The residents of the homeless encampment known as Pu‘uhonua o Waianae next to the Waianae Small Boat Harbor want the public to see what life is like in the encampment — so they plan to have an open house from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.
“We want people to tour our place, see what it looks like, what we’re trying to build, what we’re trying to do,” said Twinkle Borge, who is known as “mamas” to the estimated 200 people living in Pu‘uhonua o Waianae.
There will be free food, dance lessons based on Micronesian and Hawaiian culture and live Hawaiian music, Borge said.
“Everything is free,” she said.
Homeless members of Pu‘uhonua o Waianae plan to offer guided tours of the encampment’s cultural learning center that includes fenced-off holes that lead to a suspected underground cave system that is home to a rare “Waianae lineage” of red shrimp called opae ula.
State Department of Land and Natural Resources officials worry the encampment on 19.5 acres of state land may be harming the half-inch-long shrimp. There’s also concern about damage to ancient burial sites and pre- and post-contact rock walls.
Next door at the boat harbor, DLNR officials also link vandalism and a spike in water use to the encampment.
Borge said the people of Pu‘uhonua o Waianae have offered to pay for their water use and have asked to be taught how to properly care for the opae ula.