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Image and Reality in Polynesian Voyaging | Lihue, HI

Kauai Historical Society | By climbing
P.O. Box 1778, Lihue, HI 96766
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808.245.3373 Visit Website


Image and Reality in Polynesian Voyaging 

Kaua‘i is visually stunning and rich in history from ancient to modern times. Stone works and taro terraces tell its history and you’ll also find it in letters among missionary families, in milling stones saved from early sugar plantation days and in the first-hand accounts of Kauaians who recall defensive barbed-wire fences strung on beaches during World War II.

The prehistory of Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau is written in stoneworks and taro terraces. It's unearthed in natural history treasures such as root casts and bird fossils eroding out of lithified sand dunes, and in excavated sites that yield dog-bone fish hooks, coral abraders and chisels made of basalt flake. 

White sands lapped by turquoise wavelets, swaying coconut palms and lissome hula dancers are familiar travel poster images of Polynesia. Discrepancies between image and reality are merely risible. Anyone who lives in Hawaii knows how little the images reflect real island life. Others, such as the frequency of visitor drownings on Kauai, shows it can put people in real danger. Not only do false images mislead hapless tourists, they affect historical and anthropological studies. In the discussion, never before shown authentic canoe building and sailing footage will be shown. 


At the Kaua‘i Historical Society, we're bringing history to life. Our mission is to collect, preserve, and disseminate the oral, written and pictorial history of Kaua‘i County; to protect and preserve historic sites; and to educate ourselves and the public about the history and cultures of Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau. 

The Society's vast collection, available by appointment for use, is located in its home at the centrally located historic Kaua‘i County Building in Lihu‘e. 

The collection includes 12,000-plus photographs; 3,200 maps; plantation records; The Garden Island newspaper, 1911 to present; 25 cabinet drawers of subject files; 4,500 books; personal papers from local families and organizations; and the Guslander Coco Palms Museum collection. We're digitizing the collection to make it easier for you to use. 

LIHU‘E — Those looking for tasty recipes or an affordable gift idea will enjoy a copy of the Kaua‘i Historical Society’s “Cook ‘Em Up Kaua‘i.”

This collection of 334 recipes was originally published in 1993 and reprinted several times before going out of print.

The book includes recipes for cocktails, pupus, salads, vegetarian dishes, tasty chicken and beef, as well as savory egg and cheese dishes — all approved and enjoyed by local families and chefs. There are also tempting desserts, cakes, cookies and pies using pineapple, lilikoi, bananas, guava and chocolate. Fair warning, calorie counts are not included.

You can find this and more at the Kaua‘i Historical Society. Please join us on our journey to collect and preserve the unique history of Kaua‘i. At the Kaua‘i Historical Society, we’re bringing history to life! 

Kaua‘i Historical Society 

P.O. Box 1778, Lihu‘e, HI 96766 

Telephone: (808) 245-3373 

Fax: (808) 245-8693 

Email: info@kauaihistoricalsociety.org

Our Physical address is:  

Historic County Building 

4396 Rice Street

Suite 101

Lihue, HI 96766

Hours of Operation 

Monday-Friday, 8:30 am - 4:00 pm. Research by appointment only.