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20th Anniversary of Henry ‘Ōpūkaha‘ia’s Homecoming to be Celebrated August 17th

The 20th anniversary of the return of Henry ‘Ōpūkaha‘ia, Hawai‘i’s first known and documented Christian scholar, will be celebrated on August 17 at Kahikolu Congregational Church in Nāpo‘opo‘o, South Kona.

Henry Celebration

‘Ōpūkaha‘ia, a 19th century Hawaiian from Hawai‘i Island, left Kealakekua Bay in 1808 aboard a merchant ship bound for the east coast of the United States. Upon arrival, he enrolled in linguistic studies at Yale University and soon assimilated into Christian culture. These acts made him a prominent figure in American society, most especially amongst the religious community.

Though a fond wish of his, ‘Ōpūkaha‘ia did not return to Hawai‘i in his lifetime. He remained on the continent until his passing in 1818 of Typhoid fever. News of his death and burial caused much distress for the Hawaiian community. It took relatives nearly two centuries, but his deathbed request to return home was finally honored in 1993.

Archaeologists unearthed ‘Ōpūkaha‘ia’s remains from their 175-year resting place, and discovered his bones intact. He was placed in a koa casket and began a tour of memorial services in Connecticut, on O‘ahu, and around Hawai‘i Island. He was laid to rest in August 1993 at Kahikolu Congregational Church, where the August 17 event will be held.

The day will include readings, music and fellowship celebrating and commemorating the young Hawaiian’s life accomplishments, and the 20th anniversary of his homecoming. Many of the people who played a part in that historical homecoming will be on hand.

For more information on the event or to RSVP, contact Deborah Lee at keoheolahou@yahoo.com or (808) 443-1268. Also, find ‘Ahahui ‘Ōpūkaha‘ia on Facebook at facebook.com/AhahuiOpukahaia.


State Parks Takes Next Management Step to Balance Resource Protection and Public Recreation Use at Kealakekua Bay

Permits now available with specific conditions for recreational vessels

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of State Parks is taking the next step to restore additional public recreational access to the waters of Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park (KBSHP) after imposing a moratorium that began January 2, 2013 on all vessels entering the bay and all landing at Ka‘awaloa. Swimming and snorkeling have continuously been allowed in the bay without permits.

Kealakekua Bay

Taking a phased approach, State Parks in January began issuing permits to commercial and non-commercial vessels to merely transit the bay entering from an outside location (no landing of passengers on land allowed – only swimming in the water). Next, in April and May, the division authorized the three previously permitted commercial kayak guided tour companies to resume operations with strict permit conditions.

State Parks has now begun issuing special use permits – with specific use conditions — for the non-commercial recreational use of crafts such as kayaks, stand-up paddle boards and one-person canoes in the waters of Kealakekua Bay. There is no cost to these permits. Many of these users have been contacting the department for months to ask when they could resume their personal recreational hobby to paddle in the bay.

“Mahalo to those of you who have waited patiently as DLNR grappled with a variety of strategies and legal evaluations that were necessary to restore both a quality experience and provide enhanced resource protection to Kealakekua Bay State Historical Park,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR chairman.

“Due to the legal complexity of changing management of the water from our Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation to the Division of State Parks, with different sets of administrative rules, more time than we anticipated has been needed to allow for various stages of public vessel access to waters of the bay to resume,” Aila said. “DLNR will continue to evaluate all vessel and public behavior and magnitude and determine, as needed, if further changes and conditions are warranted.”

Special use permits are now being issued for non-commercial, personal use of primarily paddle vessels, subject to a set of eight conditions:

1. No launching or landing of vessels from the wharf at Napo‘opo‘o landing.
2. No landing or transporting of people to land or to traverse any of the land at Ka‘awaloa Flats.
3. No launching or deployment of any auxiliary vessels from the permitted vessel. Swimmers are allowed in the water but not to access Ka‘awaloa Flats.
4. Motorized vessels are to operate at a “no wake” speed.
5. There shall be no damage to any live coral, or tampering or interfering with other marine life and mammals. All legal distances are to be maintained from marine mammals.
6. If an emergency landing is required on land within KBSHP, the DLNR Hawai‘i State Park Office must be notified within 24 hours of the landing and report the nature of the emergency and the need to land.
7. These conditions may be subject to change due to resource management decisions.
8. Violation of any of these permit conditions may cause the revocation of the permit

Special use permit request forms may be obtained by e-mailing DSP Permit Staff at Jacqueline.M.Velasco@hawaii.gov


Years of unmanaged proliferation of rental kayak use and the illegal commercial rentals of kayaks from historic Napo‘opo‘o wharf and landings at Ka‘awaloa Flats have impacted marine life in Kealakekua Bay and historic resources at Ka‘awaloa Flats. Unsustainable high numbers of unregulated traffic and the overall aesthetic degradation of the quality of experience in this culturally significant historic area led to the Department of Land and Natural Resources to determine it was time to implement a moratorium “time out” in order to rest the resources while better management actions could be developed.

