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The Hawaiian Islands
Located more than 2,000 miles away from the nearest landfall, Hawaii is the most remote island chain in the world. Hawaii consists of eight major islands plus 124 minor islands, reefs and shoals, strung across the Pacific for over 1,500 miles. The eight major islands are O'ahu, Maui, Hawai'i (known as "the Big Island"), Kaua'i, Moloka'i, Lāna'i, Kaho'olawe (uninhabited) and Ni'ihau (privately owned).
Each of the major islands has a personality all its own. Oahu is as different from Moloka'i and Maui as Kaua'i is from Lāna'i and the Big Island. With their collective mass of 4.1 million acres or 6,450 square miles, these islands form the fourth smallest state in the United States.
Hawaii's story is that of creation - islands born from the Pacific depths some 40 million years ago. Hawaii continues to be shaped by the capricious forces of fire, magma, rains, and winds. About 30 miles southwest of the active volcano Kilauea on the Big Island of Hawaii, the newest island in the chain, Loihi, is forming - the newest land on earth.
Hawai'i Island - "The Big Island"
Kalani is located in the district of Puna, which is located on the southeast coast of Hawaii Island - also known as "the Big Island". Most people make the logical mistake that Honolulu, Waikiki, Pearl Harbor and all the rest of what the island of O'ahu is famous for would be on the Big Island of Hawaii. They are not. Adding to the confusion are the many names we have for our island. Some call it the "Orchid Isle", due to the 100,000 plus species of orchids grown here. Sometimes we are referred to as the "Volcano Island", which is also pretty reasonable since we are sitting on an active and often very spectacular volcano. "Big Island", however, is the name most people who live in the state call this magical place.
The Big Island is a land of myths and legends that are never really far from our minds, since we are always conscious of the mountains, the jungle, the sea and especially the volcano -- the natural elements that gave rise to the legends and myths themselves. According to Hawaiian legends, Hawaii's Big Island is the home of Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire. For many years Pele shaped and formed her new abode, using red-hot lava to create her unique fortress. Early Hawaiians respected and honored Pele, and made offerings to please her or placate her wrath. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was created to preserve the region's unique volcanic features, its early human history and the plant and animal life that is part of this special bioregion.
The Hawaiian Islands have a wide variety of plant, marine and animal life. Vegetation zones include: coastal, dry land forest, mixed open forest, rain forest, sub alpine and alpine. More than 90 percent of the native plants and animals living in Hawaii are found nowhere else in the world, and a greater variety of fish exist in Hawaiian waters than elsewhere. Hawaii is sometimes called the Endangered Species Capital of the World. At least one third of all the endangered species in the United States are found in Hawaii including the Nene Goose (official state bird), the Humpback Whale (official state marine mammal), the Pacific Green Sea Turtle (Honu) and the Hawaiian owl (Pueo).
Man poses a greater threat than nature to Hawaii's native flora and fauna. Here at Kalani, we consider ourselves stewards of the land and sustain an eco-friendly community with conservation in mind. We use electrical power that is mostly created by a geothermal unit located in Puna.
The Healing Island
Here, amidst the incredible beauty of the Hawaiian Islands, healing and personal transformation seem to be accelerated. The Big Island of Hawaii has long been known as the healing island. The spirit of Pele, the goddess of the volcano, has a way of cutting through blockages and bringing to light our innermost yearnings. Whatever one wishes for often manifests very quickly here.
Over 1200 years ago, the Polynesians traveled thousands of miles over open sea to find Hawai'i. Legend suggests that what drew these people across the ocean was the vision of paradise in the North Pacific. Their knowledge drew them to a place in which the spirit of lokahi (harmony of mind, body and spirit) encourages peace and restoration, while the volcanic power fuels possibilities for creative synthesis. Native Hawaiians, with their belief in the union of matter and spirit, have long recognized the healing properties of the landscape.
Hawai'i Island has become a center of healing, a place where profound native Hawaiian healing traditions have fused with Eastern and Western medical practices to create an international center of innovative treatment based on centuries of accumulated knowledge. Today people journey from around the world to experience the rejuvenating energy of the island. We invite you to join us on your own healing journey.
Ala Kahaki, the ancient Hawai'ian trail
From Island Scene Magazine, Summer 2008
Blazing a Historic Trail
The Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail will open a window to the Big Island’s past.
By Lucy Jokiel
Imagine a 175-mile continuous, community-managed path winding along the entire western and southeastern shorelines of the Big Island of Hawai‘i that is open to hiking enthusiasts, archeologists, cultural practitioners and educators eager to learn more about Hawaiian history and culture.
Aric Arakaki, superintendent for the National Park Service’s (NPS) Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, says that vision is slowly becoming a reality. The long-term goal is to turn this government plan into a community program that is self-sufficient and sustainable. “We are restoring this trail along with Hawaiians, and others, to honor their ancestors, who built this awesome culture.”
The “trail by the sea” passes through four national parks and all five volcanoes on the island. It contains the ancient Ala Loa (long trail), the major land route connecting the coastal reaches of most ahupua‘a (traditional land divisions). “My roots have always been in the community,” says Arakaki, who was born and raised in Kalihi.
The Ala Loa served as the major land route connecting more than 600 communities of the island kingdom of Hawai‘i between the 15th and 18th centuries. It links the sites of a series of events of major significance to the Hawaiian culture, including Capt. James Cook’s landing and subsequent death at Kealakekua Bay, Kamehameha’s rise to power, and the arrival of the first Western missionaries.