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by Jennifer Ching, staff writer

 

HPU is practically part of a historic corridor that extends from the Pali Lookout through Chinatown, ending at Pearl Harbor. The area includes numerous natural and cultural heritage sites and was established by the state legislature in 2007. That may be why state Representative Corinne Ching hosts an annual Candlelit Tour each spring, of the Nu‘uanu-Liliha area.
The Feb. 6 tour recognized religious sites, such as St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, the Korean Christian Church, the Sanju Pagoda, Ma‘ema‘e Chapel, and the Young Buddhist Association. It also included historical sites such as Queen Emma’s Summer Palace and the Nu‘uanu Pali where King Kamehameha’s army forced its opponent off a cliff and unified the Hawaiian Islands.
The third annual tour started with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center and visited, in order, the Korean Consulate, Queen Emma’s Summer Palace, the Academy of the Pacific, the Nu‘uanu ‘Auwai, and the Philippine Consulate. Many of the sites are not usually accessible to the general public, so openings for the tour filled up fast, according to Ching.
“ We usually have to turn away about 40 people,” Ching said.
At the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center, Director General Philip Wong told guests that in 1912, a Democratic China was beginning to emerge, and in 1942, when Communist Chinese defeated the republic, it moved to Taiwan. Today, Taiwan supplies 92.3 percent of the world’s high-tech products such as cell phones, PDAs, LCD flat-screens, and numerous other electronics.
At the Korean Consulate, the guests learned that Korean immigrants came to Hawai‘i in 1903, hoping to escape the Japanese take-over. They were able to raise $1 million to establish the Korean Consulate in Hawai‘i, now one of 10 Korean Consulates in the United States. Korean immigrants in Hawai‘i provided the strongest U.S. base for support of Korea’s independence from Japan, and solid U.S. relations with Korea made possible its miraculous economic development and remarkable democratization over the past 50 years.
Also in 1903, The Daughters of Hawai‘i was founded by seven daughters of American Protestant missionaries born in Hawai‘i and citizens of the Hawaiian Kingdom before annexation. As they witnessed the inevitable loss of much of Hawai‘i’s culture, they strove to protect what they could.
“ The fight for preservation is an ongoing battle,” said Ching. “They wanted to preserve the Hawaiian architecture, and more specifically, the language.”
The Daughters of Hawai‘i saved Queen Emma’s Summer Palace from being demolished in 1924, and they continue to manage it as a visitor destination.
The Academy of the Pacific memorializes a family’s dedication to education. The daughters of John Mason Young, who helped to start the University of Hawai‘i, willed their land to be used for a school. The four-acre campus is dotted with historic buildings and small-cottage classrooms. The Academy has a total enrollment of 150 students in grades 6 through 12, with an average class size of 10 students. Its goal is to offer a small-school setting to provide a nurturing academic environment, personalized instruction, and individual scheduling for students.
“ The Nu‘uanu ‘Auwai is listed as one of 2008’s most endangered historic sites in Hawai‘i,” said Ching, who explained that it is an irrigation system that flows through the Nu‘uanu area. It was used to create fertile taro farms, which once covered the entire area. Today, one traditional lo‘i patch still exists in the region, adjacent to the Gabriel House and open to visitors.
“ I regularly have young children come out on school fieldtrips to see the patch and listen to the ‘Auwai,” owner Edward Gabriel said. A visitor to the Gabriel house would hardly know how close it is to Pali Highway. A waterfall adjacent to the patch blocks out the sound of the highway.
The final destination on the Candlelit Tour was once the summer home of a German Planter. It became the German Consulate in the early 1900s. In 1906, 15 Philippine citizens came to Hawai‘i, the first of thousands. Today, the building—which has many traditional chandeliers as well as time-honored artwork—is the Philippine Consulate.
Ching said that the tour should give people “an appreciation of the diversity and authentic charm of this area and inspire people that these places exist and are valuable.
“ It’s not just the charm, but the health of the community,” she continued. “If we have beautiful places to live, we are healthy. I’m trying to build a sense of community. We do believe that the end goal that we focus on is a happy, healthy community.”

 
 

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