Kona Historical Society New Exhibits

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Kona Historical Society announced the opening of three exhibits that highlight the rich agricultural and cultural history of Kona, which will be on display for the public at the West Hawai‘i Community Health Center in Kealakehe through September 27, 2018.

The exhibits, Kona Ranching & Kona Cowboys, From Deep Forest to Deep Sea: The Celebrated Koa of Kona, and Gather & Grind: Kona Eats! share the diverse stories of land use in Kona, from agricultural and cultural use to food cultivation and preparation. The exhibits are free to the community, and are located at 74-5214 Keanalehu Dr.

Cowboys herding cattle through the street in Kailua-Kona and toward the holding pen. PC Kona Historical Society

Kona Ranching & Kona Cowboys shares the story of the successful arrival of the first cattle to Hawai‘i at Kealakekua Bay, and how Kona’s unique landscapes shaped the distinctive paniolo culture and lifestyle. 

Master canoe builders Frank Henriques, Charles Mokuohai and Antone Grace pulling a hulled koa log onto a trailer at Kealakekua Ranch-Photo by Norman Carlson. PC: Kona Historical Society

From Deep Forest to Deep Sea: The Celebrated Koa of Kona exhibits the community of skilled canoe builders, voyagers, fishermen and paddlers which emerged from the presence of Kona’s immense koa trees and a sea ideal for fishing, gathering and travel.

Masaru Deguchi, Wilfred Tabata, Toshiyo Yoshizaki, George Nakamoto, Norma (Tabata) Nakamoto, Thelma Tabata, Lorrain Tabata and Karen Hakoda. Photograph by Adrian Harvey Saxe, date unknown. PC: Kona Historical Society


Gather & Grind: Kona Eats is an ‘ono exhibit sharing the delectable foods of Kona, from steak and crab to poi and ‘opelu. The skills and innovative techniques used for harvesting and preparing these delicious dishes have been passed down for generations and continue to be practiced today.

The three exhibits together share the rich connections between the land, sea and her people, as well as the resiliency of Kona families through vast changes to the land and local lifestyle. “As a community health center we are proud to partner with the Kona Historical Society and provide a venue to promote our local history,” said Natasha Ala, director of marketing for WHCHC. “I’m sure many of our patients, and our staff, will know people in the pictures and feel pride in how their friends and families helped shape our community.”

Kona Historical Society is a community-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and Smithsonian Museum affiliate that has spent the past four decades collecting, preserving and sharing the history of the Kona districts and their rich cultural heritage within Hawai‘i.


For more information, call Kona Historical Society at (808) 323-3222 or visit www.konahistorical.org.

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