Kupuna preserves history with Ocean Pointe names
By Rod Ohira
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Rod Ohira
'EWA BEACH — Arline Eaton prayed for guidance, as she always does, before suggesting that the new public elementary school at Haseko's Ocean Pointe development be named Keone'ula.
In Hawaiian, ke means the, one is sand and 'ula the color red, Eaton explained.
"It shows royalty," Eaton said. "Ka ali'i (the chief) of Pu'uloa at one time was Keaunui, who made Pearl Harbor into a harbor to allow canoes in. There used to be a freshwater spring here that made it possible to have the red clay, called 'alaea, that is mixed with Hawaiian salt to make it 'ono. They had a lot of salt pans in this area, all the way to Kalaeloa.
"Also, we want the children at this school to be proud of themselves in the tradition of ka ali'i," Eaton added. "How we think of children is in the word one, meaning sand. If we look at sand, it took years for it to have broken down to be what it is. It's like our children, it takes years to build them up. And who does that? It's the kumu, the teacher, who builds them up to have wisdom and character."
Keone'ula School opens in January 2007. The school shares the same name as a boulevard at Ocean Pointe, which Eaton also helped to name.
Eaton, 79, a full-blooded Hawaiian, has the unique distinction of helping to name neighborhoods and streets at Ocean Pointe. She's been doing it voluntarily for nearly 20 years and to date, Eaton has helped to name Ocean Pointe's three neighborhoods — Ke 'Aina Kai (land by the sea), Ke Noho Kai (live by the sea) and Ke'alohi Kai (bright, sparkling sea) — and about 40 streets.
"Aunty Arline is a treasure," said Sharene Saito Tam, Haseko Hawaii's director of community relations and public affairs. "She graciously has helped Haseko with the naming of our neighborhoods and streets from the very beginning, and is currently working with us to establish the Hoakalei Cultural Foundation, which will develop programs to teach the community about the history of this area.
"As one of only two keiki to have grown up out here," Saito Tam added, "she has wisdom, knowledge and a true sense of place beyond compare."
Eaton does not call the area 'Ewa Beach but Pu'uloa.
She explains that Pu'uloa was a district that extended from Pearl Harbor through 'Aiea and 'Ewa Beach.
"It was shaped like a pie," Eaton said of Pu'uloa. "That's why you have a Pu'uloa Road (in Mapunapuna near the airport). All of Hickam Air Force Base was part of it. In the district, or moku, there were 13 ahupua'a, like Halawa, 'Aiea and Honouliuli."
Eaton was raised by her grandparents, Malia and John Kealoha, around the area where Ocean Pointe is being developed and spoke Hawaiian until she received English-standard education at Kapalama Elementary, Stevenson Intermediate and Roosevelt High School. Her love for the land led to opposition to early developers in 'Ewa Beach.
"What made me change my mind is I sat down and prayed and the Lord showed me that what I always wanted could be preserved in the naming," Eaton said. "I look at it now and ask myself why am I doing it, and the answer is I do it for the community so people who come here to live will know something about our history.
"I want residents to learn about their street names, learn how to pronounce them and know something about the meaning," she added.
As an example, Eaton pointed to the significance of Laulaunui Street, which she did not name.
"There used to be kalo there, so lots of laulau leaves," Eaton said.
Eaton teaches Hawaiian studies at Iroquois Point Elementary but does not like the title teacher. "I'm a kupuna, an elder who is nurturing (students)," she said.
Haseko purchased the 1,100-acre Ocean Pointe property in 1988 and sold its first homes a decade later. Nearly 2,000 families live at Ocean Pointe, which will feature a total of 4,850 homes and the Hoakalei Resort, manmade marina and golf course when the project is completed.
Ocean Pointe is no longer home to Eaton — "pipi'i (expensive)," she says — but she's creating a lasting legacy there.
Reach Rod Ohira at email@example.com.