Haena: Through the Eyes of the Ancestors
By Carlos Andrade
UH Press; 158 pages

In his dense but admirable new book, UH associate professor of Hawaiian studies Carlos Andrade chronicles changes to Native Hawaiian life, using Ha`ena, Kaua`i as the focal point, yet acknowledging that “Ha`ena is only one place in an archipelago filled with storied places.”

Each land feature is exactingly examined, and background information, such as how ahupua`a function and origin stories, are offered in efforts to correct misperceptions of land tenure and resurrect lost place names.

Andrade in part hopes to “facilitate a broader understanding of some of the underlying tensions existing in Hawai`i today,” but often writes in such exclusionary language that this seems possible only when the book comes alive during transcripts of kupuna stories. “Ha`ena” is best in pockets where rigid scholarly writing is replaced by powerful and essential storytelling.

Haena: Through the Eyes of the Ancestors
Reviewed by Christine Thomas
For the Honolulu Advertiser