Posted by: kauaikolea2 | February 16, 2012

The Menehune Ditch — Engineering Marvel and Mystery


The west side of the island of Kaua’i often escapes visitors’ attention, which is too bad because this side of the island is quite different from the rest of the island.  It is drier and less lush than the east and south shores, but the area has a wonderful rich history that begs for exploration.

Near Waimea is Kikiaola, the historic irrigation ditch or ‘auwai; it is also known as the Menehune Ditch or the Peekauai Ditch and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Menehune, of course, are a mysterious band of small people, considered to be the first settlers on the island.  The Menehune may have been small in stature, but they are credited with several important and large structures, including the Menehune Pond on the east side.  Some say that the Menehune are only mythical folks, but US Census data from 1820 lists 65 residents as Menehune!

Whether real or mythical (like pixies and leprauchans), the structures purpoted to have been built by them are quite impressive.  The Hawaiians built many stone-lined ‘auwai to irrigate ponds for growing taro,  but very few of these ditches used dressed stone to line the ditches.

The Menehune Ditch spots 120 finely cut basalt blocks that line approximately 200 feet of the outer wall of the Menehune Ditch.  The stone cutting and placement has been called the “acme of stone-faced ditches” by the noted archaeologist Wendell C Bennett.

According to legend, the high chief of Waimea, Ola, was concerned that his people were having difficulty bringing water from the Waimea River down to their taro patches. For Ola to enlist the aid of the hardworking Menehune, he had to establish a kapu (taboo) so that no one could leave their houses at night. Once the kapu was ordered, the Menehune proceeded to divert some water from the Waimea River overnight with the elaborate cut and dressed stones of this ancient aqueduct.

The mystery of the Menehune remains — and is part of the charm of Kaua’i — as does the marvel of the finely cut stones and the ditch.  You will simply need to come visit and draw your own conclusions.

Remember, we are offering a discount for any rental any time during 2012 if you book by March 31, 2012. You can book on line at www.hulanow.com or 1 855 HULA NOW.  Recent guests have told us that the whale watching is exceptional this year and being on the water with the whales has been an incredible experience.

Wishing you warm Aloha!

Islander on the Beach

Unit 111: Partial Ocean View – Ground floor – 2 Full Beds

Unit 170: Partial Ocean View – Ground floor – 2 Full Beds

Unit 222: Almost Ocean Front – Second Floor – Queen Bed

Unit 250: Ocean Front – Second Floor – King Bed

Unit 361: Ocean View – Third Floor – King Bed

Kauai Beach Resort

Unit 1317: Lagoon/Partial Ocean View – Third Floor – King Bed

Kapaa Sands

Unit 7: Ocean Front Coastal Views – Second Floor – Queen Bed

Unit 9: Ocean Front Coastal Views – Second Floor – Queen Bed

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