Using Hawaiian language as a political weapon by demanding that the names of places and streets must be Hawaiian -- historical background and 4 case studies: Thurston Ave. (Kamakaeha), Barbers Point (Kalaeloa), Dillingham Military Reservation (Kawaihapai), Fort Barrette Road (Kualakai).

(c) Copyright 2010 by Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved

Introduction and historical background

Hawaiian language is a great cultural treasure for Hawaii and the world. But it is also a weapon currently being used by Hawaiian sovereignty activists to seek political power and control of land. One of the ways Hawaiian language is used as a political weapon is to demand that the names of places and streets must be Hawaiian. This demand is usually presented as a way to preserve the Hawaiian culture and heritage. That makes it seem honorable and sweet. Bleeding-heart liberals love it.

But this demand has a very clear racist and/or anti-American thrust when ethnic Hawaiian sovereignty activists try to remove English-language commemorative names of historical persons, ships, or battles from the streets on military bases, or even the names of entire bases. Doing this is a form of ethnic cleansing, since nearly all the people-names to be disappeared are Caucasian. Removing the American military heritage from the names of places and streets is also a first step toward removing the military from Hawaii altogether, which in turn is a step toward ripping the 50th star off the flag and removing U.S. sovereignty from Hawaii.

Sovereignty activists hate the U.S. military for two reasons. (1) In January 1893 the U.S. sent 162 peacekeepers ashore from a Navy ship in Honolulu Harbor to protect American life and property and prevent rioting and arson during the revolution that overthrew the monarchy. Sovereignty activists characterize that event as an armed invasion by U.S. Marines which toppled the native government and replaced it with a U.S. puppet regime. (2) Sovereignty activists note that the U.S. continues to have huge numbers of military forces stationed in Hawaii. The activists characterize this as a belligerent military occupation of their homeland which has been ongoing ever since the overthrow. They resent not only the presence of large numbers of military personnel but also the large amount of land used for military bases and the "desecration" of "sacred places" by military training maneuvers.

Before the arrival of Captain Cook, all names of places and trails were Hawaiian. But people from Europe, America, and Asia arrived in increasing numbers. Some became permanent residents, and some of those became naturalized subjects of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Many people with no native blood were born on Hawaiian soil and by law were therefore native-born Hawaiian subjects. Kingdom law gave native-born or naturalized subjects of the Kingdom who lacked Hawaiian native blood fully equal rights with subjects who had native blood. They could vote, own property, and serve as government officials regardless of ancestry. The only government official required to have native blood was the monarch -- a requirement somewhat analogous to the provision in the U.S. Constitution which says that the only government official required to have been born in America is the President.

By the time the Kingdom census of 1890 was taken, the total population of Hawaii was 89,990, of whom only 34,436 were full-blooded natives and 6,186 were part-Hawaiian. Thus ethnic Hawaiians (full or part) were only 45% of the population. The decade of the 1890s saw turbulent political and social change, with massive immigration of Asians. The first U.S. Census for Hawaii (1900) counted 29,799 full-blooded natives and 9,857 part-Hawaiians in a total population of 154,001, so that ethnic Hawaiians (full or part) were only 26% of the population.

People from outside Hawaii, and their local-born children, built homes and businesses. They built roads for horses, buggies, and cars, and gave names to them in their own languages. Thus there came to be an increasing number of places and streets with names that were not Hawaiian. As ethnic Hawaiians moved to the towns and villages, rural areas became sparsely populated. After a few generations many ancient Hawaiian place-names were forgotten, or ignored in favor of new names. During both the Kingdom and Territorial periods most of the new names were English, because Caucasian people of American or British ancestry were the owners of the vast majority of newly built places and companies.

Since the 1980s there has been increasing interest in reviving the old Hawaiian names of places and trails. Many of those names have literal or poetic meanings in Hawaiian language describing geological features, weather, or legends about what the gods or people did there -- Waimanalo, Manoa, Makakilo, Makua, Kaho'olawe (Ke kohe [lawe] malamalama o Kanaloa was its legendary name, identifying it as the shining [portable] vagina of Kanaloa, or the place that nourishes and takes exceptionally good care of something), Mauna Kea (Mauna a Wakea [mountain of the sky-father god Wakea]), Ha'iku (interrupted speech [a chief killed by a spear in the middle of a speech?], or else speech made while standing up for something?). Even if an ancient place-name has been irretrievably forgotten, activists or businessmen create a new name that is Hawaiian. Some newly invented names merely sound Hawaiian but are grammatically incorrect, such as Lanikai. But realtors know it's important for a place to have a Hawaiian-sounding name (being correct doesn't matter) in order to command a high price, because buyers from the mainland (who don't speak Hawaiian but are wealthy) want to feel they are getting a genuine piece of paradise.

Hawaiian sovereignty activists understand that naming a place is one of the most important ways of asserting ownership or control of it. According to he Bible, God gave man the authority to name all the animals as a sign that he had given man dominion over them. According to a Hawaiian proverb: "I ka 'olelo no ke ola, i ka 'olelo no ka make" which means: In language there is life, in language there is death. Thus naming streets is a way of asserting authority over them through an act of political power. Streets with haole or Hawaiian names mark the territory as being haole or Hawaiian in the same way as an animal urinates on a place to leave a scent mark asserting control of it.

That's why the sovereignty activists pushed an ordinance through the Honolulu County Council in 1978 requiring that every street on Oahu must have a Hawaiian name. 1978 was a time of intense Hawaiian sovereignty activism including a state Constitutional Convention which created the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and established Hawaiian as an official language of the state along with English; so it was a good year to persuade the county council to pass the street name ordinance.

As the county's corporation counsel later ruled, the ordinance applies only to streets that are new after the ordinance was adopted, so existing street names did not need to be changed. In fact no old names were changed on account of the new law. As discussed below, the question arose in 1999 regarding Barbers point, whether transfer of ownership to the state and/or county would make the Barbers Point streets "new" on account of the fact that they are newly under the authority of the county. But the corporation counsel ruled that change of ownership is irrelevant to the word "new", which refers to newly built roads rather than newly transferred ones.

The street names portion of the ordinance is the same today as it was when adopted. ROH 22-8.3 is the abbreviated name for Revised Ordinances of Honolulu, Chapter 22, Section 8.3. It can be found at

The ordinance is not at all clear about what makes a name "Hawaiian." Certainly a name like Kamehameha is Hawaiian. But what about the name of another man who was born on Hawaiian soil and therefore a subject of the Kingdom, who grew up to be elected to the Kingdom legislature representing a district on Hawaii island, and helped write the last Constitution of the Kingdom? His name was William Ansel Kinney, and he was Hawaiian by birth and nationality, although not by blood. Could a newly built street be named "Kinney St.?" Isn't that a Hawaiian name, just like Kamehameha? Among the reasons the sovereignty activists would not like to have a Kinney St. is that Kinney helped overthrow the monarchy in 1893, was among the leaders of the Provisional Government and Republic of Hawaii, and in his official capacity signed the Treaty of Annexation which the Republic offered in 1897 and the U.S. accepted in 1898. But what about names like Auld and Campbell? William Auld and Alice Campbell were ethnic Hawaiians despite the fact that their names don't sound Hawaiian, and they were also important leaders in opposing annexation. Would their names qualify as "Hawaiian" according to the Honolulu ordinance? How could names that don't sound Hawaiian, like Auld and Campbell, be Hawaiian, even though they were not government officials; but Kinney is not Hawaiian even though he was a native-born subject who served in the Kingdom government? Perhaps it's all about race, or political loyalty to the "right" (although losing) side in a revolution, or both. Imagine the reaction if someone tries naming a new street Kahulikamaha'o -- a clearly Hawaiian name which means "wonderful overthrow."

The remainder of this webpage is devoted to four examples of demands by Hawaiian sovereignty activists to change the names of places or streets. Three of these examples were failures, resulting in no name changes but large expenditures of time and money by government officials and concerned citizens who had to work very hard to overcome the demands. In one of the four examples the name of a military base was changed from the name of a Caucasian war hero whose father and grandfather were important figures in Hawaii's Territorial period, to the ancient Hawaiian name of the place.

Here are titles of the four examples, in chronological order. Scroll down to find them in the order listed.

