Kauai Historical Society deserves support

The Kauai Historical Society could use our help.

We should give it to them.

And a recent note it sent out explains why, so we want to share it with you.

“‘Once upon a time, long ago.’ I suppose I could have started my story this way, for Mana is very much like places one reads about in fairy tales. It is real in the minds of those who lived there, but only a name to others. Mana does not exist anymore, and we cannot say to those who ask, ‘Come, and I will show you.’ So let me tell you the story of ‘Mana, the Place and Its People,’ my way.” — (from “Mana: The Place and its People”).

“Thus begins the unique memoir of John Martin,” writes Delia Akaji, administrator, Kauai Historical Society. “With your help, Kauai Historical Society will be the vehicle John Martin uses to ‘tell you the story of Mana.’”

This publication will be ready for distribution in 2020.

How many are familiar with Mana Camp, where 400 to 500 residents once lived?

“The Territory of Hawaii’s tax map for 1947 shows that some seventy-two family houses, fourteen bachelor quarters, three grocery stores, and a community hall made up the community,” Martin writes in “Mana: The Place and its People.”

The Kauai Historical Society is an organization that does great work on a very limited budget. The folks at KHS are all heart and soul when it comes to collecting and preserving this island’s history. We have asked for your support before to benefit this fine organization, and we are proud to do so again.

It is seeking help to publish “Mana: The Place and its People.”

It is described as “a personal and thoughtful retrospective of this once-thriving plantation camp.”

“Long before my father drove his young family up that long driveway, Mana was already an old village occupied by few Hawaiian families as early as the 1850s,” Martin writes.

The goal is to raise $15,000, a small sum for such an important project.

Donations will go toward:

w Design and layout;

w Printing of 500 copies;

w Shipping and distribution;

w Community gatherings.

While we fully support this project and urge people to donate, we can’t explain it better than Randy Wichman, president, and Linda Moriarty, vice president, of the Kauai Historical Society. Here is what they so gracefully wrote:

The history of Mana Camp touched the lives of many families on Kauai. Plantation work was hard and long, yet at the end of the day and on holidays, the diverse ethnic groups came together to celebrate each others’ cultures and customs.

John Martin’s account of growing up in Mana Camp provides the reader with valuable insight for those who are unaware of what the plantation lifestyle was like.

This story is both full of wonder and, on occasion, of tragedies they had to endure.

No more houses, stores, movie theater; no more swimming pool, tennis courts, or schools that once defined this community. No more firecrackers, feasts, picnics, weddings or funerals that were celebrated or mourned throughout the night. Only the sound of the Mana winds remain.

By becoming a contributor to this publication, you are ensuring that this knowledge is not lost; you will be helping the Mana Camp families to still have a voice. Even though every trace of this camp is gone, their stories will not be forgotten.

We join with the Kauai Historical Society in this effort to make this project a reality. As Wichman and Moriarty write: “This manuscript needs benefactors to reach another generation.”

Let’s do all we can to be sure that generations get to read “Mana: The Place and its People.”

To donate, visit kauaihistoricalsociety.org.

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