Onomea Bay, where the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden is located, is one of the lushest areas on the Big Island.
Long ago in the time of the ancient Hawaiians, Onomea Bay was the location of a fishing village known as Kahali’i. Old stone walls still in the Garden today were created by early settlers to make terraces for growing taro and sugar cane. These stone walls kept the land on the slope from eroding into the stream.
Onomea Bay also served as one of the Big Island’s first natural landing areas for sailing ships. In the early 1800s the fishing village became a shipping port, first importing materials to construct the Onomea Sugar Mill and then exporting raw sugar. The settlers were a mixture of Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, and Filipinos who came here to work in the sugar cane fields and build the Onomea Sugar Mill.
Copyright 2017 Susan Rissi Tregoning
September 17th, 2017
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