County purchases Puapuaa acreage in Kona

  • A wall of a heiau is seen at Puapuaa. (Courtesy photo/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • Puapuaa Wall is seen at the shoreline. (Courtesy photo/Special to West Hawaii Today)

  • Puapuaa Wall is seen with a house in the distance. (Courtesy photo/Special to West Hawaii Today)

The Puapuaa properties located makai of Alii Drive will now officially belong to the people of Hawaii County following the purchase of more than 12 acres in North Kona.

The purchase, announced Thursday by the Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resource Preservation (PONC), ensures the preservation of numerous pre-historic and historic cultural sites and structures on the property, including a burial complex and the Kauakaiakaola Heiau, according to a press release from the county.

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The $10.7 million cost for the parcels comes from 2% of real property taxes earmarked annually for the county’s Preservation Fund.

The Kauakaiakaola Heiau is among the most important historic and cultural sites in the state, along with other West Hawaii historic sites such as Keolanahihi, Mookini Heiau, and Puuhonua O Honaunau. The areas were the home of pre-contact era Hawaiians, and their preservation will enable people of Hawaii today to better understand the past.

“The acquisition is the largest single funded open space acquisition in the history of the County’s Preservation Program,” said Mayor Harry Kim. “This purchase of a very significant tract of lands will safeguard so many historical treasures. My congratulations to everyone who worked so hard for this.”

The Puapuaa properties are comprised of approximately 12.639 acres and are located approximately two miles south of Kailua Village on the makai side of Alii Drive, and north of the Casa de Emdeko Condominiums.

“It’s been honor to play even a small part in bringing this auspicious purchase to fruition during my first term in office. I’ve driven past this property thousands of times and always dreamed of it becoming a park for our community. Thank you to all the hands and hearts that have worked for decades to bring this purchase to fruition,” said Kona Councilwoman Rebecca Villegas. “I look forward to working side by side with the lineal descendants, cultural practitioners and other stake holders to restore this property and preserve our coastline.”

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The Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Preservation Fund is used to acquire land or easements for public outdoor recreation and education, including mauka/makai access, historic or culturally important areas and sites, natural resources, significant habitat or ecosystems, forests, beaches, coastal areas, natural beautify, agricultural lands, and watersheds.

For more information, contact Property Management at (808) 961-8009 or the Department of Finance at (808) 961-8234.

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