LIHU‘E — Chucky Boy Chock used to take the curious patrons at Kaua‘i Museum out to the native garden to show them the pili grass Native Hawaiians used to make thatch houses with.
Fronting the museum, the garden provides the perfect place for people to put their hands on the native grass, and an opportunity for Chock to further explain its importance in Native Hawaiian culture. He also uses the garden to educate people on other endemic and endangered plants of Kaua‘i.
But, many of those plants are damaged now, pulled out of the ground over the weekend by an unidentified man.
“Who did this and why?” Chock asked Tuesday as he showed The Garden Island the ripped-up garden. “They pulled all of the pili and one particular tree — the pokalakala tree.”
Pokalakala, also known as Munroidendron, is an endangered tree, endemic to Kaua‘i. The shade tree grows to about 30 feet in height, and was used in Native Hawaiian culture to create a purple dye.
“It’s so hard to grow, and it finally took,” Chock said. “I’m so sad.”
Chock found out about the ripped-up plants on Sunday, after a friend called while driving by the museum. The friend witnessed someone in the garden, pulling up plants.
“Our friend said, ‘Oh, your yard man is working on Sunday, pulling weeds?’” Chock recalled. “I said ‘no, nobody’s working. Everybody’s off on Sundays.’”
Chock said they still don’t know who vandalized the native garden in front of the museum, and that replanting will take place eventually.
Jessica Else, editor-in-chief, can be reached at 245-0457 or email@example.com.