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Kalaupapa Cemetery Restoration Program

August 1, 2012


This grave marker in Kahaloko Cemetery was once completely hidden by brush 

Grave marker in Papaloa Cemetery

An estimated 8,000 people died on the Kalaupapa Peninsula, yet, only 1500 grave markers exist to chronicle the lives of those people who lived and died here. Grave markers represent the people who experienced both suffering and joy here in Kalaupapa, and who represented many cultures and ethnicities.  Weather, natural disaster, invasive species, and people, all pose threats to these reminders of the past. A large number of grave markers in the Papaloa Cemetery were destroyed by the 1946 tsunami. Today, the cemeteries across the peninsula are being brought back from neglect and disrepair. Time and energy must be spent to preserve and maintain these sites, in honor of those who died here.

An ongoing National Park Service Program works to protect these sites which stretch from beyond the beach houses of Kalaupapa to the shores of Kalawao. Kahaloko Cemetery, located along the road to Kalawao, is one of the sites in the preservation process. Just four years ago, the entire cemetery was covered in brush, and trees.

The grave sites, and thus the information about the people buried there, was inaccessible. With the help of volunteer groups, and all divisions within the Park Service, the cemetery was cleared, and returned to dignity.

Please support these efforts by respecting all grave sites on the Kalaupapa peninsula. For more information and volunteer opportunities please call Kalaupapa National Historical Park at: (808) 567-6802

Grave marker in Papaloa Cemetery after restoration








By: AM Borthwick

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