Native species uprooted at museum

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kaua‘i Museum Executive Director Chucky Boy Chock surveys the damage to an uprooted tree from the museum’s Moku Gardens Tuesday in Lihu‘e.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    An uprooted native tree is among the plants rutted from the Kaua‘i Museum’s Moku Gardens in Lihu‘e.

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

  1. Kauaidoug July 22, 2020 8:05 am Reply

    What a shame. As a plant lover myself I can only imagine Mr Chok’s frustration and dismay. The overall question is why? Hopefully someone will come forward with an identity. A lot of people drive by there and must have noticed this activity. Completely senseless.

  2. Rev Dr Malama July 22, 2020 8:59 am Reply

    We need security cameras all around Kauai as the drugs become more prevalent in the already underserved and mentally ill people of Kauai…..
    The recent blatant display of Mongrel Hawai’i Gangs calling for violence against their misinterpretations of enemies is also extremely ALARMING!!!!
    AN ALL POINTS BULLETIN to kpd and innocent people that are unaware of the GANGS exploding in the Islands….
    Hewa loa!

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