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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, June 23, 2005

Hau Bush reunion evokes memories of 'Ewa Beach's 'jewel'

By Rod Ohira
Advertiser Central O'ahu Writer

Henry Chang Wo remembers the abundance of limu and fish. Kurt Fevella recalls the family gatherings and sandy beach; Allen Fojas, surfing bigger waves than today; and Jeff Alexander, the sheer beauty and pristine conditions of the shoreline and water.

Tesha Malama, an organizer of Saturday's Hau Bush reunion at One'ula Beach Park, recalls when "every graduation and wedding party" was held at Hau Bush, a stretch of coastline in 'Ewa Beach.

Gregory Yamamoto • The Honolulu Advertiser

Hau Bush, a stretch of coastline at the end of Papipi Road in 'Ewa Beach that includes One'ula Park, was a special place to many people, especially longtime residents of the former cane sugar community, for different reasons.

"People went to Hau Bush when they were happy, when they were sad, when they wanted to run away, when they wanted to celebrate," said Tesha Malama, who has lived 35 of her 40 years in 'Ewa Beach. "There was a time when every graduation and wedding party was held at Hau Bush. I remember when there was a bonfire after every (Campbell High) homecoming game there."

Malama, former chairwoman of the 'Ewa Neighborhood Board, is among the organizers of a community reunion Saturday.

"We want to bring people back because the place is such a jewel," Malama said of Hau Bush/One'ula Park. "Families should be able to enjoy time here and not worry about getting ripped off or stepping on glass or drug paraphernalia. Generations used to come here and nobody ever left without cleaning up. There was never any trash."

Community leaders and police have worked hard to clear the area of homeless people, drug dealers and crime, and organizers say the reunion is a way to recognize the effort.

Back to the bush

Saturday's second annual "Malama One'ula: Bash at the Bush" will be at One'ula Beach Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The drug- and alcohol-free event, featuring entertainment, food, crafts and children's games, is sponsored by the 'Ewa Beach Lions Club, Haseko Hawaii, Grace Pacific, Gentry Homes Ltd. and Campbell Estate.

Saturday's event is also an opportunity for old-timers to talk story about Hau Bush. And everybody who has lived in 'Ewa and 'Ewa Beach, it seems, has a favorite memory of Hau Bush.

"It had everything, all the different reef fish and lobsters because we had every kind of limu," said the 64-year-old Chang Wo, a seaweed expert who is dedicated to restoring depleted ogo in the area. "The ogo we had was thick, long and there was acres of the thing. People say we lost it because we overharvested but the junk stuff, the limu nobody ate, it's gone, too."

Chang Wo said the sand at Hau Bush started disappearing after the airport reef runway was built and that the limu went with development along Fort Weaver Road that affected the flow of brackish water to the ocean.

Fevella, 42, meanwhile, has treasured memories of partying at Hau Bush as a teenager and of family outings as a youngster.

"The park was so secluded, nobody paid any mind because there were no problems," Fevella said. "What I remember best was the family outings, barbecues and camping. Some people used to go down the back road to a secret place to catch slipper lobsters. There were people here who used to live off the fishing and limu." That's all gone now.

"The real beauty was the sand used to go out another 20 feet and you never had to worry walking on it and getting cut by glass or poked by needles."

Fojas, 52, grew up in Pearl City but has been surfing Hau Bush for more than 20 years.

"There was no road, we had to drive on trails past trees and sand dunes to get to the beach," Fojas recalled. "You had to wait for five or six guys to come out because nobody wanted to paddle out alone. The surf was bigger then, maybe 6 to 8 feet."

Alexander, a lifelong resident of 'Ewa Beach, said freedom was the spirit of Hau Bush.

"The park came in 1971, but before that it was the ruralness of it that made it special," Alexander said. "It was a gorgeous place to walk around 40 years ago."

Malama remembered the view on a clear night.

"It was a clear shot of Ala Moana, Aloha Tower and Waikiki," Malama said.

"Hau Bush is where kids learned to surf and deal with the ocean. We'd go out on the reef and see green sea turtles. Hawaiian seals used to lounge on the sand. If you're lucky today, you might still see a seal on the sand."

Or even a real hau bush at Hau Bush.

Reach Rod Ohira at 535-8181 or rohira@honoluluadvertiser.com