Article

Pupukea Paumalu Within Reach

| posted on July 22, 2010

Bolstered by new support from the surfing industry and local officials, the community effort to protect Pupukea Paumalu is close to the finish line. The “Campaign for Pupukea Paumalu” is within $200,000 of its goal of $1M in private donations and Pupukea Paumalu is on track to be permanently protected by summer 2006.

Download our conversation with Pancho Sullivan regarding the Pupukea Paumalu conservation effort.

The 1,129 acre property captured in this view from “Sunset Point” overlooks the world’s most famous stretch of surfing beaches including Pipeline and Sunset Beach. The 400-foot high bluff stretches a mile along the coast and slopes nearly a mile up to the Pupukea Paumalu Forest Reserve. Pupukea Paumalu is widely recognized as the defining feature of the North Shore experience for both residents and millions of annual visitors.

The property is in the two ahupua‘a (land division from mountain to sea) of Pupukea and Paumalu. From ancient times, Pupukea has traditionally been among the lands cared for and used by the kahuna, or priests of Hawaii. Community members, multiple levels of government, and supporters from around the world are working to conserve Pupukea Paumalu and implement community stewardship of its unique resources. Other notable assets nearby include Puu o Mahuka Heiau (the largest heiau, or place of worship, on Oahu), the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, Waimea Valley Audubon Center, and the Pupukea-Waimea Marine Life Conservation District.

The Campaign for Pupukea Paumalu Benefit Luau hosted by the North Shore Community Land Trust on December 3 at Waimea Valley Audubon Center drew surfers, celebrities, and community members in a successful effort that raised over $250,000. To date, over $7M has been raised from government sources and the Campaign’s goal is to reach $1M in private fundraising in order to attain the objective of $8M in total funding for the permanent protection of the property.

The Benefit Luau was supported by Honorary Co-Chairs Jack Johnson, Rochelle Ballard, Kelly Slater, Mark Cunningham, and Pancho Sullivan as well as a stalwart group of long-time North Shore residents including child-hood friends of Jack and Pancho. Highlights of the evening included live performances by Kawika Kahiapo, John Cruz, and Jack as well as the presence of Yvon and Malinda Chouinard, Masuo Ueda of Surfrider Foundation Japan, and former world champions Shaun Tomson and Rabbit Bartholomew. Live auction items included a one-man canoe by Kaku Designs, original artwork by Bill Braden, and Shaun Tomson’s 1980 Duke Kahanamoku Trophy (purchased by 3X world champion Andy Irons).

The acquisition of the land from Obayashi Corporation by project partner the Trust for Public Land will prevent development of the site, which lies between Paumalu Gulch and Pupukea Heights and borders the Pupukea Boy Scouts Camp and the Paumalu Girl Scouts Camp. Obayashi once planned a luxury residential development of several hundred homes on the site, which overlooks the most famous North Shore beaches.

Community sentiment to find a way to permanently protect the area rather than see it developed prompted the Trust for Public Land as well as City, state and federal officials to get involved in acquiring the land from Obayashi. Once the acquisition takes place, the mauka portion of the site will be turned over to the state as a park reserve. The City would get use of a small portion in the makai portion, for possible expansion of the Sunset Beach Neighborhood Park. Community organizations will partner in stewardship of the land.

The North Shore community has been able to mobilize an unprecedented and remarkable coalition including the City and County of Honolulu, the State of Hawai‘i, the Federal government, the US Army Garrison Hawai‘i, and other private contributors including Brushfire Records, the Freeman Foundation, Sole International Corporation, the Quiksilver Foundation (and 7X surfing world champion Kelly Slater) and Patagonia to commit financial support for the public acquisition and permanent protection of Pupukea Paumalu. By working with project partner, the Trust for Public Land, the community dream is within reach and the property is on track to be permanently protected as a public natural area by summer 2006.

The entire North Shore community, volunteers from Surfrider Foundation and Patagonia Haleiwa, and a broad spectrum of the surfing world have participated in the effort in special ways. This has made the Campaign successful and provided outstanding momentum. Other surf companies contributing to the effort include Billabong, Hurley, Haleiwa Surfboard Company, Xcel Wetsuits, Reef, Oneill, Haleiwa Surf n Sea, Charlie Walker Surfboards, Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, Twin Fin Wines, and Strong Current Haleiwa. The North Shore Community Land Trust continues to extend gratitude to everyone for demonstrating what can be accomplished when people come together based on shared values.

Limited edition Pupukea Paumalu t-shirts (featuring Bill Braden’s art work hand delivered to Obayashi in Tokyo) are available exclusively at Patagonia Haleiwa and more information and an opportunity to donate online toward the final $200,000 needed are at NorthShoreLand.Org .