1. Thurston Avenue. In February 1993 the activists wanted to change the name of "Thurston Avenue." The demand was made only a couple of weeks after the 100th anniversary of the revolution which overthrew the monarchy, in which Lorrin A. Thurston was a major leader. The proposed new name was "Kamakaeha" which is one of the birth names of Queen Lili'uokalani, who was ousted by Lorrin A. Thurston. The City Council passed a resolution supporting the name change, but the activists failed when they were unable to get a majority of property owners along Thurston Ave. to agree, as required by a Honolulu ordinance.

2. Barbers Point. In 1999 most of the land at Barbers Point Naval Air Station was given up by the U.S. and turned over to the State of Hawaii with the restored ancient name Kalaeloa. The activists wanted to change the street names, such as Bataan, Eisenhower, Yorktown to unspecified Hawaiian names. Several Honolulu government agencies were involved; many dozens of Hawaiian activists and military veterans testified; news reports and commentaries were published. When the activists failed, they had bills introduced in the state legislature during the 2000 and 2001 sessions, which also failed.
** NOTE#1: The narrative for this example #2 is very lengthy.
** Note #2: Many thanks to my friend, retired police sergeant Earl Arakaki, for important materials he shared with me regarding the Barbers Point controversy.

3. Dillingham Military Reservation: A bill was passed in the legislature in 2001 to change the name to Kawaihapai as soon as ownership of the base was handed over from the U.S. military to the State of Hawaii. In 2005 that transfer of ownership took place and the name was changed in the Hawaii Revised Statutes. Nevertheless everyone except a few diehard sovereignty activists continue to call it "Dillingham Airfield" as shown by 6 excerpts from 3 different TV station news reports during the period 2006-2010.

4. Fort Barrette Road. A resolution in the legislature in 2009 would have changed its name to Kualakai, the name of an ancient trail, even though that trail was somewhat distant from today's road and even though another street already has the name Kualakai. Many of the Hawaiian sovereignty activists demanding the name change, and many of the military veterans opposing it, had been involved in the Barbers Point controversy ten years previously; and Fort Barrette Road actually leads to the gate at the Kapolei/Makakilo end of Barbers Point. Thus example #4 (Fort Barrette Road) is in some ways a replay of example #2 (Barbers Point), and with the same outcome -- a tremendous waste of time resulting in no change.


There's an academic essay about place-names in Hawaii which is very pleasing to Hawaiian sovereignty activists and Marxist scholars. It portrays the non-Hawaiian names as being the result of colonialist conquest and commodification; and it portrays the attempt to remove the non-Hawaiian names and replace them with Hawaiian names as the beginning of an anti-colonial counter-revolution, or "anti-conquest."

Thus we see that the reason for demanding streets and places be given Hawaiian names is not primarily to give honor to Hawaiian heritage and preserve Hawaiian language and culture -- it is primarily an assertion of race-based political power and a demand for more.

The Aloha State: Place Names and the Anti-conquest of Hawai'i
Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 89(1) 1999 pp. 76-102
Author: R. D. K. Herman


Place names in the Hawaiian Islands reveal a transformation from being reflections of Hawaiian geographic discourse to being encoded within Western approaches to knowledge, commodification of the environment, and control of territory. In the course of this transformation, the language/order of the native peoples was displaced and subordinated to that of Western powers, ultimately the U.S. This process was part of the greater economic, political, cultural, and discursive transformation of the Islands since Western contact. This essay explores the transformation from Hawaiian political and cultural economy into Western-capitalist forms, using place names to elucidate the change in geographic meaning that accompanied this shift. In particular, the role of place names within colonial discourse is analyzed in terms of the imposition of logos—order, knowledge, language—onto a space rendered passive, unknowing, and feminized. That Hawaiian names themselves remain relatively intact while their use, meaning, and context has changed is understood through Pratt's notion of “anti-conquest” as expressed in the promotion of things Hawaiian once Hawaiians themselves were removed from power.

** The entire essay can be downloaded free of charge from the webpage for a course in the Department of Geography at Hunter College (City University of New York). Geography used to be the study of where nations and land masses are located, but now it's turned far-left political.


1. Thurston Avenue. In February 1993 the activists wanted to change the name of "Thurston Avenue." The demand was made only a couple of weeks after the 100th anniversary of the revolution which overthrew the monarchy, in which Lorrin A. Thurston was a major leader. The proposed new name was "Kamakaeha" which is one of the birth names of Queen Lili'uokalani, who was ousted by Lorrin A. Thurston. The City Council passed a resolution supporting the name change, but the activists failed when they were unable to get a majority of property owners along Thurston Ave. to agree, as required by a Honolulu ordinance.

In January 1993 there were perhaps 10,000 Hawaiian sovereignty activists who marched through the streets of Honolulu to Iolani Palace to commemorate (protest!) the 100th anniversary of the revolution of January 17, 1893 which overthrew the monarchy. One of the leaders of that revolution was Lorrin A. Thurston. A street in Honolulu bears his name: Thurston Ave. Lorrin's grandfather was Asa Thurston, a missionary, who arrived in 1820 on the first shipload of missionaries.

ROH 22-8.4(b)(3) Revised Ordinances of Honolulu, Chapter 22, Section 8.4 part b subpart 3 describes the procedure that must be followed to change a street name.

"In the case of a request to name a street, other than as part of the subdivision process, or to change an existing street name, the reasons for the proposed name or name change, and the names and addresses of all property owners fronting the street. Notices that a street name or name change has been proposed shall be circulated to all property owners and residents to determine their desires with respect to the proposal, and shall also be sent to the fire department, the police department and the post office. The director of land utilization may approve a name or name change only as to which the approval of a majority of the owners and residents, together with the approval of the fire department, police department and post office, has been obtained. The applicant for a name or name change shall assume responsibility for conducting a poll to establish that the proposed name is desired by the majority of the property owners and residents; however, the applicant may request the city to conduct the poll for changes affecting 10 or less properties."

There were several news reports about the controversy in the Honolulu Advertiser and Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Commentaries and letters to editor were published by some notable people. Donna Mercado Kim, at that time a County Council member (who later became a state Senator) was the sponsor of the resolution to change the name. Longtime much-beloved Advertiser commentator Bob Krauss, and U.S. District Judge Samuel P. King (son of Territorial Governor Samuel Wilder King) wrote humorous but forceful letters to editor opposing it.


Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday February 10, 1993, page A5
[copied from microfilm; no internet archives that far back]

Thurston Ave. caught in overthrow flap

by David Waite
Advertiser Capitol Bureau

Since Lorrin A. Thurston was a leading force in the Hawaiian Kingdom's overthrow, Thurston Avenue on the slope of Punchbowl should be renamed, according to a resolution introduced yesterday by City Councilwoman Donna Kim.

The resolution, also signed by Councilmen John DeSoto, Steve Holmes, John Felix and Andy Mirikitani and Council Chairman Gary Gill as co-introducers, denounces Thurston as a "radical insurgent who was the early leading force behind the 1893 overthrow of Queen Lili'uokalani."

The resolution claims a street named in Thurston's honor "is especially anachronistic" in light of the recent centennial observance of the overthrow. It asks the city Department of Land Utilization to rename the street "Kamakaeha Avenue" in Queen Lili'uokalani's honor based on her birth name, Liliu Kamakaeha."

The proposed name change would require the approval of more than half of the property owners whose land fronts Thurston Avenue, as well as the police and fire departments and post office.

Thurston Twigg-Smith, Lorrin A. Thurston's grandson and chairman of The Honolulu Advertiser, said he "can't believe Kim is serious."

"If she is trying to be a revisionist and make things politically correct, the task is much larger than she envisioned" Twigg-Smith said.

He said it is unclear whether Thurston Avenue was named for his great-great-grandfather Asa Thurston, who arrived in Kailua-Kona in 1820 as part of the first contingent of New England missionaries, or his grandfather Lorrin Thurston, who served as interior minister under King David Kalakaua.

Twigg-Smith said it may well have been the latter since Lorrin A. Thurston helped negotiate the treaty that brought Portuguese wrkers to Hawaii, many of whom settled in the Punchbowl area.

In any event, it can be argued that nine of the 13 men -- including Thurston -- who were members of the Committee of Public Safety that played a leading role in the monarchy's overthrow, had streets named after them, Twigg-Smith said.

