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PMRF Returns to Traditional Place Name of Waiapua‘a Bay

31 May 2024

From Lisa Ferdinando

To honor the sacred tradition of the ancestors who have gone before us, Pacific Missile Range Facility has restored the Native Hawaiian place name for Waiapua‘a Bay, formerly known as Major’s Bay, PMRF Commanding Officer Capt. Brett Stevenson said. 

“For too long, the names of places like these have echoed with the sounds of distant lands and distant peoples,” Stevenson said at the E hoi ana i Waiapuaa Bay, or Returning to the Historical Origin of Waiapua‘a Bay, signage unveiling, May 31.

“This is not merely about changing signs or updating maps. It is about recognizing the full narrative of our island's history - a history that is complex and diverse, and it’s about acknowledging the contributions and sacrifices of Native Hawaiians, and weaving their stories back into the fabric of our shared identity,” he said. 


Stevenson underscored the historical importance of this moment.  


“By lifting up these original names, we are saying to the world that we value every chapter of our history, and we honor every voice that helped shape this land,” he said. 


He continued, “We move forward with a spirit of unity and humility, inspired by the resilience and wisdom of those who came before us. Let us all remember that the names we use, the stories we tell, and the histories we honor are powerful. They shape how we see ourselves and how we understand our place in the world.” 


The event included a welcome oli (chant) and pule (prayer) by Kumuhula Troy Allen Hinano Lazaro; welcome remarks from Stevenson; na ‘olelo no‘eau (proverbs or wise sayings) by PMRF Deputy Public Works Director Thomas Nizo; the history of Waiapua‘a by historian E. Kalani Flores; remarks and presentation of a certificate by Kaua‘i County Council Chair Mel Rapozo and Vice Chair Kipukai Kuali‘i; and the sign unveiling and pikai (ritual sprinkling of salted water to purify an area) ceremony. 

PMRF Returns to the Traditional Place Name of Waiapua'a
KEKAHA, Hawaii (May 31, 2024) Capt. Brett Stevenson, commanding officer of Pacific Missile Range Facility, Barking Sands, places a lei for the E ho‘i ana i Waiapua‘a Bay, or Returning to the Historical Origin of Waiapua‘a Bay, signage unveiling, at the entrance of Waiapua‘a Bay at PMRF. Waiapua'a is the oldest recorded name for the bay at PMRF.(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Louis Lea)



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