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The Incredible Journey of Faith Continues – Memoirs of Henry Obookiah

Almost 195 years after it was first published, the Woman’s Board of Missions for the Pacific Islands, a 141-year-old non-profit organization formed under the Kingdom of Hawaii, is pleased to announce a dramatic program and book launch in Hilo featuring the newly revised edition of the historic “Memoirs of Henry Obookiah,” from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, January 17, at Haili Church, located at 211 Haili St. A festive reception and book signing will directly follow the program at the Lyman Museum and Mission House, located just up the street at 276 Haili Street.


The event is free, however space is limited and reservations are required to secure a place on the guest list by calling (808) 935-5021. The soft back edition of the book will be available the night of the event for $20. Proceeds will benefit the Lyman Museum and Mission House and the WBM, which gives monies to various sister organizations that help minister to women and children throughout Hawaii and Pacific Rim.

Known as the first fruit of the Christian faith amongst the Hawaiian people, the story is honest and untainted, as told through Obookiah’s (also known as Opukaha‘ia) own perspective, as recounted through his personal diary entries and letters to close friends. It is a poignant narrative of suffering, pain and his tragic death at age 26 when he succumbed to typhus. It is also a story of healing, renewal, joyous faith and a new life everlasting that inspired a generation of young missionaries to leave the East Coast and travel to the islands to fulfill Henry’s desire to have his people hear the gospel message.

The original memoir, written by Edwin W. Dwight, details the amazing story of a uniquely able, adaptable, alert, curious, educated, hard-working, unusually intelligent and very remarkable 19th century young Hawaiian man who forsook idol worship, jumped into the ocean at Kealakekua Bay, boarded a ship headed for America, where he fully embraced Christianity.

The newest edition contains a collection of vintage and current photographs, along with a brand new epilogue documenting how lifelong Hilo resident Deborah Li‘ikapeka Lee, the blood relative responsible for leading the charge to bring Opukaha’ia’s intact earthly body (iwi) back to the Big Island an amazing 175 years after he was originally laid to rest in a cemetery in Cornwall, Connecticut.

“It’s an extraordinary journey of an ordinary woman who answered God’s call, ‘He wants to come home,’” said Karen Welsh, president of WBM and author of the epilogue. “It was a privilege and honor to interview Deborah and work with her on the editing process of the story. We laughed and cried together. I knew this was a meaningful piece of both Hawaiian and American history and it was something bigger than both of us.”

Through the reprint it is hoped this newest generation will take advantage of the opportunity to know, appreciate and share this life changing story.


Wordless Wednesday – “K” Bay and The Hilton Waikoloa Resort

On Tuesday of last week, my old friend from high school visited the Big Island with his girlfriend and we rented a boat from Kona Boat Rentals.

We then rode down the Kona Coastline to Kealakekua Bay where we kicked back and talked story for a while.

I showed my friends the Captain Cook Monument and one of them went snorkeling for a short bit of time.

After our half day boat rental… I then checked into the Hilton Waikoloa Resort for a couple of days of rest and relaxation!

I had a great room in the Lagoon Tower overlooking the main pool and the Dolphin lagoon.

It was a very relaxing few days and I spent much of the time soaking my body in the hot tubs!

I guess in a sense… this was my Christmas present to myself from a few of my sponsors!

The weather at the Hilton Waikoloa Village Resort is almost always gorgeous despite what might be happening on other parts of the Big Island and it was good to come over for a few days and thaw out!

Big Island Visitors Bureau – Tsunami Update: Most Businesses, Resorts Open on Hawaii, The Big Island

Media Release:

Last Friday, Hawai’i Island, especially the Kona District, sustained some damage from the tsunami generated by an earthquake near Japan, but nearly all hotels, businesses and attractions are open, tourism officials said.

On Fri., Mar. 11, a tsunami hit Hawai’i following a destructive 9.0 magnitude earthquake near the east coast of Honshu, Japan. Some hotels and businesses along the Kona and Kohala coasts were damaged by wave surge and debris, but most are open and are welcoming guests.

Two resorts that remain closed are Four Seasons Resort Hualālai, which plans to reopen on April 30, and Kona Village Resort. Phone lines at Kona Village are now working.

Kailua Pier was deemed structurally sound, and all charters that normally operate from the Pier, including Body Glove, Atlantis Submarines and Jack’s Diving Locker, are operating as usual. The Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Pride of America cruise ship will stop in Kona on Wed., Mar. 23 as planned.