They include Cooper Road for Henry Ernest Cooper; McCandless Lane for John A. McCandless; Smith Street for William Owen Smith; Castle Street for William Richards Castle; Wilcox Lane for Albert Spencer Wilcox; Waterhouse Street for Henry Waterhouse; Wilder Avenue for William Chauncey Wilder; and Brown Way for Andrew Brown.

Twigg-Smith said he believe Kim's resolution may be further fallout from an article he wrote last month in The Advertiser in which he said the overthrow was neither illegal nor was an apology needed.

The article raised the ire of many Hawaiian activists and drew a gibe from Gov. John Waihee.

Twigg-Smith said if the logic in Kim's resolution were taken to the extreme, McKinley High School may have to be renamed because William McKinley was president during the period the annexation of Hawaii as part of the United States was approved.

"If we're going to be thorough about all of this, maybe McKinley High should be changed to John Waihee Hgh School," Twigg-Smith said.

"It just seems a little weird to change a street name after 95 years," Twigg-Smith said.


Honolulu Sunday Star-Bulletin and Advertiser, February 21, 1993, page B3
[copied from microfilm; no internet archives that far back]

** Explanatory inset box: Several Honolulu City Council members have co-sponsored a resolution to change the name of Thurston Avenue, on the slope of Punchbowl, because of the name's association with the 1983 overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. Others say the Council shouldn't start playing with street names.

History hides in street names

by Bob Dye,
Special to the Advertiser

Which Thurston is it that the City Council wishes to strip of his street sign? That lovable ursine missionary hulk Asa, who translated parts of the Bible into Hawaiian, or that dapper rascal lawyer Lorrin who helped overthrow the monarchy?

To make sure the Council members had targeted the right street, I inquired at the State ArchIves. They were not sure, but I was told that Thurston Street appeared on a map dated 1892, a year before the overthrow, which made me think that it was Asa who was honored by the meet name, not his grandson.

But at the Municipal Reference Library I found a clipping from a 1956 Star-Bulletin series on street names that said the street was named for "Lorrin A. Thurston ... who had his residence there." It appears that the Council members were not only being political but correct, as well.

POLITICAL correctness in street names is not a new passion for members of Honolulu's legislative body. Pilikia over Honolulu street names occurred as soon as the government got into the street naming business in 1850.

At that date, all streets had Hawaiian names, even if they were named after haoles. For some reason, the privy council decided to change Likeke to Richards, Akamu to Adams, Kamlka to Smith. In all, 35 streets were officially named and signs erected.

The 1850 revolution in street names failed. Neither native Hawaiians nor haoles used the English names. All locals continued to direct visitors to the fort, "Makai Alanui Papu."

In 1923, there was a wholesale change of street names, in which two of my wife's family names, Magoon and Afong, were erased from the official street map. Her Hustace cousins also lost their street.

IT WAS no big thing, but the names Magoon and Hustace were replaced with Hawaiian words that had multiple meanings. Remember, these were the days before it was mandatory to use diacritical marks, which reduces the number of meanings available to a mischievous street name-giver.

We all know that the word Kuhio without one of the marks means silent fart.

Anyway, Magoon Lane was changed to Olomana, which sounds like pidgin for "old man," and Hustace Lane was changed to Lauahi, which means greedy and lecherous and a number of other bad things. So, there was at least an outside chance that some mischief had been done. Not so with Afong Lane, which was renamed for a missionary cum merchant, Henry Dimond.·

More disturbing to me than the replacement of the Afong name with that of a missionary was the disappearance of a number of other Oriental street names, including Yamamoto, Kubo, Goto, Uemura.

I think it is important that we not lose the sense that Honolulu is a city of immigrants, many of whom had to find new relationships under hostile conditions.

YOU WILL recall that a wave of anti-Japanese feeling had swept over Honolulu In the early '20s. At that time, a writer for Paradise of the Pacific explained, "The Orienta! races are practically all of small stature, yellow or brown color and. in the case of Japanese, characterized by flat features, protruding teeth and short legs."

In 1923, Uemura Lane was renamed Mapu Lane. One meaning for Mapu is ape, which racists then called Japanese.

Although one of the 1923 city supervisors had a street given his surname, there is no other evidence that he or his colleagues personally chose the new names.

ONLY ONE signatory to the new City Council name change resolution, John Felix, can point to a street sign with his surname on it. There is no Kim, DeSoto, Gill, Holmes, or Mirikitani street. Nor will there be.

Today, by law, all new and renamed streets arc called by Hawaiian names, words or phrases. If the Thurston Avenue name change goes through as suggested, the street will be called Kamakaeha. Though the switch of names will cause the residents all the pillkia of changing their address, they may not object because of the beautiful-soundlng new name. But they have the right to. So do the fire chief, police chief and postmaster, for obvious reasons.

The power to change a street name resides today with the city director of land utilization, Don Clegg. I wish him luck. I sure would hate to have to make a decision on Kamakaeha, which Is said to have derived from Lill'uokalani's birth name. But maybe he won't have to.

Perhaps counter-revolutionaries will want to keep their favorite villain's name alive: Movements need villains and it is easier to keep a tried and true one than to create a new one. Maybe some of those who revere the memory of LiIi'u will ask Clegg to lind a more important street to name Kamakaeha.

As for me, I hope Don Clegg will find a way to again name a street Uemura. With each loss of a street name like Uemura, we lose another reminder of Hawaii's immigrant history, which in most ways is the history of modern Hawaii.

HAWAII'S IMMIGRANTS good and bad, lordly and lowly, free and bound - not only changed Hawaii, Hawaii changed them. And understanding that profound transformation may help solve the problems faced by those who new feel uprooted in modern Hawaii.

I think that it is important to have Hawaiian and immigrant names on our street corners. Harmless signs that speak of deep Individual experiences should be preserved.

Bob Dye is a Honolulu writer and historian who expects never to have a street named after him.

** Ken Conklin's note: The following three letters to editor were included on the same page with the article, enclosed by a box with the title "A street by any other name ..."


Please do not change the name of King Street just because my grandfather, James Anderson King, was the minister of the interior under the Provisional Government and the Republic.

For many years I have enjoyed telling my friends to write to me as S. King at S. King St.

What would I do if you changed the name to Keawe-a-Heulu, the middle name of one of my brothers and the name of the queen's great-grandfather?

Incidentally. I always thought that Thurston Avenue was named for Paul Thurston, the former budget director, or one of his ancestors. I suppose that branch of Thurstons could wear badges statIng: "I am not related to Thurston Twigg-Smith."



Leave streets alone

One of the basic precepts of our judicial system Is an individual's right to due process. Councilwoman Donna Kim has single-handedly tried, convicted, and Is now altempting to hang Lorrin Thurston for events that occured 100 years ago. The resolution to rename Thurston Avenue sets a dangerous precedent, opening the door for other frivolous actions. Now that Christopher Columbus has fallen from favor, will Columbus, Ohio have to change its name?

Rather than wasting our tax dollars on empty symbolic gestures, I would recommend the City Council take positive actions.



Krauss Street

I have a public confession to make. In a rerent edition of The Advertiser, I wrote a story about the semi-retirement of Thurston Twigg-Smith without once mentioning the dastardly deeds of his grandfather.

In the spirit of Copernicus, I hereby recant and humbly beg the City Council to change the name of Krauss Street on the slopes of Punchowl Crater to Robert Wilcox Avenue.

Advertiser columnist


Honolulu Star-Bulletin, February 24, 1993, page A-3
[copied from microfilm; no internet archives that far back]

New Street Name Clears First Hurdle

The City Council Zoning Committee has approved a name change for a Makiki street that was named for one of the instigators of the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy.

The committee passed a bill that would change the name of Thurston Avenue, named for Lorrin A. Thurston, to Kamakaeha Avenue, in honor of the deposed Queen Liliuokalani.

The measure goes next to the full Council.


Honolulu Star-Bulletin, March 11, 1993, page A3
[copied from microfilm; no internet archives that far back]

Council hands off renaming avenue to folks in Makiki
But the city says changing Thurston street signs is only a part of the hassle

by Melissa Vickers

Nearly 100 years after the sign went up, Makiki residents will soon decide whether they'll bid aloha to the name of their street, Thurston Avenue, for one with a more Hawaiian flair.

The name change, considered frivolous by some of the residents, is very significant to native Hawaiians, said Francine Gora, a member of Ka Lahui, a Hawaiian sovereignty group that supports the change.

