Grad students seek to restore Dole Street's Hawaiian name

(Image: Archive)
(Image: Archive)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Archive)
(Image: Archive)

MANOA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Before Dole Street became Dole Street it was called by its Hawaiian name -- Kapa'akea Street.

University of Hawaii graduate student Kepoo Keliipaakaua found it on an 1882 survey map of the Manoa area. Kapa'akea means coral bedrock or limestone.

"This is the type you'll see a lot in the leeward side, and especially around Ewa or the Honouliuli area," Keliipaakaua said.

In the 1950s, though, Hawaii's territorial government changed the name to Dole Street to honor Sanford Dole's family.

Dole was a lawyer and Hawaii's first territorial governor. But many consider him an enemy of Hawaiian royalty and friend of the elite immigrant community.

"The name Dole perpetuates this legacy of what occurred during the illegal overthrow, the occupation of Hawaii," Keliipaakaua said.

Given that, the University of Hawaii Graduate Student Organization is trying to spur the city to restore Dole Street to its Hawaiian name.

"We're going door to door down Dole Street to talk to folks, seeing if they'll be supportive of the name change. We have to get at least over 50 percent of the residents on board," GSO president Amy McKee said.

Some will view it as an inconvenience. Residents would have to change the street name on their IDs and all personal documents.

But Dole Street resident Coline Aiu supports the idea.

"Mango trees are gone. Plum trees are gone. So many things are gone. And I think within the street names you can recall the history. We want a positive history," she said.

Besides community support, the city Department of Land Utilization, the Honolulu Fire Department, Honolulu Police Department and the post office have to all agree to the name change.

"It's for all the right reasons," McKee said. "We're doing our best to call it Kapa'akea Street now. But we'll catch each other saying Dole and gently correct each other."

The Manoa Neighborhood Board drafted a resolution for the name change.  Board members will vote on it at their February meeting.

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