We are trying to learn more about the history of land use at Black Pot Beach Park. Please contact us with any photos, documentation or personal experiences that relate to the history of Black Pot.
While we have found lots of regional history about Hanalei and Princeville, it has been difficult to find details specific to Black Pot Beach Park. Continue reading to see the history we’ve pieced together so far.
Origins of Black Pot Beach Park
Since the 1930s when Hanalei Pier was last used for commercial shipping, Hanalei Pier and the surrounding beach area has been a focal point of recreation. Traditionally a place to launch boats, fish and learn how to surf, the beach park continues to be a popular gathering place to relax, socialize and enjoy the beach.
Hanalei’s kupuna—some who may still refer to the place next to the river as “the landing”—have fond memories of Henry Kalani Tai Hook (1909-1977), his large black cooking pot and the gatherings that he cooked for. Fishermen and their families (and anyone who was in the area) would gather at the beach to fish and socialize, and Uncle Tai Hook would cook for everybody who wanted to eat. The reputation of Tai Hook’s large pot was so powerful that people started calling the area “Black Pot.”
In 1967, investors purchased the Black Pot area for $234,000, and proposed plans for a residential condominium development. The new property owners also banned public access to the property, even though the area had a long, continuous history as being a place for the community. In 1973, following a six-year battle between the developers and the community interests who were unwilling to see the area developed, the County purchased the area for $405,000. The park was dedicated and opened as Black Pot Beach Park in July, 1973.
Clark, John R. K. Beaches of Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau. University of Hawai‘i Press. Honolulu, 1990.
Cultural Surveys Hawai‘i. Draft Archaeological Inventory Survey Report for the Hanalei Black Pot Beach Park Expansion. Prepared for HHF Planners. Kailua, July 2015.
Furfaro, Jay. Personal communications, June 2015.
Harrington, Daniel. Hanalei: A Kauaʻi River Town. Mutual Publishing. Honolulu, 2008.
State of Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of State Parks. Hanalei Pier Reconstruction Final Environmental Impact Statement. Honolulu, 1990.