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Gaye Chan & Andrea Feeser

Publication Year: 2006

Waikiki:A History of Forgetting and Remembering presents a compelling cultural and environmental history of the area, exploring its place not only in the popular imagination, but also through the experiences of those who lived there. Employing a wide range of primary and secondary sources—including historical texts and photographs, government documents, newspaper accounts, posters, advertisements, and personal interviews—an artist and a cultural historian join forces to reveal how rich agricultural sites and sacred places were transformed into one of the world’s most famous vacation destinations. The story of Waikiki’s conversion from a vital self-sufficient community to a tourist dystopia is one of colonial oppression and unchecked capitalist development, both of which have fundamentally transformed all of Hawai‘i. Colonialism and capitalism have not only changed the look and function of the landscape, but also how Native Hawaiians, immigrants, settlers, and visitors interact with one another and with the islands’ natural resources. The book’s creators counter this narrative of displacement and destruction with stories—less known or forgotten—of resistance and protest.

Published by: University of Hawai'i Press


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pp. vii

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pp. ix

Waikīkī: A History of Forgetting and Remembering and the public art project Historic Waikīkī (http://www.downwindproductions. com), of which it is a part, reflect our commitment to critiquing the operations of colonialism and capitalism, especially in Hawai‘i, where Chan currently lives and Feeser has lived for six years. Analyses of Hawai‘i and its peoples within...

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pp. xi

We are extremely grateful to all who have contributed to this book, which benefited from the expertise and efforts of many people. We thank Creative Capital; Clemson University’s College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities; and the University of Hawai‘i John A. Burns School of Medicine’s Native Hawaiian Center of Excellence for their financial support of the book, as well as everyone at the University of Hawai‘i Press who helped with the project, especially our editor,

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pp. xii-9

The pages that you turn in this book—the images and words on them—tell stories of Waikīkī, a site on the island of O‘ahu with a Hawaiian name that means “place of spouting waters.” Presented through the art and writing of two individuals, these stories communicate the deeds, designs, and dreams of countless people who have known Waikīkī. Physical traces of these people’s connections to Waikīkī, such as photographs, ...

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pp. 10-23

Lē‘ahi, better known as Diamond Head, is a dormant volcano at the edge of Waikīkī and perhaps the most recognized landmark in Hawai‘i. For centuries, governments and individuals have exploited Lē‘ahi’s natural beauty and its geographical relationship to the rest of the Hawaiian Islands. Lē‘ahi has been and continues to be used by businesspeople as a...

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Ala Wai

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pp. 24-37

In this chapter, we review the history of the Ala Wai, which was created by Walter F. Dillingham’s Hawaiian Dredging Company in 1921–1928 and was aptly first known as the Waikīkī Drainage Canal.1 Whereas Lē‘ahi is the most recognized landmark associated with Waikīkī, the Ala Wai is the mark on the land—indeed the scar on the ‘āina—responsible for creating the Waikīkī we know today. The canal ostensibly...

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pp. 38-51

Kālia, a place where Native Hawaiians initially prospered as cultivators, is now a site for prosperous military personnel to vacation. Kālia was the portion of Waikīkī that was originally the wettest. The Pi‘inaio Stream once coursed through Kālia, where it fed numerous fishponds built by kānaka maoli and spread into a broad delta that stretched its many fingers and ...

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pp. 52-61

In this chapter, we examine the history of a small section of Waikīkī adjacent to Kālia, an area profoundly linked to both life and death. Native Hawaiians who lived, worked, and fought in this land and its waters knew it as Kawehewehe. Its boundaries roughly correspond to the land beneath Kalākaua ...

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pp. 62-73

Helumoa is a section of Waikīkī associated with royalty— Hawai‘i’s ruling ali‘i who lived in the area, and foreign “kings” and “queens” of industry who vacationed at the famous Royal Hawaiian Hotel, built in 1927. Well before modern times, Helumoa was a residence and playground for the most privileged kānaka maoli. This legacy was exploited by the shipping, ...

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pp. 74-87

Uluniu is a section of Waikīkī once favored by ali‘i, kāhuna, and kānaka maoli of all castes who loved the area’s surf and its branch of ‘Āpuakēhau Stream. In this chapter, we examine the ways in which these Native Hawaiians’ practices in Uluniu and throughout Waikīkī have been valued or devalued. In so doing, we will see that value has much to do with what...

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pp. 88-99

In this chapter, we explore the transformations that occurred on a relatively small parcel of Waikīkī once called Kaluaokau. Today it is known as the International Market Place, a hodgepodge of shops, restaurants, and vending carts off Kalākaua Avenue, sandwiched between the Waikīkī Beachcomber and Sheraton Princess Ka‘iulani Hotels. As its current....

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pp. 100-113

In this chapter, we explore the myths that surround Hawai‘i and the feminine in relation to a Waikīkī place where two of the islands’ most famous women of modern times lived. The region, Hamohamo, runs from the Ala Wai Canal to the sea between today’s Ka‘iulani and ‘Ōhua Avenues. Both streets bear witness to the two important women that once made ...

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Kāneloa and Kapua

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pp. 114-125

Today’s Kapi‘olani Park, named in honor of King Kalākaua’s queen, is made up of Kāneloa and Kapua, two former land divisions that were once part of the Waikīkī ahupua‘a. Although the names “Kāneloa” and “Kapua” survive in the present—for a seasonal wetland and a sea channel, respectively—most visitors think of the park in terms of modern-day, built environments ...

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pp. 126-138

In our journey through Waikīkīs history, we have seen how colonialism and capitalism have ravaged land and water and dispossessed those who harnessed both for their livelihoods. The three streams that formerly fed Waikīkī’s wetlands have been largely eradicated, and much of the area’s bays and reefs, which used to teem with sea life, have been stilled. Where...

Waikiki Timeline

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pp. 139-146


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pp. 147-163


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pp. 164-166


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pp. 167-170

Historical Figures

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pp. 171-174

List of Images

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pp. 175-182


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pp. 183-188

E-ISBN-13: 9780824865528
Print-ISBN-13: 9780824829797

Publication Year: 2006

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Waikiki (Honolulu, Hawaii) -- History.
  • Waikiki (Honolulu, Hawaii) -- Social life and customs.
  • Waikiki (Honolulu, Hawaii) -- Description and travel.
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