King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel is also open, and guest rooms were not damaged. However, the lu’au area, ground floor public areas including the lobby and Kona Beach Restaurant, were flooded by seawater, sand and debris. Cleanup efforts are well underway, and several retail stores have reopened. The swimming pool and Billfish Bar are open, and the cleanup team has removed all of the carpet from the lobby and replaced all of the furniture. The award-winning Island Breeze Lu’au will resume this Sun., Mar. 20.

While the sands at Kamakahonu Beach were mostly swept away, Kona Boys have pitched in to tidy up the coastal area fronting King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel. Kona Boys are continuing to offer outrigger canoe rides, stand-up paddlesurfing (SUP), kayaking and snorkeling on the calm waters of Kailua Bay from their beach hut at Kamakahonu.

Hulihe’e Palace in historic Kailua Village is temporarily closed, but two upcoming outdoor events on palace grounds are still happening as scheduled. This Sunday’s band concert is confirmed, as is the annual palace fundraiser, Day at Hulihe’e, on Sat., Mar. 26.

Fair Wind Big Island Ocean Guides have resumed charters aboard Hula Kai and Fair Wind II from Keauhou Bay, and Keauhou Pier was not damaged, although Fair Wind’s check-in facility will be undergoing repair. Check-ins are being handled at a modified location nearby. The company reports that the north part of Kealakekua Bay near the Captain Cook Monument where the Fair Wind II moors for its popular snorkeling trip, has excellent visibility.

The National Park Service reports that two West Hawai’i parks have partial closures due to tsunami damage. Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park is open on a very limited basis from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The only areas that are open are the main paved parking lot, the visitors center, amphitheater, and a small portion of the Royal Grounds in front (makai) of the amphitheater. Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park is now open normally except for a small stretch of coastal trail at the southern portion of the park between ‘Ai’ōpio Fishtrap and ‘Aimakapā Fishpond.

At ‘Anaeho’omalu Bay in the Waikoloa Beach Resort, the tsunami surge cleaved the beach in half, and waves breached the lava rock walls at Kings’ Pond. The public beach access and parking lot at the south end are closed until further notice. The public can access the northern portion of the beach at the Kolea condominium community. Ocean Sports’ catamaran Sea Smoke resumed charters at ‘Anaeho’omalu today.

No damage has been reported at any of the island’s renowned golf courses.

There were no deaths or serious injuries reported in Hawai’i from Friday’s tsunami. All airports are open and flights are on time, and all roads are open.

“We are deeply touched by the outpouring of well wishes from visitors, both here and far away. And in typical Hawai’i Island style, our community, government officials and local agencies are working together efficiently and quickly to get the cleanup job done,” said George Applegate, Executive Director of the Big Island Visitors Bureau. “As we count our blessings, we also send our deepest aloha to Japan, and to everyone who suffered losses due to the earthquake and tsunami. For all of us in Hawai’i, Japan is so much more than economics. We are friends and family as we are related by our long historical ties and proud heritage” he said.

Wordless Wednesday – Road Rage Incident in Kailua-Kona… Someone Had a Bad Hair Day

Big Island police have charged a Washington state man in connection with an incident reported as road rage.


Christopher Roberg

Media Release:

At 11:30 a.m. Wednesday (November 3), detectives charged 41-year-old Christopher James Roberg of Spokane, Washington, with first-degree robbery, kidnapping, third-degree assault, unauthorized entry of a motor vehicle and two counts of terroristic threatening. (His place of residence was erroneously listed as Kailua-Kona in an earlier media release.)

Roberg is being held at the Kona police cellblock in lieu of $132,000 bail.

A 21-year-old Kealakekua woman reported that while she was driving on Ali’i Drive in Kailua-Kona near White Sands Beach Park around 10:40 p.m. Monday (November 1), a car pulled in front of her pickup truck and stopped. The male driver got out of the car, went to the victim’s truck and tried to remove her key from the ignition. He then grabbed her hair and removed personal items from the cab of the truck.

The man returned to his car, put the stolen items inside, went back to the victim and threatened her with a knife. He then grabbed a baseball bat from the bed of the victim’s truck and threatened her with that.

The man fled when another vehicle approached the scene.

Police located the suspect at 12:05 a.m. Tuesday (November 2) at the intersection of Palani Road and Kuakini Highway. Roberg was arrested and taken to the Kona police cellblock while detectives from the Area II Criminal Investigations Section continued the investigation.

The victim refused treatment from Fire Department personnel.

Police ask that any possible witnesses call Detective Sean Smith at 326-4646, Ext. 275, or the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311. Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.