KAPAA, KAUAI – The drum shown in the adjacent photo is made from the coconut trees originally grown on the new Longs Drug store site which opened on November 9, 2014 in Kapa’a, Kauai. The project included the relocation and replanting of a large number of its coconut trees in order to preserve the grove-like appearance of the world famous ‘Golden Coconut Coast’. As part of efforts made by the developer, KZ Companies, and the GC, Allied Builders System, to work with the community, the trees that were taken down were recycled with local organizations.
In Hawaii it is a tradition to have a Hawaiian Blessing at the start of a construction project and again when the store opens. KZ Companies has always made sure to honor this tradition with its Longs Drugs projects. During the first blessing of the Kapaa site, it was brought to our attention that one of the local hālau hula, (hula schools) was in need of sections of coconut trees to construct traditional Hawaiian drums for use in The Merrie Monarch Festival. This festival is a weeklong cultural event that takes place annually in Hilo, Hawaii. It honors King David Kalākaua, who was called the ‘Merrie Monarch’ in reference to his patronage of the arts and who is credited with restoring many Hawaiian cultural traditions during his reign, including the hula. Many hālau hulas, including some from the U.S. mainland and some international performers, attend the festival each year to participate in exhibitions and competitions. The festival has received worldwide attention and is considered the most prestigious of all hula contests. Once the trees were cleared and cut into sections, the hālau came to the site and filled four trucks with material for creation of the drums. Every year drums are made for the festival on a different Hawaiian Island and in April 2014 the festival was held here in Kauai. Three of the drums used in this prestigious festival were lovingly made from the coconut trees that were repurposed from the Longs site in Kapaa.
By working with the local people here in Kauai, we have been fortunate to not only contribute a new project to the community, but also to enjoy the chance to add to the Hawaiian tradition and heritage. For more information on the grand opening and blessing, please see our featured article in TGI News: http://thegardenisland.com/news/local/long-awaited/article_afd61ff6-6892-11e4-9e89-9f2ffc36bae3.html?mode=story.