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Fans got to visit a sacred space: the heiau featured in a Halloween episode of Hawaii Five-0. The heiau was constructed especially for the television show and never actually was a place of worship by Native Hawaiians. Rather, it was a chance for fans to walk in the footsteps of Steve, Danno, Chin Ho and Kono.
The heiau looks ancient but was built especially for last season’s Halloween episode of ‘Hawaii Five-0.’
These lucky fans got a custom tour of Kualoa Ranch, the site where many scenes are filmed for Five-0 (and many other movies and television shows). The tour veered off-road and off the standard script to permit a close-up look at the TV set. I had my qualms about the episode as soon as it was announced, but our guide said something that reassured me. She said the show’s cultural advisor visited the space where the heiau was to be built and blessed the land before the construction. As a viewer, I had been concerned both about trivializing Native Hawaiian beliefs and about all that walking around inside a heiau. It helps to know that a set was constructed to avoid that sort of desecration.
This stop at Kualoa Ranch came after a bus tour that stopped at other filming locations, such as the King Kamehameha statue, the sound stage at the old Honolulu Advertiser building and Pearl Harbor. The television show films all over Oahu regularly, stitching together scenes from many different locations. Another stop on the Kualoa Ranch tour was an actual World War II bunker that stood in as the place where McGarrett was tortured in North Korea. Our guide showed us the separate location that was shot as the entry to the bunker, and another that was the surrounding exterior – all for what seemed to be one place on television.
Dennis Chun, Sgt. Duke Lukela on ‘Five-0,’ poses with fans.
Following the tour, fans visited and took photos with three regulars on Hawaii Five-0. Dennis Chun plays Sgt. Duke Lukela on this version of Five-0. His father, Kam Fong, played Chin Ho Kelly in the original version of the series. Kam Fong was a real Honolulu police officer, something that Chun recalled in remarks to the fans. He told of a time when he was a young boy and his father was late from work. As the minutes turned to hours, he saw how anxious his mother was and how relieved she was when he finally walked through the door. He shared that experience as a tribute to the fallen heroes who don’t make it back to their families.
Brian Yang plays forensic scientist Charlie Fong. His on-screen persona was introduced with a playful plot twist in season one (episode 22). Kono tries to guess how she knows him. Hint: it is not from Kukui High. He greeted fans with a smile almost as big as the one from Five-0’s youngest star, Teilor Grubbs. Although quiet and shy, she took her place at the table and posed with fans, visiting with many. I thanked her for being so gracious at the second season of the Sunset on the Beach premiere; she smiled and said, “Thank you.” When asked if she makes up her own Tweets, she said, “Yes, but my Dad checks them first.” I asked because @TeilorKGrubbs tweeted about not liking school on set. After the evening concluded, she tweeted: “Had so much fun 2nite, glad 2 be able 2 meet the great fans of #H50 at the #H50FanTour and thx 4 the invite @H50undercover. #Off2Bed”
Brian Yang, lab technician Charlie Fong, shares a joke.
‘Five-0’s’ Grace Williams, Teilor Grubbs, had a smile for everyone.
The evening concluded with a wonderful show telling the Legends of Kualoa, including how Mokolii Island got it’s name (also called Chinaman’s Hat). Unlike any other luau on Oahu, it features only authentic Hawaiian chant and dance, telling several Hawaiian stories about the history and culture of the area in an engaging, entertaining manner. This will be a must-see recommendation for my future visitors. For fans from other states and countries, it was a great introduction to the real Hawaii behind the TV show that kicks off season three at Sunset on the Beach in two weeks!