HONOLULU — Honolulu officers on Tuesday launched a brand new interpretive plaque for 4 massive boulders within the heart of Waikiki that honor Tahitian healers of twin female and male spirit who visited Oahu some 500 years in the past.

The centuries-old boulders — one for every of the 4 visiting healers — are protected by an iron fence in a beachside park surrounded by inns and retailers within the coronary heart of the world-renowned vacationer district. The monument is named the stones of Kapaemahu, after the group’s chief.

In keeping with tales handed down orally, the boulders had been positioned on Waikiki’s shore on the time of the healers’ go to. However the stones turned uncared for extra not too long ago. In 1941, a bowling alley was even constructed over them and remained there for 20 years.

The sooner plaque dates to 1997. It does not acknowledge the healers had been “mahu,” which in Hawaiian language and tradition refers to somebody with twin female and male spirit and a combination of gender traits.

Students blame that omission on the homophobia and transphobia pervasive in Hawaii after the introduction of Christianity. Missionaries pushed apart gender fluidity’s deep roots in Hawaiian tradition and taught believers to suppress something that deviated from clearly outlined female and male gender roles and shows.

The brand new plaque is hooked up to a stone in entrance of the iron fence.

“Please respect this cultural website of reverence,” the signal says. “There are lots of tales of those 4 healers from Tahiti, recognized for duality of female and male spirit and their wonderous works of therapeutic.” The plaque features a QR code and the handle to a web site with extra details about the stones and their historical past.

Kumu Charlani Kalama, whose title “kumu” is the Hawaiian language time period for grasp instructor, carried out a blessing with ti leaves and salt. Kumu Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu draped lei on the fence.

Joe Wilson, a member of a gaggle that pushed for signage acknowledging a extra full story of the stones, mentioned monuments and public artwork are highly effective symbols of who and what are valued by a neighborhood.

“Kapaemahu ought to and will likely be a shining instance of a metropolis that honors and celebrates its tradition, range and all who go to or name it residence,” Wilson mentioned on the blessing ceremony.

The story of the stones was initially handed down orally, like all tales in Hawaii earlier than the introduction of the written language within the 1800s. The primary written account appeared in a 1906 manuscript by James Alapuna Harbottle Boyd, the son-in-law of Archibald Cleghorn, who owned the Waikiki property the place the stones had been on the time.

Wong-Kalu, who’s mahu and a neighborhood chief, mentioned she stopped by Boyd’s grave earlier than the ceremony to pay her respects and specific her gratitude that he wrote down the story for subsequent generations.

“If not for his recordation of this, we’d not have the ability to inform this story as we speak,” Wong-Kalu mentioned.

Honolulu’s mayor mentioned the way forward for tourism lies in instructing guests in regards to the tradition of a spot so that they admire it for greater than its stunning seashores and the ocean. The stones will help do this, he mentioned.

“I’m hoping is that the people who find themselves will notice that it’s simply not 4 stones in Waikiki. There’s a that means and a historical past and even a spirituality,” Mayor Rick Blangiardi mentioned after the ceremony.

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