"(Lorrin A.) Thurston is one of the main instigators of the overthrow of Queen Liliuokalani and the Hawaiian monarchy. It is insulting that his name is honored on a street that is on Hawaiian land he helped steal," Gora said. "For us, it's like if you had a street and someone named it Daddam Hussein Boulevard. It's the same thing, only worse."

The City Council yesterday adopted a resolution that passes the issue from their hands and leaves it for residents to decide.Only the fire chief, police chief or postmaster can veto their decision if it's deemed too difficult to handle the change. A 51 percent vote by all residents and owners would pass the proposed change, wich would mean change-of-address hassles for every resident who gets mail there, said Don Clegg, director of the city Department of Land Utilization.

"It will cost our department $2,000 or $3,000 to do this, with all the personnel and certified mail cost to get it done. It's not just the signs we have to worry about," he said.

If changes, 600 to 1000 residents living along the street will be affected, Clegg said.

He just might have to cry if Thurston Avenue becomes "Kamakaeha Street," the Hawaiian phrase for "sore eyes," said Wayne Wayne III. "Changing the name isn't going to change the reality of what happened," he said.

"Hawaiians need to realize there's more than one ethnic group involved now. It's part of history too, good or bad. I think we need to spend more time trying to blend together and become one nation. Not just in Hawaii, but the whole country."

Resident Wayne King said he likes the change "just because it seems more Hawaiian. 'As long as it doesn't cost anything, I don't have a problem with it.'"

While she sympathizes with their cause, resident Christine Nguyen is against the name change. "I think it is disrespectful for the residents who are here now to change it," she said. "I prefer English street names. At least you can pronounce them."

All new streets in Hawaii are now required by law to be given a Hawaiian moniker, but the effort is not enough, said Lilikala Kame'eleihiwa, assistant professor of Hawaiian studies at the University of Hawaii.

"They're lucky Hawaiians don't rise up and burn the street sign," she said.

Changing the name to onor Queen Liliuokalani's birth name is particularly pleasing since it was Thurston's efforts that helped oust Hawaii's last monarch, she said.

"It's not small when you consider the suffering the Hawaiian people have faced because of Thurston and those like him."


2. Barbers Point. In 1999 most of the land at Barbers Point Naval Air Station was given up by the U.S. and turned over to the State of Hawaii with the restored ancient name Kalaeloa. The activists wanted to change the street names, such as Bataan, Eisenhower, Yorktown to unspecified Hawaiian names. Several Honolulu government agencies were involved; many dozens of Hawaiian activists and military veterans testified; news reports and commentaries were published. When the activists failed, they had bills introduced in the state legislature during the 2000 and 2001 sessions, which also failed.
** NOTE#1: The narrative for this example #2 is very lengthy.
** Note #2: Many thanks to my friend, retired police sergeant Earl Arakaki, for important materials he shared with me regarding the Barbers Point controversy.

When the U.S. decided it no longer needed its military base at Barber's Point on Oahu, and turned over most of the land to the State of Hawaii in 1999, the sovereignty activists saw their chance to invoke the county ordinance requiring that new street names must be Hawaiian. Typical street names on the base are: Eisenhower, Roosevelt, Corregidor, Bataan, Tinian, Leyte, Yorktown, Lexington, etc. Here was a chance for the sovereignty activists to cleanse a piece of Oahu from the hated U.S. military heritage. Perhaps they could rename the streets in honor of ethnic Hawaiian heroes of the anti-annexation struggle, like Nawahi, Kaulia, and Kalauokalani (if any list of proposed names was actually developed, it was never made public).

The generally accepted history of this place is that Hawaiians settled it around 1000 AD and called it Kalaeloa, which means "The long cape" [like Cape Cod; or point or headland] because of its geography. In 1792 British Captain George Vancouver visited it. On October 31, 1796, the British brig Arthur, commanded by Captain Henry Barber, ran aground here in a storm, which destroyed the ship. The only survivors were Captain Barber and six of his crew members. Thereafter it was called Barber's Point to commemorate the tragedy. On April 18, 1942 the Naval Air Station Barbers Point was commissioned (just four months after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor). 1993 the base was identified by the U.S. government as surplus; 1996 a community redevelopment plan was adopted; 1997 the Navy retained control of 1498 acres including housing, commercial establishments and a post office; and legislation set aside 2150 acres for Kalaeloa Community Development District; 1999 the Navy moved its air units to Marine Corps Base Kaneohe.

There was an intense political struggle over the issue of street names on the former base. On January 14, 1997 June Watanabe, in her newspaper column "Kokua Line" in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, quoted Bill Bass, Executive Director of the Barbers Point Naval Air Station Redevelopment Commission, as saying "The area will probably revert to its original name 'Kalaeloa' ... the airfield would be called Kalaeloa Airport and so forth, but as far as the street names, I think the existing names would be retained."

However, by June 1999 Bill Bass was telling a different story. At a meeting of the Honolulu Department of Permitting and Planning, Bill Bass and staff members were citing the ordinance ROH 22-8.3 as imposing a requirement that the street names must be changed to Hawaiian ones; and that there is no latitude given under the law for the fact that the existing names have great historical significance to members of the community. Ms. Timson suggested that a study be done to find out what historical names were used in Kalaeloa in ancient times that would be suitable for renaming the streets.

A news article on page 1 of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin of July 2, 1999 reported "City Parks Director Bill Balfour, the city's point man on the base closure, said he has heard talk of changing street names at Kalaeloa, but that's all. ... [Maeda] Timson, also chairwoman of the Makakilo/Kapolei/Honokai Hale Neighborhood Board, said the commission has the greatest respect for the military and would not endorse any name changes on streets THAT REMAIN UNDER FEDERAL CONTROL. [emphasis added] She said the idea has been talked about for years but was put on the back burner by commissioners until more pressing turnover issues were addressed."

What Timson said was deceptive, because changing the street names on the portion remaining under Navy control was never a possibility. The issue was changing street names on the portion that was coming under the authority of the County Council; but Timson deflected attention from that issue.

Earl Arakaki, a retired police sergeant and community activist, and his friend Garry Smith, a retired U.S. Navy Commander, felt very worried when they read that news report. The report clearly raised the possibility that street names would be changed; and Maeda Timson's duplicity sounded an alarm bell for them. Arakaki had observed Timson raising the issue of street name changes at a neighborhood board meeting in April. After that, Arakaki had then observed Timson at the Barbers Point Redevelopment Commission meeting on April 15 (she was a Commission member). Arakaki felt Timson was using her position on the neighborhood board and the development commission in an effort to seize the moment and try to put the entire area under the control of ethnic Hawaiian sovereignty activists.

Arakaki and Smith attended the August 1999 neighborhood board meeting and spoke briefly during the portion of the meeting set aside for public input. Another person who spoke was a Mr. Richardson who was a member of the redevelopment commission and a General in the National Guard, and also an ethnic Hawaiian. General Richardson spoke in opposition to the changing of street names. His Hawaiian ethnicity seemed to carry great weight with the board members and the audience, who generally ignored what the non-ethnic Hawaiians Arakaki and Smith had to say.

Commander Garry Smith notified several veterans groups they should attend the next meeting of the redevelopment commission, which many of them did. The veterans even staged a sign-waving demonstration in front of the James Campbell Building in Kapolei where the meeting was held. The Honolulu Advertiser of September 27, 1999 reported that "the Oahu Veterans Council, which represents more than 25 veteran groups, unanimously voted to keep current street names, most of which have been in use at the former base for 50 years, according to council secretary Fred Ballard."

During September Earl Arakaki wrote to Mayor Harris and Governor Cayetano expressing his opposition to changing the street names, and both of them wrote detailed, thoughtful letters in reply, assuring him that they would follow the matter closely.

The September 30, 1999 minutes of the Barbers Point Redevelopment Commission include the following information:


"Much attention has been focused on street names in the past month. The Executive Director fielded quite a few questions at the Ewa Neighborhood Board meeting on September 9, 1999. Several letters have been received from the Oahu Veterans Council, Disabled American Veterans, American Legion, Hickam Post 970 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Fleet Reserve Association, Representative Mark Moses and H. William Burgess opposing renaming the streets at KCDD."

"The Commission is awaiting a response to its request for a Corporation Counsel opinion on the applicability of the 1979 Ordinance to the specific existing streets within the KCDD. Deputy Corporation Counsel Jane Howell has been tasked to develop a draft position that should be received within two weeks."

