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Waiapua‘a replaces Major’s Bay in Mana

MANA — E. Kalani Flores, who was described by Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) Commanding Officer Captain Brett Stevenson as a researcher and scholar, said names are from where there were people.

Flores, an instructor with the Hawai‘i Community College on the Big Island, did the major legwork in researching the story of Waiapua‘a, the oldest recorded place name of the beach that was known as Major’s Bay, up until Friday, on the PMRF campus.

Flores joined Stevenson and other special guests on Friday for E ho‘i ana i Waiapua‘a Bay, or Returning to the Historical Origin of Waiapua‘a Bay, at the entrance to the picturesque beach at the naval station.

The special guests included Karen Ono of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Gov. Josh Green’s liaison Dana Hazelton, Kaua‘i County Council members Mel Rapozo and Kipukai Kuali‘i, Sheri Mann and people who have a direct link to Waiapua‘a.

Kumu Hula Troy Allen Hinano Lazaro, with strong ties to the westside, officiated the renaming but declined credit for doing the work leading to the name change back to its historical origins, instead referring to Thomas Nizo, Kunane Aipolani, Nani Fukino, Ala Nizo and Gwen Cardejon.

Stevenson said he has a personal connection to the renaming of Waiapua‘a because of people he grew up with in the Northwest who started renaming place names with their original Native American place names.

“In doing so, we sought to honor the wisdom and the traditions of the First Peoples of the land,” Stevenson said. “Their place names told stories of creation, and respect, and a profound connection to the earth.”

Stevenson said for too long, the names of such places have echoed with the sounds of distant lands and distant peoples.

“We weren’t all here when we started this journey, but it feels pretty good to see it cross the finish line. Waiapua‘a. By lifting these original names, we are saying to the world that we value every chapter of our history, and we honor every voice that helped shape this land. Waiapua‘a now joins alongside the growing list of Native Hawaiian place names that are familiar to all who visit our island,” Stevenson said.

“We move forward with a spirit of unity and humility, inspired by the resilience and wisdom of those who came before us. Let us all remember that the names we use, the stories we tell, and the histories we honor are powerful. They shape how we see ourselves, and how we understand our place in the world.”
Source: The Garden Island

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