Lā'ie, Hawai'i

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Laie is a census-designated place (CDP) located in the Koolauloa District on the island of Oahu in Honolulu County, Hawaii, United States. In Hawaiian, ʻie means "ʻie leaf" (ʻieʻie is a climbing screwpine: Freycinetia arborea). The population was 4,585 at the 2000 census.

Contents

History

Historically, Laie was a puʻuhonua, a sanctuary for fugitives. While a fugitive was in the pu'uhonua, it was unlawful for that fugitive's pursuers to harm him or her. During wartime, spears with white flags attached were set up at each end of the city of refuge. If warriors attempted to pursue fugitives into the puʻuhonua, they would be killed by sanctuary priests. Fugitives seeking sanctuary in a city of refuge were not forced to permanently live within the confines of its walls. Instead, they were given two choices: In some cases, after a certain length of time (ranging from a couple of weeks to several years), fugitives could enter the service of the priests and assist in the daily affairs of the puʻuhonua. A second option was that after a certain length of time the fugitives would be free to leave and re-enter the world unmolested. Traditional cities of refuge were abolished in 1819.[1]

The history of Laie begins long before first contact. The name Laie is said to derive from two Hawaiian words: lau meaning "leaf", and ie referring to the ʻieʻie (red-spiked climbing screwpine, Freycinetia arborea), which wreaths forest trees of the uplands or mauka regions of the mountains of the Koʻolau Range behind the community of Laie. In Hawaiian mythology, this red-spiked climbing screwpine is sacred to Kane, god of the earth, god of life, and god of the forests, as well as to Laka, the patron goddess of the hula.

The name Laie becomes more environmentally significant through the Hawaiian oral history (kaʻao ) entitled Laieikawai. In this history, the term ikawai, which means "in the water," also belongs to the food-producing tree called kalalaikawa. The kalalaikawa tree was planted in a place called Paliula's garden, which is closely associated with the spiritual home, after her birth and relocation of Laieikawai. According to Hawaiian oral traditions, the planting of the kalalaikawa tree in the garden of Paliula is symbolic of the reproductive energy of male and female, which union in turns fills the land with offspring. From its close association with nature through its name, and through its oral traditions and history, the community of Laie takes upon itself a precise identification and a responsibility in perpetuating life and in preserving all life forms. Sometimes the land itself provided sanctuary for the Hawaiian people. Laie was such a place. The earliest information about Laie states that it was a small, sparsely populated village with a major distinction: "it was a city of refuge." Within this city of refuge were located at least two heiau traditional Hawaiian temples, of which very little remains today. Moohekili heiau was destroyed, but its remains can be found in taro patches makai (seaward) of the LDS Church's Laie Hawaii Temple. Towards the mountain (mauka), the remains of Nioi heiau can be found on a small ridge. All that is left of Nioi is a coral platform.[2]

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