Kauaʻi Community College faculty and staff joined hands to clean the Puhi Plantation Camp Cemetery located on Kauaʻi CC grounds, as part of the University of Hawaiʻi Community College System’s 50th Anniversary. About 50 faculty, staff and community volunteers cleared debris and trash, dug away weeds, cleaned grave markers and placed fresh flowers at the grave sites.
In the Puhi Plantation Camp Cemetery, 97 names are listed on the gravestones—20 are marked in Japanese and 52 are unknown. According to a 2003 Garden Island newspaper article, Grove Farm’s Puhi Camp was a close-knit ethnically diverse community with workers and their families who came from China, Philippines, Japan, Puerto Rico and Portugal. At one time, there were 600 homes with 1,200 residents. Sugar cane, pineapple and other crops were cultivated until 1968.
The camp is remembered for being a place where people were happy and productive, and appreciative of the richness of a simple way of life. It had its own gas station, slaughterhouse, Chinese laundry, three stores, and places where children could play freely. A former swimming spot known as “Up Pond” still exists as a reservoir that feeds into Kauaʻi CC’s loʻi.
“We thought it would be most fitting to celebrate by honoring those who lived here and the roots of the land on which Kauaʻi CC stands,” said Helen Cox, Kauaʻi CC chancellor. “Giving back through community service is a hallmark of our mission. This project symbolizes what we stand for and will continue forward. Here’s to the next 50.”