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
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