Kauai visitors will soon be able to access a range of Garden Isle history and culture, including multimedia video and interactive imagery inspired by ancient Hawaiian stories and chants, through a free mobile app.
The program is part of the Kauai Nui Kuapapa initiative launched this spring by county and tourism officials, in partnership with the local company Na Hoku Walo, to post signs around the Garden Isle notifying travelers and residents when they enter historical Hawaiian land divisions, known as moku and ahupua'a.
"The purpose is to hopefully provide visitors with a sensitivity for our island and its history," said Kanoe Ahuna, an executive partner at Na Hoku Walo, adding that the app is intended for use with the land division signs. "And we want to share the true nature of who we really are."
The land divisions on Kauai date back centuries and were a fundamental component of everyday life for Hawaiians on all of the islands, separating the destination's limited natural resources into equitable portions typically running from the mountains to the ocean.
On Kauai there are five moku, or major districts, and about 54 ahupua'a, which are subdivisions, and by December the installation of signs, indicating these boundaries along major roads across the island, should be complete.
Meanwhile, folks can visit www.kauainuikuapapa.com to learn more about the project and read up on specifics relating to each of the moku and its natural and cultural characteristics.
Ahuna said more content will be added after all the signage is up in December, including stories and chants long associated with the different ahupua'a subdivisions and place names.
The project will also enlist the help of Kauai's high school students, who will help create the multimedia content and videos for both the website and the eventual mobile app.
"It's not going to be your typical tourist thing with just one narrator," Ahuna said. "We want this to be a community-based project that will allow people to see different faces of Kauai when they watch the videos and interact with the content."
According to Ahuna, the mobile app will likely be available for download from the website, or via a QR code posted on signage throughout the Lihue Airport, in mid-2015, and it will include a feature enabling users to take pictures of Kauai landmarks and then pull up related videos or Hawaiian stories linked to the photographed location.
The Kauai Nui Kuapapa initiative will also feature a large map exhibition that will be installed next year at the Kauai Museum in Lihue, offering travelers a topographical and interactive introduction to the island's moku and ahupua'a.