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Driving into Poipu Beach, I noticed several people with DSLRs and video cameras surrounding the entrance area. My journalist instincts kicked in, and I quickly fumbled to grab my camera from the back seat.
We pulled over to scope out the scene, as I snapped a few shots from the side of the car. It appeared to be something cultural going on. A couple of men wearing kihei (Hawaiian shawl-type garment worn for special occasions) stood next to four tall kii statues. I figured it was okay to take some pictures for the blog, since others from the press and public were doing the same.
The hand-carved kii statues stood about 15-feet tall, with one facing in each cardinal direction (north, south, east, west). Upon closer inspection, I realized just how detailed and different each was from the other. This must have taken years to carve.
Later that day, we got home, and I did a little bit of research. Turns out, the kii had just been put there that morning with cranes (as seen in the above photo). There was also a private Hawaiian ceremony to bless the site, but mostly, to bless what was located right behind the kii.
Apparently, an ancient Hawaiian village had been buried beneath overgrown weeds and thick brush for decades. It was only recently that the brush had been cleared away and revealed to the public eye. Some Hawaiians, however, already knew the village existed. They call it Kaneiolouma and claim it to be a very sacred place on Kauai.
According to KHON 2 News, the village includes remains of fishponds, kalo patches and living areas. And although it sits just a few steps away from world-famous Poipu Beach and hotels, the village still remained unharmed by development. The completed master plan will include educational programs and a Hawaiian cultural center.