Aug 17, 2017 5:26 am Pacific/Honolulu

Helumoa, He Wahi Pana

Helumoa, He Wahi Pana (“Helumoa, a Storied Place”)
Kyo-ya’s Sheraton Waikiki and Royal Hawaiian Hotels stand on a historically rich area called Helumoa, which was so named when a giant rooster named Ka'auhelemoa was said to have scratched the ground at the feet of King Kakuhihewa in the 16th century.  Kakuhihewa, taking this to be a sign from the gods, planted 10,000 coconut trees in honor of the occurrence, and many of these trees' descendants still survive to this day in the area between the two hotels.

Makahiki at Helumoa
The Makahiki is a celebration of peace, prosperity and all good things in Hawaii. On January 12, 2013, for the first time in over 200 years, the Makahiki was celebrated at Helumoa in Waikiki. Modeled after festivals held centuries ago before Western contact with Hawaii, the Makahiki at Helumoa paid tribute to Lono, the Hawaiian god of peace, prosperity, fertility and healing, as well as Native Hawaiian ancestors and Kupuna (elders). 

For more than 2,000 years, the significance of Lono and his contributions to the beliefs and practices of the early Hawaiian people influenced the celebration of events held during Makahiki festivals throughout the Hawaiian Islands. According to the ancient calendar of Hawaii, the Hawaiian new year begins on the first night of the rising star constellation Makali’i, or Pleiades. The four months following the rise of the Makali’i, from October to the end of January, were set aside as a time for Lono to give thanksgiving for the bounty of land and sea.  Read more.

Helumoa, He Wahi Pana Art Project
In 2009, Kyo-ya’s Sheraton Waikiki sponsored a painting-in-place project, the first of its kind on Oahu, called Helumoa, He Wahi Pana. The project paired 22 talented students from various schools with well-known local artists (kumu), who spent seven days in residence at the hotel. For the first three days, the artists worked with the students to paint a 70’ by 7’ mural in six large panels.

The mural depicts the activities and culture of old Hawaii, with a focus on the Waikiki landscape at early morning and sunset, the mythology of the area and aspects of the niu (coconut palm) as a tree of life. It now proudly hangs at the entrance to the property’s International Conference Center of the Pacific for all meeting and conference delegates to enjoy. After finishing the mural, the artists went on to work on their own commissioned paintings for the Sheraton Waikiki.

Helumoa Coconut Grove
In 2002, two coconut palms (strategically located so as to avoid posing safety concerns – i.e., falling coconuts and fronds) were allowed to develop naturally (i.e. no trimming of fronds, no nut removal). These palms matured, and when their keiki (offspring) developed, they were harvested and nurtured in our nursery. Approximately 40-50 of these keiki trees are now thriving as part of the legacy perpetuating the Royal’s Coconut Grove.

At the time of re-opening, many of the historic trees in the Royal’s Coconut Grove were at end-of-life. The hotel reached out to dozens of Hawaiian artisans to donate large sections (wood) of these palms to be made into art pieces. A number of these art pieces are displayed around the hotel and in various offices.