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Hawaii'i School for Girls is located on the slope of Diamond Head. A private school that is housed in a villa once owned by Walter F. Dillingham, the man who severed Waikiki’s spouting waters. This palatial structure—La Pietra—was erected on the grounds of Papa’ena’ena, a heiau dedicated to the surf.

Dillingham, a major political player in Hawai'i and the head of the Hawaiian Dredging Company, drained the wetlands of Waikiki in the early 1920s to create the Ala Wai Canal. In 1919, Dillingham purchased his Diamond Head property and hired noted architect David Adler to design a residence modeled after a Florence villa owned by Dillingham’s wife’s aunt. Dillingham was eager to secure his stature as a baron of Hawaii industry by building a prominently sited home with a stately European pedigree.

 

When Papa’ena’ena heiau stood on Diamond Head, it overlooked what is today First Break, the beginning of Kalahuewehe, a surfing course famous for hundreds of years. Kahuna at Papa’ena’ena flew a kite at the heiau to inform surfers that the waves were up. Papa’ena’ena was also a luakini heiau: human sacrifices were made at the terraced stone structure. Some historians believe that when Kamehameha I conquered ‘Oahu in 1795, he used Papa’ena’ena to offer a special sacrifice to his war god Kuka’ilimoku: the body of Kamehameha I’s slain rival Kalanikupule.

In 1874, Queen Emma - widow of Kamehameha IV - inherited King William C. Lunalilo’s Waikiki residence at Kaluaokau. Queen Emma had Papa’ena’ena heiau dismantled and its rocks built into a fence to surround her Waikiki estate, which incidentally is where the International Marketplace is now. Sources
-Hibbard, Don and David Franzen. 1986. The View from Diamond Head: Royal Residences to Urban Resort. Honolulu: Editions Limited.

-Kanahele, George S. 1995. Waikiki, 100 BC to 1990 AD: An Untold Story. Honolulu: The Queen Emma Foundation.

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