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Original settlers
Between 200 and 600 AD, the first settlers arrived in Kaua‘i from the Marquesas Islands. It is not clear why the voyagers sought a new homeland. They brought taro, sweet potato, pigs and fowl, as well as seeds. They were experienced farmers and fishermen, with advanced irrigation techniques that allowed them to thrive on the land. Around 1000 AD, Tahitian explorers arrived in Hawai‘i and conquered the Marquesans. According to Hawaiian legend, the small-in-stature Marquesans were chased into the hills by the Tahitians, and became the "Menehune", thought to be responsible for bad luck. The Tahitians brought with them a social and political hierarchy with distinct rules and taboos, also called "kapu". It was forbidden for women and men to eat together, for women to eat pork or bananas, or for anyone to step on the shadow of a royal member. This kapu system, with kings (ali‘i), thrived and ruled for hundreds of years before Western explorers first made contact in the Islands.

First Western contact

On January 20, 1778, the British explorer, Captain James Cook, and his ships, HMS Discovery and Resolution, arrived at the mouth of the Waimea River on the western side of Kaua‘i. Originally, Cook sent three small craft to Waimea so that his men could determine if it was a good place for the ships to dock. They reported back that there was a freshwater lagoon alongside a native village, so Cook and his men anchored their ships and went ashore on smaller craft. Cook's mission is thought to be one of scientific and social exploration. His men documented the flora and fauna of the Waimea area, and tried to translate the language of the natives.[5] This first encounter was relatively friendly. One of Cook's men wrote, "On landing I was reciev'd [sic] with every token of respect and friendship by a great number of the Natives who were collected upon the occasion; they every one of them prostrated themselves around me which is the first mark of respect at these Isles." While Cook's first contact with the islands was originally friendly and is responsible for a vast resource of information about the flora, fauna and culture of Hawai‘i, it also marks the beginning of the period of colonization of Hawai‘i and its people. The arrival of Europeans also introduced venereal disease and tuberculosis, which were responsible for decimating the native Hawaiian population.

Every February Waimea hosts a celebration of Hawaiian culture at the Waimea Town Celebration. The festival began in 1978, and has expanded into a nine-day event. Activities include a celebration of Kaumuali‘iu, Kaua‘i's last king, a film festival, several concerts, a lei-making contest for paniolo (cowboy) hats, a rodeo, a canoe race, and numerous other sporting events.
The Historic Waimea Theater originally opened on September 2, 1938, and is one of only two remaining movie theaters on the island of Kaua‘i. The theater was damaged by Hurricane Iniki in 1992, and the owner planned on tearing it down. West Kaua‘i Main Street leased the building in 1993, and began to restore the landmark theater. The County of Kaua‘i purchased the building in 1996, and in August 1999, it again re-opened to the public under the management of West Kauai Business & Professional Association

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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