"Chair Egged reiterated that the Department of Planning and Permitting interpreted the City Ordinance to mean that the names of the streets in the KCDD must be changed as a condition for rezoning. The Commission challenged that interpretation by requesting a City Corporation Counsel opinion as to whether or not the street names have to be changed. At this time there is no action on changing the street names at Kalaeloa."

"Mr. Garry Smith a retired Navy Commander opposes changing the street names at Kalaeloa. Letters he has received from Senator Inouye and Mayor Harris indicate they oppose changing the street names as well. He stated that this is not a native Hawaiian issue because there are native Hawaiians that are veterans. He further stated that if the veterans had not pursued the issued nothing would have been done, and the street names would be changed. The committee on street names met in August and did not meet in public according to Hawaii Revised Statutes therefore any meeting already held are not null and void. He would like the secret committee meetings to be stopped because they are illegal."

"Mr. Earl Arakaki an Ewa Beach resident expressed his opposition to changing the street names at Kalaeloa. He stated that there are many streets throughout Honolulu whose names were not changed after the 1979 City Ordinance, and there are people hiding behind the Ordinance to justify changing the street names. When people can rewrite history these are dangerous times."

"Mr. Bill Burgess, a retired Attorney, is concerned about the committee appointed to rename the streets at Kalaeloa. He feels that when the committee is reestablished it should be reconstituted to be representative of the entire population of the State of Hawaii. The committee is currently dominated by people who have strong ties to Hawaiian rights advocates, and the committee should reflect equal representation."

"Ms. Annelle Amaral of Ahahui Sivila Hawaii O Kapolei [Hawaiian Civic Club of Kapolei] asked that when there are streets to be named, the group would like to bring to the Commission their research on the history and genealogy of the area. Street names have a strength that connects the Hawaiian community and makes it a native Hawaiian issue. She shared that she agrees with the veterans that all people should have the right to participate in this decision. She asks the Commission’s consideration to integrate Kalaeloa back into the community."

"Representative Mark Moses opposes the renaming of the streets at Kalaeloa. He stated that no one complained when the area was renamed Kalaeloa. Places and street names have significance for the veterans as well, and it is important to the culture and heritage of Hawaii. All cultures should be kept alive."

"Chair Egged announced that there was no plot to change the names. It was a good faith decision by the Commission to follow the City Ordinance as directed in order to rezone the properties for immediate use at Kalaeloa. It isn’t the intention of this Commission to exclude the public participation as everything done by this Commission is open to the public. The Chair expressed his determination not to let this issue polarize our community. This is not something that should set the community apart as we are all in this together. We need to come up with a good solution that everyone thinks is fair. The Chair expressed his appreciation to everyone for coming."

"General Richardson expressed his appreciation to the veterans for their support in this issued and thanked all of them for serving their country. This is a very emotional issue, and if the veterans didn’t show interest in what was happening the Commission would have headed toward renaming the streets. He strongly believes that the names of battles , carriers, and war heroes should not be changed, however any future streets to be developed should bear Hawaiian names, and there should be some compromise in this situation."

"Ms. Kala Holden a resident of the community expressed her support in renaming the streets and Kalaeloa. Every year the veterans are memorialized and remembered for their valiance, heroism and causes they died for. What about the memories and memorialization of the people tha twere here before the military. Their history is obscured and obliterated. She agrees with General Richardson that there needs to be some compromise."

"The Executive Director noted that the working group was established to work with staff to research the history of the area to develop a list of appropriate Hawaiian street names. Whether or not the Corporation Counsel upholds the DPP interpretation, Hawaiian names will be required for new streets that will be built in the future."


The Hawaii Filipino Chronicle of October 1, 1999 published a commentary by a Filipina woman entitled "Street Names At Barbers Point Should Not Be Changed" with a highlighted quote: "Do we need to honor the deep Hawaiian roots of Kalaeloa at the expense of giving up not only military history but also the history of certain segments of society like Filipinos?"

But then, at the October meeting of the redevelopment commission, members of the Kapolei [ethnic] Hawaiian Civic Club showed up, and some were able to shed tears on demand as they spoke of their desire to preserve Hawaiian culture by changing the street names. The controversy intensified at subsequent meetings of the redevelopment commission, and also at neighborhood board meetings in Makakilo and Kapolei. Numerous letters to editor were published on both sides of the issue.

The redevelopment commission put aside any decision until a legal opinion could be given by the Department of Planning and Permitting, on advice of the city's corporation counsel's office.

The November 1999 news letter of the Barbers Point Redevelopment Commission included the following information:


"More than fifty veterans attended the September 30, 1999 meeting of the BPNAS Redevelopment Commission to protest the formation of a working group to research appropriate Hawaiian names that might be given to the streets in the Kalaeloa Community Development District. The director of the City Department of Planning and Permitting had advised the Commission that it would be necessary to rename the streets to comply with a 1979 Ordinance before rezoning could proceed. The Commission has requested an opinion from the Corporation Counsel on the applicability of the Ordinance to the existing streets."

"Fred Ballard writing on behalf of the Oahu Veterans Council conveyed the sentiments of the opponents. 'To rename these historical street signs would be a slap in the face to the veterans who fought and sacrificed for our country. They serve as a stark reminder of what this country went through to preserve our freedoms.' Others expressed the opinion that it would be waste of taxpayers' money to rename the existing streets."

"Annelle Amaral expressed her opinion that the (Kalaeloa) area had a rich tradition and history long before it became Barbers Point, and if the Ordinance requires changing the street names it would certainly be appropriate to recognize the high points of that era and the Hawaiian heroes who made it happen. Some in the audience suggested a compromise of retaining the names of existing streets while giving Hawaiian names to new streets that will be built as the redevelopment occurs...."

" 'The matter is now in the hands of the Corporation Counsel,' said Executive Director Bill Bass. 'We'll have to wait for his opinion and proceed from there.' "


On November 29 the corporation council sent a six-page opinion to Jan Naoe Sullivan, Director of the Department of Planning and Permitting, explaining in great detail what the city ordinance means, what the word "new" means when deciding whether a street is new, and concluding that there is absolutely no requirement to change the street names at Barbers Point, but that such name changes can always be done if desired and if certain procedures are followed.

On December 10 a letter was sent from Jan Naoe Sullivan, Director of the Department of Planning and Permitting, to William Bass, Executive Director of the Barbers Point redevelopment commission. The letter said that DPP had previously advised that the street names must be changed to Hawaiian names on account of the city ordinance, but that the Corporation Counsel has determined that although the streets are newly turned over to the city, the streets are not "new" under terms of the ordinance because they have existed for many years. Therefore there is no requirement to change the street names.

On January 18, 2000 the Barbers Point Redevelopment Commission had another meeting which included more public testimony. The minutes of that meeting include the following information:


"Mr. Shad Kane, Administrator of the Royal Order Of Kamehameha I, supports changing the street names at Kalaeloa to Hawaiian names representative of the history and culture of the area. The Royal Order of Kamehameha I is the oldest organization in existence today with 2,500 members. He shared that there is overwhelming support from the Hawaiian community on this issue. A Resolution was presented to staff and included in the packets for consideration by the Commissioners."

"Ms. Melissa Guerrero, President of Ahahui Siwila Hawaii O Kapolei [Hawaiian Civic Club of Kapolei], supports the renaming of streets at Kalaeloa with Hawaiian names. In November, the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs comprised of 49 civic clubs throughout the U. S. passed a Resolution supporting changing the names at Kalaeloa. The Resolution was presented to the Chair. Chair Egged read Resolution No. 99L21 urging the change of Kalaeloa street names to Hawaiian names representative of the history and culture of Kalaeloa."

"Mr. Earl Arakaki, Ewa Beach resident expressed his opposition to renaming the streets. He stated at a past Commission meeting the Commission stated that it woujld based the street name decision on the City Ordinance with no outside or political influence. Changing the street names would be unconstitutional and would violate freedom of speech and expression. Commissioner Soon responded that a letter received from Jan Sullivan, Director of DPP, clearly states that it is the Commission’s choice to change or keep the names at Kalaeloa and the Commission has not yet made its decision."

"Ms. Tesha Malama, Member of the Ewa Neighborhood Board, expressed that the history of BPNAS came after a history that was already there. It is important to respect and preserve the history and culture of the area. If renaming the streets is not pursued, the history of Kalaeloa will be lost."

