Community-Based Research: The next step in Hawaiian archaeology


  • Kathleen Kawelu University of Otago
  • Donald Pakele


community-based research, Hawai‘i, Hawaiian archaeology


In a 1997 keynote address to the Society for Hawaiian Archaeology, Patrick V. Kirch assessed the development of Hawaiian archaeology, past, present, and future. Kirch lamented the shrinking role research institutions played in Hawaiian archaeology, and challenged archaeologists to be more engaged with descendant communities. The landscape of Hawaiian archaeology has changed since Kirch’s 1997 assessment, and more partnerships between archaeologists and Hawaiian community groups have developed since that time. This paper presents an example of community-based archaeology, in which a grassroots group seeks to protect a heiau (place of worship) threatened by harbor expansion. The assembled group includes Kānaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) elders and community members, students, State archaeologists, and Kānaka Maoli archaeologists. A brief contextual background of the sociopolitical history of Hawaiian archaeology is provided, as well as coverage of the development of the project and its potential to serve as an example for similar community efforts elsewhere in the islands.




How to Cite

Kawelu, K. and Pakele, D. (2014) “Community-Based Research: The next step in Hawaiian archaeology”, Journal of Pacific Archaeology, 5(2), pp. 62–71. Available at: (Accessed: 25 February 2024).