Chiefess of Ha'ena - An Area Ruled Exclusively by Women
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Visiting Kauai for a vacation? Have you fully prepared your checklist of the must see places? If not, I recommend adding Ha’ena to your list. Ha’ena is a must visit historic site when you’re in the North Shore. Let us tell you some of its history.
In Ha’ena, archeologists discovered an ancient Hawaiian settlement that through carbon dating, was found to have been established around 300 A.D. Yes, almost 2000 years ago! It’s said that the village of Ha’ena was always ruled by a female chief. There are lost of interesting stories about how King Kamehameha the Great failed to conquer the island Kauai. And after failing to conquer Kauai twice, Kamehameha decided that he would persuade the King of Kauai by sending envoys to negotiate a truce. High Chiefess Kekela was one of those envoys. The King of Kauai greeted her warmly and gifted her the area now known as Ha’ena. Some historians said that the High Chiefess accepted the sweet deal and never returned to Kamehameha.
Another thing Ha’ena was famous for, was its high quality dog meat. Yep, you heard it right. Dog meat. You see, according to the rules of ancient Hawaii, women were not allowed to eat certain kinds of fish, banana and even pork! So instead, Hawaiian women would often eat dogs. There was even a special breed of dog, called the poi dog, that was especially fattened by poi - or cooked taro - for its high quality meat. Since Ha’ena was ruled by generations of woman chiefs, of course dogs were what was on the dinner menu!
If you have come prepared to do some snorkeling, Ha’ena is home to one of the best places to snorkel on the island: Tunnels Reef. It’s a large area of reef, somewhat protected by the reef itself - but as usual, if it’s during the winter, or if the ocean is not quite calm, it might be wise to skip it. You be the judge. Aside from the ocean conditions, another problem about Tunnels is the very, very limited parking. If that’s the case with you when you visit, our suggestion would be to try back another day and arrive early in the morning, or park at Ha’ena beach down the road and walk about half a mile back to Tunnels Reef.
Want to check out Ha'ena and Tunnels Reef?
Take our North Shore Kauai Tour!