"Ms. Melissa Guerrero added that naming an entity gives it mana or spirit and soul, which comes from the history, the present and the future. There is no longer a BPNAS, and the future is Kalaeloa. Giving it back its name means giving it a chance to regain history and future."


The January 18 meeting ended with a unanimous decision to defer any action until after another public hearing to keep the current street names, to change the street names to Hawaiian and/or a combination of both. But in fact there was no further action by the commission regarding street names.

The effort to force street name changes by making demands on the county and the Barbers Point redevelopment commission had failed. But the Hawaiian sovereignty activists weren't finished. In January 2000 the state legislature convened for its annual session. Since the land at Barbers Point was technically owned by the state after being transferred from the federal government, the state had the right to change the street names even if the city ordinance did not require that. Bills were introduced in both chambers calling for the street names to be changed. Representative Romy Cachola was chair of the Water and Land Use committee, and held the bills from both chambers without action. In 2001 Cachola had gone to the City Council and Rep. Ezra Kanoho was chair of the committee. Kanoho, an ethnic Hawaiian, was also a patriotic American with a U.S. flag in his lapel. Arakaki and Smith asked him to kill the House version of the bill, which he did. Later he also killed the Senate version after it crossed over to his House committee. For the following ten years, and up to the writing of this essay, all of the street names at Barbers Point / Kalaeloa have stayed unchanged.


3. Dillingham Military Reservation: A bill was passed in the legislature in 2001 to change the name to Kawaihapai as soon as ownership of the base was handed over from the U.S. military to the State of Hawaii. In 2005 that transfer of ownership took place and the name was changed in the Hawaii Revised Statutes. Nevertheless everyone except a few diehard sovereignty activists continue to call it "Dillingham Airfield" as shown by 6 excerpts from 3 different TV station news reports during the period 2006-2010.

Here's a newspaper article which describes why the ancient name was Kawaihapai, who was the Dillingham war hero after whom the military base was named, the role his father and grandfather played in Hawaii history, and the explanation that the purpose of the name change was to protect and honor Hawaiian culture.
Honolulu Advertiser, Monday, May 7, 2001

Dillingham Field soon to be called Kawaihapai

By Eloise Aguiar
Advertiser Staff Writer

For 53 years, a storied name in Hawai'i history has graced the tiny airfield at the northwestern tip of O'ahu.

But Dillingham Field had a long Native Hawaiian history before it became associated with a family considered one of the state's giants in industry.

Before the Dillinghams came the Shirais. The family claims roots to the land dating to the early 1800s, before the Great Mahele, when land ownership became available to commoners and foreigners.

Today the name of the airfield is on the verge of being changed.

A measure to do just that has received final approval in the Legislature and is poised to be signed into law by the governor.

Negotiations are under way to transfer the airfield from the military to the state. Once the transfer takes place, the name will be changed.

Board supports name change

For Thomas Shirai, it is part of a healing process from having the land confiscated by the military for an airfield in 1940.

Shirai, 40, pushed for the name change in honor of his ancestors. The new name will be Kawaihapai, the name of the ahupua'a in which most of the airfield lies.

Shirai grew up not far from the field, in Mokule'ia, where his grandparents taught him to fish and grow taro. The family homestead and graves are in a coconut grove that now grows next to the runway.

"This is a tribute to my kupuna," Shirai said. "I do not do this to glorify myself. I do this for my grandfather and his ancestors."

The name change is supported by the North Shore Neighborhood Board, which sees the change as a way to preserve Hawaiian culture and language, said board chairwoman Kathleen Pahinui.

"The board wanted to honor the original place name," Pahinui said. "It was the right thing to do."

But not everyone shares that view.

About 30 years ago, Bill Star moved his glider operation from Bellows Air Station to Dillingham Airfield.

While many people in Honolulu don't know that the airfield exists, among glider enthusiasts it has a worldwide reputation for premier gliding conditions, he said.

"We're an institution," Star said, adding that he was never told about the change and he plans to make some noise about it.

The issue of reverting to Hawaiian names for landmarks and buildings in Hawai'i has stirred controversy in the past.

The city requires all its new and renamed streets to be Hawaiian words, but a proposal to change the street names at the old Barbers Point Naval Station drew criticism several years ago and those names will most likely remain.

The Legislature has named all of Hawai'i's airports and some of the state's roads, including Tetsuo "Tets" Harano H-3 tunnels and Joseph P. Leong Highway in Hale'iwa, said Marilyn Kali, state Department of Transportation spokeswoman.

Early residents fled drought

Kawaihapai Ahupua'a is nestled between Kealia and Mokule'ia ahupua'a in the Waialua District. Next to Kealia is Ka'ena Ahupua'a.

An early 20th-century account of Kawaihapai and how it received its name in "Sites of O'ahu" describes life on the land as plentiful in the old days until a drought forced people to leave.

Two old men stayed and prayed for water and suddenly a cloud moved over the cliff. The men heard water splashing and when they looked up they saw water coming out of the cliff. Kawaihapai, which means lifted water, was named for this spring, and the spring is called Wai Kumu'ole, water without source.

Shirai said the two men who stayed were his ancestors. Eventually his family purchased land there when it became available.

There was evidence of low-land terraces at Kawaihapai, according to "Hawaiian Planter, Volume I," but Shirai's great-grandfather David Keao had reported in the book that taro could not grow in the low land because salt water seeped into the fresh water.

Keao grew many products and even employed several people, Shirai said.

"He had a cottage industry," he said.

By the mid-1920s, the Dillinghams had owned land from Mokul«'ia to Ka'ena. The U.S. government acquired about 105 acres from Walter F. Dillingham, whose father, Benjamin F. Dillingham, built O'ahu Railway & Land Co.

An additional 631 acres were acquired in 1946 by the Air Force by "Declaration of Taking."

And in 1952, another 4.8 acres were acquired by "Governor Executive Order." The property was transferred to the Army in 1974.

The area was originally called Kawaihapai Military Reservation in 1927 and later changed to Dillingham Military Reservation, said Amy Alie, a media relations officer for the 25th Infantry Division (Light) and U.S. Army, Hawai'i.

At the outbreak of World War II, the area was redesignated Mokule'ia Airfield and was expanded to accommodate bombers.

Renamed Dillingham in 1948

In 1948, the airfield was inactivated and the area was renamed Dillingham Air Force Base in memory of Capt. Henry Gaylord Dillingham, a B-29 pilot who was killed in action in Kawasaki, Japan, July 25, 1945.

A descendent of Hawai'i missionaries who came to the island around 1850, Dillingham was the grandson of Benjamin Dillingham, who started O'ahu Railway in the 19th century, and the son of Walter F. Dillingham, who started Hawaiian Dredging Co., which later became Dillingham Corp.

In Hawai'i, Dillingham Corp. built Ala Moana Center and Honolulu International Airport, deepened Honolulu Harbor, dredged and configured the Ala Wai Canal, created Ala Moana Park out of tidal flats and dredged the Pearl Harbor channel.

In 1962, the state initiated a series of short-term leases with the Air Force for use of the facility for general aviation. The military retained the right to use the field for night training.

Commercial use of the area has increased, Star said, adding that about 15 aircraft were there when he arrived and now about 50 are based there, including planes for sky diving, tours, thrill rides and the Civil Air Patrol. Star said the field could accommodate twice as many aircraft.

The airfield runway is 9,000 feet by 75 feet and is surrounded by a chain-link fence.

Glider hangars and a powered aircraft hangar are on opposite sides of the field.

The airfield also has a Universal Communication facility, aircraft rescue and fire-fighting equipment, fuel storage and operations facilities.

In the 1970s the state had examined the airfield's potential as a reliever airport.

Army claims to land disputed

Motivated by a promise he made to his grandfather after his death, Shirai petitioned his state legislator this year to change the name of the runway to Kawaihapai.

Peter Dillingham, who lives in Kona and is a cousin of Capt. Dillingham, said he wasn't aware of the proposal but had no objections to the name change.

"As long as it's not political," Dillingham said, adding that he understands "if they really feel it's justified."

Dillingham said he remembers coming out to the property as a youth to camp and ride horses.

His father and Capt. Dillingham's father started a ranch on some 2,000 acres of land there that stretched from Mokul«'ia to Ka'ena Point, where he also worked with cattle when he was older.

