NORTH SHORE, Oahu (KHNL)- There was a ceremony steeped in culture for the grand reopening of a North Shore park. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs bought Waimea Valley in June. Native Hawaiians say this will help preserve their history.
Hawaiians say the nearly nineteen hundred acre valley located on the north shore is rich in historical and cultural significance. It's now owned by OHA, a quasi state entity dedicated to helping native hawaiians. OHA says it'll use the park to help perpetuate Hawaiian culture. PHA trustee Haunani Apoliona says the real value in the park is "how we bring back the community and heal the history of this valley, and build for the future around what is special to this valley."
The twenty-nine million park is the last intact ahupuaa, a mountain to ocean land division, on Oahu. Apoliona says, "It's important Waimea be a beacon for Hawaiian culture."
A previous plan was for the landowner to subdivide the back of the valley into eight residential lots and establishing an ecological camp for tourists. North shore residents and environmental groups opposed the development plans. Lt. Governor Duke Aiona says the fact that that didn't happen is a testament to the strong North Shore community. "It shows they as a community can come together and be a force in what they want to see, or how they want to see their community developed."
Now the pristine and historically significant valley will be preserved for many to enjoy, like tourist Ryan Jones and his family, visiting from Los Angeles. "It's great to have an area that's set aside where there's plants, wildlife, and no development, and you're able to see it in its natural beauty."