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Golf Villas homeowners discover first petroglyph in Kapalua Resort

By Staff | Oct 20, 2011

This fisherman petroglyph was authenticated by state Department of Land and Natural Resources Lead Archaeologist Morgan Davis.

KAPALUA – Homeowners recently discovered a Hawaiian petroglyph on a rock face at Kapalua Golf Villas condominiums.

When the property’s Landscape Committee removed a bougainvillea hedge, behind it was a natural rock escarpment with a petroglyph of a fisherman.

The petroglyph has been authenticated by state Department of Land and Natural Resources Lead Archaeologist Morgan Davis.

On Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 9 a.m., Hawaiian practitioner Fred Torres will bless the petroglyph and the native garden that surrounds it.

“What a wonderful surprise! We uncovered the rock face to create a native plant xeriscape for water conservation. Native plants require less water, fertilizer and maintenance,” said Katherine Kama’ema’e Smith, Kapalua Golf Villas Landscape Committee member.

Katherine Kama‘ema‘e Smith shows the petroglyph that was hidden by a bougainvillea hedge and moss.

“The petroglyph was covered with a half-inch layer of moss, so we never saw it. We planted Molokai naupaka, naio papa, ‘akia and pohinahina all around the rocky area and pili grass up the rest of the hillside.

“Weeks later, the moss fell off the rock face, exposing the fisherman,” she continued. “Right then, we knew this garden was not our plan – the kupuna planned it, and we were just here to do the work!”

The native garden and petroglyph are on the roadway that circles through Kapalua Golf Villas, technically in the ahupua’a of Napili.

The first person the committee notified was Glen Kamaka of Napili Kai Beach Resort, a Native Hawaiian who studies petroglyphs. He encouraged the Golf Villas owners to contact DLNR.

Archaeologist Davis told Smith that it is impossible to date petroglyphs, but near this one, there is a carved name that is distinctly modern by comparison.

Throughout the world, petroglyphs appear as symbols carved into prominent rocks by stone-age aboriginal peoples.

In Hawaii, these ancient symbols are commonly found at heads or ends of trails, or where ancient footpaths intersected – any place where travelers rested, took cover or awaited rendezvous.

A collection of 71 West Maui petroglyphs may be viewed at Olowalu Cultural Reserve on the north face of Pu’u Kilea.

For information on the petroglyph, contact Smith at 268-0787.