The Dillinghams also built a rock and sand quarry, and a polo field there.

Shirai said he has spent countless hours researching the history of the Kawaihapai and disputes claims the Army has on the land because his family never wanted to sell it to the Army.

Shirai said when his grandfather died three years ago, he promised to take care of business, including pursuing a name change for the field.

"This makes us all feel good," he said.


Hawaii Acts - ACT NO. 276 OF 2001‎ (Signed by Governor Cayetano June 25, 2001)

... Airfield Description Renames Dillingham airfield as Kawaihapai airfield ... name of the airfield located at Kawaihapai formerly known as Dillingham ... Neighborhood board hopes to use authentic place names‎


August 4, 2005
Haw. Rev. Stat. § 261-27 : Hawaii Statutes - Section 261-27: Kawaihapai Airfield.
The official name of the airfield located at Kawaihapai, formerly known as Dillingham Airfield, shall be Kawaihapai Airfield. [L 2001, c 276, §1]


Nobody uses the newly imposed (old) Hawaiian name Kawaihapai, except a few Hawaiian activists. Dillingham is the name everyone knows and uses, despite the politically-correct name change by the legislature. Below are excerpts from six news reports from three different TV stations scattered over the period from 2006 through 2010 showing the continued use of Dillingham as the place name.
KITV, October 22, 2006
WAIALUA, Hawaii -- Alcohol and speed were factors in a one-car crash in Waialua early Sunday morning that left an 18-year-old man dead and two others injured, according to police. ... The Acura Integra the men were in crashed with such force it shattered a Civil Defense siren pole, then slammed through the emergency gate at Dillingham Airfield.
KITV, October 13, 2009
Examiner Identifies Skydiving Accident Victim
HONOLULU -- The Honolulu Medical Examiner's Office identified the skydiver who died Monday as a 27-year-old Aiea man. ... The owner of Skydive Hawaii said there was no evidence Owens tried to deploy his reserve chute, which opened when he hit the ground east of the Dillingham Airfield.
Hawaii News Now, December 30, 2009
First family works out, heads to the beach
... Then just before 1:00 p.m., the motorcade, including several SUVs, a small bus, and even an ambulance took off. Cars were cleared from the H-3 down to the H-1 through Pearl City, and all the way down to the North Shore. Extra security is already in effect for the area, including Dillingham Airfield.
Hawaii News Now, August 25, 2010
Driver gets one-year jail term for DUI crash that killed one, injured another
Prosecutors say an intoxicated Tantog lost control of his speeding car on Farrington Highway near Dillingham Airfield in October 2006.
KITV, December 8, 2010
Andy Irons' Widow Gives Birth
Irons' brother, pro surfer Bruce, was on Kauai for his nephew's birth. He chartered a plane to fly to Dillingham Airfield from Kauai to make it to the Billabong Pipeline Masters on Oahu. He lost his heat later in the day.
KHON2TV, December 14, 2010
President Obama's up-coming trip to Hawaii later this month will again means restrictions for local aircraft based businesses. ... However, unlike last year, flight training, sky-diving and glider operations will be allowed within a 4 nautical mile radius of Dillingham Airfield. The exact date of the Obama's Christmas vacation on Oahu is uncertain at this time due to unresolved issues in congress.


Additional references:

by John D. Bennett

Mo'olelo O Kawaihapai [The Legend of Kawaihapai]
by Roy K. Alameida
The Hawaiian Journal of History, vol. 37 (2003), pp. 33-46 including 39 footnotes.
"Roy K. Alameida [is] a community college instructor in Washington state, who has a master's degree in Hawaiian history from the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. This is his third article for the Journal on the Waialua district on O'ahu, forming a trilogy."
Dillingham Military Reservation
Dillingham Army Airfield



4. Fort Barrette Road. A resolution in the legislature in 2009 would have changed its name to Kualakai, the name of an ancient trail, even though that trail was somewhat distant from today's road and even though another street already has the name Kualakai. Many of the Hawaiian sovereignty activists demanding the name change, and many of the military veterans opposing it, had been involved in the Barbers Point controversy ten years previously; and Fort Barrette Road actually leads to the gate at the Kapolei/Makakilo end of Barbers Point. Thus example #4 (Fort Barrette Road) is in some ways a replay of example #2 (Barbers Point), and with the same outcome -- a tremendous waste of time resulting in no change.

Three published news reports will be followed by links to the text of the resolution in the legislature, all the testimony that was submitted; a webpage filled with 36 pages of photos showing community celebrations of the heritage of the fort; and citation to an 18-page description with maps and photos published in The Coast Defense Journal in 2004.


** Original URL when published

** New URL in archives after the merger

Photo gallery: Historic Photos of Fort Barrette (in archives but not responsive)

Honolulu Advertiser, Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fort Barrette Road's name becoming a heated issue
Kapolei fort defended coast

By William Cole
Advertiser Military Writer

KAPOLEI — What's now Fort Barrette Road has been around at least since 1943, when it was likely just a U.S. military access road from Barbers Point to the coastal defense gun emplacement named after Brig. Gen. John D. Barrette, historians say.

Long before that — perhaps a thousand years or more — Kualaka'i Trail preceded Barrette and the fort named for him, according to Hawaiian oral history.

Those two histories — ancient and 20th century — clashed recently in the state Legislature, in the form of a resolution seeking to change the name of Fort Barrette Road to Kualaka'i Road.

The resolution passed in the House, but was deferred in a Senate committee, leaving impassioned feelings simmering over Hawai'i's identity and the impact of American military influence on it since the early 1800s.

The proposal to change the name of a 1.38-mile stretch of state road showed just how much so.

Lance Holden, president of 'Ahahui Siwila Hawai'i O Kapolei, a Hawaiian civic club, said in written testimony on the resolution that the "cycles of evolution" are moving Hawai'i back to original sources.

"Much was lost when the Hawaiian names were discarded to accommodate the new arrivals," Holden said, "but the 'ahahui believes that the time has come to return to our roots or they will be forever lost."

The topic already had heightened sensitivity with the previous name change of the former Naval Air Station Barbers Point to Kalaeloa, and an unsuccessful drive in 1999 to give the base's military-themed roads Hawaiian names.

A city law has required since 1979 that all new streets receive Hawaiian names, but the requirement was found to be not applicable to Barbers Point.

The state Office of Veterans Services and O'ahu Veterans Council opposed the Fort Barrette Road name change at last week's transportation committee hearing.

Forty-five organizations and individuals — including 33 Kapolei High School students — submitted testimony in favor of the resolution. Twenty individuals and organizations opposed it.

The massive concrete remnants of fortified Fort Barrette, now owned by the city, dominate the hilltop next to the road.


The name-change issue came to a head with charges that Hawaiian groups were trying to rewrite history. Some Hawaiians said they were trying to restore history with the name change.

Jack Miller of Kailua said the "Fort Barrette historical role in the protection of O'ahu by the American military is an important fact that deserves historical notice."

Cpl. Joseph A. Medlen, with the Coast Artillery Corps, was killed at Fort Barrette in the Japanese attack on Dec. 7, 1941.

"Why have an acrimonious, divisive debate and start changing names?" Miller said in written testimony. "Is Judd Street, Fort Shafter, Nimitz, King Street, Saddle City Road next to be renamed?"

Shad Kane, with the Royal Order of Kamehameha 'Ekahi, said the place name Kualaka'i was changed by the Navy to Nimitz Beach at Barbers Point Naval Air Station.

A trail connected Pu'uokapolei, the hill upon which Fort Barrette was built, with Kualaka'i, he said.

"This (the road name change) is an effort to restore a history ... it is a history that is inclusive of the plantation era and military past," said Kane, who's a U.S. combat veteran.

State Sen. J. Kalani English, D-6th (E. Maui, Moloka'i, Lana'i), chairman of the Transportation, International and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee, last week deferred the resolution seeking the name change, and asked the state Department of Hawaiian Homelands and Office of Veterans Services to try to resolve the matter.

"Basically, what I said was, there are two histories — there's a Hawaiian history and it's all part of our history, and there's a military history," English said. "So why don't they work together to come back with something next year."


Mark Moses, director of Veterans Services, yesterday said, "I'm always willing to sit down and talk." But he also noted there are some fundamental differences of opinion.

"It's between change the name, and don't change the name," Moses said. "There doesn't seem to be much room to compromise."

