Jan Tenbruggencate

//Jan Tenbruggencate

Prior to Agriculture, Mana Plain Was the Largest Wetland in Hawai‘i

By Jan TenBruggencate

The broad agricultural fields from Waimea to Polihale, at the base of West Kaua‘i’s cliffs, may seem like an unchanged landscape, but they are far different than in ancient days.

Much of the area sometimes known as the Mana Plain was once a fertile wetland, some of it below sea level, protected from the […]

By |April 25th, 2015|0 Comments

Early Hawaiians and the Universe Around Them

By Jan TenBruggencate

The sense of conservation is deep in Hawai‘i, and dates to the earliest days of human activity.

There is a respect for biodiversity and the connection between people, plants, animals and the land.

This doesn’t mean there were no destructive acts in land use policies of early Hawai‘i. Native forested valleys were destroyed to create […]

By |March 13th, 2015|0 Comments

Ancient Hawaiian Field Systems

By Jan TenBruggencate

Farming, in a way, is resource protection.

When you’re growing food, you don’t need to go out and harvest wild resources.

Nearly every human culture has figured that out, and early Hawai‘i was among the most agriculturally sophisticated of stone age cultures.

Hawaiians managed resources in every part of the island chain, from the ocean onto […]

By |February 26th, 2015|0 Comments

The Battle of Maha‘ulepu

By Jan TenBruggencate

The Ka‘ie‘iewaho Channel is a daunting 60-mile passage, across which no early Hawaiian chief was able to launch a successful attack on Kaua‘i.

It is an old Kaua‘i tradition that the bones of unsuccessful armies are buried in the dunes of Maha‘ulepu.

However, it is not only war, but also peace that is called to […]

By |January 9th, 2015|0 Comments

Kamehameha Would Go

By Jan TenBruggencate

Some folks write about tow-in surfing as if it’s a new thing.

Tow-in surfing is the concept of using another vehicle—often a small speedboat or personal watercraft—to deliver a surfer to a fast-moving wave.

But of course, it is far from new. Just as early Hawaiians invented surfing, they also invented the concept of assisted […]

By |December 25th, 2014|0 Comments

A Hawaiian Thanksgiving with Non-Hawaiian Fixes

By Jan TenBruggencate

There is something entirely un-Hawaiian about one of the classic Hawaiian dishes.

At any Hawaiian food event, and included with any Hawaiian plate lunch, along with the laulau and poi is the lomilomi salmon.

This crisp, refreshing dish is served cold.

Classically Hawaiian, and yet there is nothing classically Hawaiian in it. Before the first Europeans […]

By |November 25th, 2014|0 Comments

The Beauty of the Breadfruit

By Jan TenBruggencate

There are a few plants that evoke the tropics, plain and simple.

The coconut, of course. And blossoms like the fragrant white Tahitian gardenia.

And breadfruit, the `ulu.

What a plant.

Set aside the fruit for a moment.

`Ulu bleeds white, a latex sap that was used for caulking canoes by the Polynesians. The sap could also be […]

By |October 28th, 2014|0 Comments

Value of Coconut to Polynesians is Hard to Overstate

By Jan TenBruggencate

The father of a friend of mine had an interesting quirk: He would not plant anything in his yard unless it was edible.

If there was a tree, it was a fruit tree. If there was a shrub, it had edible berries.

I actually don’t know whether he had a grass lawn, or whether there […]

By |September 27th, 2014|0 Comments

Happiness Grows on Trees

By Jan TenBruggencate

If you plant a fruit tree, you’re committing an act of faith in the future.

And when you pick fruit from a mossy-barked old tree, it’s appropriate to thank the good person who had the forethought to plant it.

I can remember clambering into a Molokai jungle nearly 60 years ago, and finding a tree […]

By |August 10th, 2014|0 Comments

There Are Monk Seals and There Are Monk Seals

By Jan TenBruggencate

The Hawaiian monk seal is a mysterious species, a member of a small group of exceedingly rare or extinct seals, and the only one in the Pacific.

New genetic research has shown how it got to the Hawaiian Islands without having to swim around any of the world’s great capes: It swam across the […]

By |June 19th, 2014|0 Comments