 2018 4:27 am Reply

    Mrs. billyjoebob suggested maybe that is where the missing batting cage net is.


  2. Uncleaina March 28, 2018 8:16 am Reply

    Ah another article from Bethany about Coco Palms and the homeless people who have been living there and up by the falls. So they found the bell stone – wasn’t missing after all. And the area isn’t covered in rubbish – in fact the majority of the rubbish down there lately came from the homeless people camping – they just left all there pop ups and tents and walked away even though they were given the opportunity to take it. Hey Bethany- the real native Hawaiian people own homelands worth billions of dollars; they provide free land and homes to native Hawaiians, and though it’s not perfect, up in places like Anahola you can see the brand new homes and speak with actual native Hawaiians. I’d be interested to hear their stories. I’m pretty tired of hearing about this group of posers who have no claims to this land.


  3. Reverend Malama Robinson March 28, 2018 8:37 am Reply

    Wrong on all accounts!

    RETURN of all the sacred pohakus must be done by the perpetrators immediately….

    MAHALO

    HAWAIIANKINGDOM.ORG


  4. harry oyama March 28, 2018 8:46 am Reply

    Kaahumanu did allot of damage to Kaua’i sacred sites in order to invalidate a known fact among Hawaiians that it is here that royality is oldest and higher than all other islands. She even plotted to capture King Kamuali’i and forced him to marry her in order t remain in power when Kamehameha died because of her low rank. This is history you do not hear about. She also ordered the sacred stone in Nawilwili to also be broken, She is a disgrace to all Hawaiians


  5. coolio March 28, 2018 9:11 am Reply

    The Bell Stone area is now a SQUATTERS HOMELESS CAMP…It will be trashed just like Coco Palms…There aren’t keepers of the Aina there, Just homeless people looking for a free rent place to live in their squaller… Go offer them a job, they will leave…But they WILL leave it TRASHED…Sadly…


  6. kahu kapalaua o kamehameha March 28, 2018 10:44 am Reply

    ’nuff alredeh
    this bethany wanna be hindu chick is whack. mek nice to the hawaiians and write all kine biased news articles. uncle aina get em right, is the “hawaiians” makin da mess down coco palms and bell stone, not “da haoles”. and since I changed my name to “o kamehameha”, I can claim that land too, right? I mean, it’s been done already :/
    on a serious note, it’ll be nice when this is all in the past and no more “pillaging”, “war crimes”, and such
    pillaging and war crimes sarcastically said


  7. Knowitall March 28, 2018 6:52 pm Reply

    Jim Alalem is not native Hawaiian. Can we please stop quoting him and giving him attention on these issues. He is Portuguese if they’re is an issue with Portuguese History he would be the one to quote


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