He said he had heard there also might already be a street on O'ahu named Kualaka'i — the name desired for Fort Barrette Road.

The Department of Transportation said it is willing to rename Fort Barrette Road provided the Legislature requests the name change through the concurrent resolution and the community supports the move.

The 'Ewa Neighborhood Board voted against changing the name.

According to O'ahu resident John Bennett with the Coast Defense Study Group, Kapolei Military Reservation was built on and adjacent to the 166-foot-elevation volcanic cone that is still dominated by the relics of what was Fort Barrette.

Construction was started in 1931 and completed in 1935, and the military reservation was the second site on O'ahu to receive a pair of massive 16-inch seacoast guns.

Along with other forts and big guns ringing O'ahu, the emplacement was designed to defend against invasion from the sea.

The reservation was named Fort Barrette in 1934 in honor of Brig. Gen. John D. Barrette, who commanded the Hawai'i Separate Coast Artillery Brigade and the Hawaiian Division on a temporary basis, Bennett said. Barrette died in 1934.

The main gate for Fort Barrette was on Wai'anae Road, which later became Farrington Highway. Bennett said on a 1934 map of the military reservation, what became Fort Barrette Road doesn't appear. It does appear on a 1943 map.

The state DOT said Fort Barrette Road originally was known as Barbers Point Access Road. A portion of the road became Fort Barrette Road in the late 1980s to early '90s, and in 1995, the entire road was renamed Fort Barrette Road, according to the Department of Transportation.

No attempt is being made to change the name of Fort Barrette itself.


Micah Kane, chairman of the Department of Hawaiian Homelands, said the DHHL has "been attempting to re-establish a sense of place prior to contact."

"The region of Kapolei is a very sacred area," he said. "Throughout Hawaiian history, Kapolei was a gathering place. It was one of two places that Hawaiians would begin their migration to and from Kahiki (Tahiti)."

Kane said as traffic has increased on Fort Barrette Road, parallels can be seen to Kualaka'i, one of the primary trails to the ocean for ancient Hawaiians.

There is some dispute as to how close Kualaka'i Trail came to Fort Barrette Road.

State Rep. Kymberly Pine, R-43rd ('Ewa Beach, Iroquois Point, Pu'uloa), said new streets are being built all the time in Kapolei and 'Ewa "and it seems reasonable to name one of those streets after the trail."

"It's a really cruel thing to take away the name that has been thought out and honored by veterans," Pine said. She added that Fort Barrette Road "symbolizes a whole era of Americans fighting for our country."

Opponents of the name change worry the Fort Barrette Road issue won't be the last for military place names.

But the DHHL's Kane said: "I don't think you can do a carte blanche on this. I think you do it where it is appropriate."

Right now, he's seeking reconciliation.

"I think it's important for the two parties to come together and understand both sides and perhaps there's a way for us to work together on how to go forward," Kane said.

** NOTE BY KEN CONKLIN: This news report was copied with a comment by Kyle Kajihiro on an anti-military, pro-Hawaiian-sovereignty website.
DMZ Hawai'i Aloha 'Aina, April 22, 2009

“Kualaka’i” or “Fort Barrette Road”? The colonial violence of naming

Veteran and military historical groups are fighting to retain the military name for the ancient Kualaka’i trail. Another struggle for domination of the symbolic landscape and an example of the colonial violence of naming…


** Original URL when published

** New URL in archives after the merger

Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fight over name of road isn't over

By William Cole
Advertiser Columnist

Leading up to a state Senate committee hearing on April 15, there were lots of impassioned feelings over a proposal to ditch the name Fort Barrette Road in Kapolei and rename the roadway Kualaka'i Road.

Some veterans' groups very much want to keep the name of the roadway in honor of Brig. Gen. John D. Barrette, whose name also applies to the nearby but long-ago shuttered Fort Barrette.

The coastal defense fort, outfitted with 16-inch guns that could hurl a shell 25 miles, was named for Barrette in 1934.

Some Hawaiian groups, meanwhile, very much want to change the name of Fort Barrette Road to Kualaka'i Road in honor of the important trail and place (now Nimitz Beach) that preceded Fort Barrette in ancient Hawaiian history.

Turns out, however, that a Kualaka'i Street already exists, not far from Fort Barrette Road.

Does that end the matter? No, and what will happen next is far from clear.

A concurrent resolution to change the name of Fort Barrette Road passed in the House. The measure was deferred in a Senate committee with the recommendation that the state Department of Hawaiian Homelands and Office of Veterans Services jointly resolve the matter.

The state Department of Transportation said it would change the name with the Legislature's passage of a resolution, and if the community supported it.

The fact that there already is a Kualaka'i Street (between Kapolei High School and Kapolei Middle School) does not rule out the possibility of a separate Kualaka'i Road, according to the DOT.

DOT spokeswoman Tammy Mori said, "Our position would remain the same." One Kualaka'i could be differentiated from another by street, boulevard, way, road, etc., Mori said.

The Department of Hawaiian Homelands did not respond to requests for comment.

Mark Moses, director of the Office of Veterans Services, which previously opposed a name change, said "the fact that a Kualaka'i Street exists directly between 'Ewa and Kapolei in the area where kupuna say the trail existed serves as commemoration of the trail."

State Rep. Kymberly Pine, R-43rd ('Ewa Beach, Iroquois Point, Pu'uloa), said she plans to introduce a resolution in the next legislative session calling for the North-South road to be renamed Kualaka'i Road. Pine had opposed changing Fort Barrette Road's name.

Honolulu Advertiser, Sunday June 28, 2009

The man behind Kapolei road

First, there's the matter of how to properly pronounce "Barrette," as in Fort Barrette Road in Kapolei.

Originally, the family pronounced it Buh-rette, Louisa Cooper said.

"However, this is the story in my family," Cooper said. "When my grandfather went to West Point, whoever it was who was giving them commands when they were all young cadets called him Barrette (say it like 'parrot'), and so it stuck."

Cooper, who's now 77 and lives in Lanikai, was amazed to see a picture of her grandfather, Brig. Gen. John D. Barrette, on the front page of The Advertiser in April.

The photo accompanied a story about a renaming controversy involving efforts to change the name of Fort Barrette Road to Kualaka'i — the name of a Hawaiian trail that existed long before in the same area.

A resolution advocating the name change made it through the state House, but was deferred in a Senate committee with the recommendation that the state Office of Veterans Services and Department of Hawaiian Homelands work it out.

Cooper, who was born in Hawai'i, never met her grandfather — or maybe did, briefly, when she was a toddler. He died in 1934.

Barrette graduated with the Class of 1885 at West Point. In France during World War I, Barrette commanded the American Artillery School at Saumur, according to John D. Bennett, who wrote about Barrette in The Coast Defense Journal.

In 1921, Barrette was assigned as commander of the Hawaiian Coast Artillery District. He also briefly commanded the old foursquare Hawaiian Division at Schofield Barracks.

In honor of his military career, the coastal defense gun emplacement in Kapolei was named Fort Barrette in 1934. The road name came later.

Cooper, who remembers being at a gate dedication at Fort Barrette when she was young, is among those who would like to see the road keep its current name. "It would be nice," she said. "It's a family member. That part's always nice."


To see all items related to Fort Barrette Road in the 2009 legislature, go to
and put the word Barrette into the search window.

To get text of the resolution, status, committee reports, and testimony, go to
and put HCR108 into the search window.
Checking the box for testimony, you'll get 4 sets of testimony to 3 different committes regarding HCR108 in 2009 regarding name change for Fort Barrette Road, available directly at


Webpage about December 7
** 36 pages of color photos and descriptions on that webpage are devoted to Fort Barrette showing its historical importance and how beloved it is in the local community today. Those 36 pages are gathered at


John D. Bennett, "Fort Barrette and the 16-inch guns of the Kapolei Military Reservation" (The Coast Defense Journal, Vol 18 No 3, August 2004, pp. 55-72) includes detailed maps and drawings, and historic photos. It is listed at the website of The Coast Defense Study Group, Inc.
Unfortunately this essay is not available on the internet. However, Ken Conklin has a copy of it in pdf format (2.5 megabytes on account of all the photos, maps, and drawings). To receive the pdf by e-mail, send a request to


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(c) Copyright 2010 Kenneth R. Conklin, Ph.D. All rights reserved