Sunday, June 5, 2011

Manoa Heritage Center

Despite the weekend thunder storms and rain, a group from Daughters of Hawaii visited the Manoa Heritage Center on Saturday.   As its name implies, the Heritage Center preserves the history of Manoa Valley.   The site is on property belonging to members of the Cooke family.  The first Cookes in Hawaii were missionaries and educators.  Later generations went into banking, business, education and philanthropy.  

The first part of the morning was a tour of The Big House, Kualii, built 1911-1912 and now on the US National Registry of Historic Places.  Kualii, with its wonderful art collection, is like an extension of the Honolulu Academy of Arts. 

This small section of the living room is typical, 
displaying paintings by some of Hawaii's best known artists.  

Sam and some of the Daughters in the library, filled with books, maps, drawings, and more paintings.

In the dining room, two of a set of etchings depicting Honolulu in 1852.  
In poor condition when the Cookes obtained them, 
the images were sent to Bath, England for restoration.  

While most other rooms in this house reflect other cultures, 
this room cries out "Hawaii!"  
If it were in my house, it would be my sewing room!  
All those windows open to the great outdoors,
and the light is wonderful.
So are the koa chairs in child and adult sizes.  

Outdoors,  we met Ena.

This part of Manoa valley, she told us, sits atop an old lava flow,
giving it a commanding view of the entire valley 
from  the ocean (yes, there is an ocean down there), 

to the ridge at the back of the valley.  

The stone wall in the photo above defines the sacred area, heiau.
The only one of eight built in this valley to survive (after some restoration),
this heiau is estimated to be at least 1000 years old,
possibly pre-dating Polynesian presence in Hawaii.
The heiau is said to have been built by the Menehune, 
Hawaii's equivalent of the Irish Leprechaun.  
Some believe they were the indigenous race found here when the Polynesians arrived.  

Hawaiian dry stone walls, Ena told us, 
are uniquely designed to withstand earth movement. 
The larger stones form an exterior frame which is then filled with smaller stones.
When the earth quakes, the small stones slip into empty spaces, 
locking the larger stones into place.  

The gardens, like our islands, are filled with endemic plants.
This white hibiscus is one of them.

We gave thanks for the sunny weather during our tour.
Give thanks for something beautiful in your life. 
Don't forget to pray!  

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