Cultural Background Kahana was a thriving fishing and farming community prior to Western contact. Those living in Kahana had an abundance of fresh water and fertile soil on the valley floor to cultivate kalo (taro), the staple crop. The loi (ponded fields of kalo) were irrigated by 'auwai (ditches) that diverted water from the streams to the fields. Kahana Bay provided a wealth of fish and shellfish. In the 19th Century, following the unification of the Hawaiian Islands by Kamehameha I, the population rapidly declined as a result of Western contact and the introduction of foreign diseases. Sugar cane cultivation and the use of the valley as a WWII jungle warfare training site, have altered the natural and cultural environment of Kahana.

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