February 21, 2011

Ms Puako General Store Established 1989 by Narand and Urmila Patel


"The Puako General Store"

Puako General Store the center of our Community

Ms Puako General Store was established in 1989 and is located within the small town of Puako, Big Island, Hawaii. The Store is owned and operated by Narand Patel and his wife Urmila Patel with the assistance of Sarah Fuller and Holly Harper

Puak√≥, Hawai’i

The Puako area, in the times of the Hawaiian monarchy, was called Lalamilo and was part of a wedge shaped (ahupuaha) land division of the government (crown) land of Waimea in the district of South Kohala. The earliest written documentation about Puako comes from William Ellis during his 1823 circumnavigation of the Island. Lorenzo Lyons, the missionary who came to Waimea in 1934, had Puako as part of his parish, and the entire village of 60 people built the Hokuloa Church in 1852. The Chapel still stands, but the accompanying coral and limestone school house was lost to the 1946 tidal wave.

No one knows the native origins of the Puako name, but the area was named before William Ellis and Rev. Lyons arrived and written as Puakoo, Puakou and Puako. Old timers also suggest it was named for the tassling sugar can, an indigenous plant of Hawaii. Puakou, possibly speaking for the beautiful orange flower of the large and shady Kou trees which lined Puako Bay until the kiawe edged them out, is another possibility.

The first known photograph of Puako was taken in 1859 during the low flank eruption of Mauna Loa when an enormous cinder cloud hovered over a village of 15 to 20 grass roofed homes and the church.

From the 1900 to 1914, John Hind of Kohala had a sugar plantation on the plains behind Puako. Initially, the harvest was excellent, but the source of water became erratic and the soil salinity could not be controlled. The mill was at #78 Puako and train tracks were laid along the beach to haul cane. The tracks are still visible in spots, but are covered at high tide, as the beach was 30 feet wider at that time. Originally, mules pulled the sugar carts, but a modern steam engine, names Puako, was specially built and put in service.

Until the 1950s, Puako was accessible only by boat, and by the trail known as the Kings Highway, which could then be followed all the way to Kona. Several konani game boards can be found etched in the black lava on the beaches, and a field of some 3,000 petroglyphs of great variety and mystery is not far inland from the community. Puako has long held “mana” and a sense of importance far beyond its recorded status.

In 1952, the county began selling lots along what was then a narrow dirt road. Puako was undeveloped and undiserable to some, while a lure of great magnitude to others. For all who came to see their purchase in 1952, it was a kiawe jungle; the beaches was often inaccessible for weeks as new residents cut and fought and cleared their way towards the sea. Few lots sold initially, and a second auction was held later. The initial lots sold for $300 to $1,000.

Forty-five years have passed since development began in much the same warmth and gentle weather pattern so admired in the islands. When catching the onshore breezes from the ocean, or the scented trades from the mountains, life at Puako is pleasant almost beyond all description. Puako is the area with the least amount of annual rainfall on the island and some say, the most sunshine.

Adding to the Aloha spirit of the area is M’s Puako General Store that was opened in 1989 and which, with the guidance of Narand Patel and Urmila Patel serves as an informal community resource and center.

February 9, 2011

E Malama ‘Aina (Caring for the land)

“Land” in Hawai’i"Aina Malia" is more than just property, or earth, or a place; the land is a living thing, a thing to be respected, sustained and properly cared for. The people are one with the land and cannot separate from it. Ther are also wahi kapu in some areas which are ancient sacred places requiring special care and respect. Some should not be visited at all. As guests and stewards of this beautiful set of islands we need to recognize this. While enjoying the abundance the Hawaiian Islands offer us, we should always leave the place better than we found it.