History by Mike Muramoto

Albeit I’ve been shooting at The Koko Head Shooting Complex since the mid 1970’s, the history of the complex is still vague. The following is what I know of its history.

Kahauloa Crater where The Koko Head Shooting Complex is located is legendarily the home of Hawaiian Menehune.

The rifle range background is Koko Crater or in Hawaiian Kohelepelepe or the inner lips of the vagina. According to a racy legend, the pig demigod Kamapua’a hotly pursued the goddess of fire Pele on the Big Island. The goddess Kapo, Pele’s sister, detached her kohe (vagina) and flung it to eastern O’ahu to divert Kamapua’a. The trick apparently worked because the pig demigod followed the so-called traveling vagina and left Pele alone. The vaginal imprint became the crater known as Kohelepelepe. (Hikers guide to O’ahu by Stuart M. Ball, Jr.)

On December 29, 1928 an agreement was struck between the Estate of Bernice Pauahi Bishop and the City and County of Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii, for the sum of $1.00, the property which is now known as the Koko Head Regional Park be sold to the City and County of Honolulu : “That it will and they shall use the conveyed premises for purposes of public parks and/or rights of way, and for no other purposes”.

Time warp to 1950. The National Guard had already developed Kahauloa Crater into a shooting range training facility. The city discovered that they owned the crater property and proceeded to regain the rights to the range. Bill Niau, discharged from 222nd Military Police in Guam, was back home in Hawaii looking for a job. Bill applied for a groundskeeper position with the City and County of Honolulu and discovered the position required a firearms background. A match made in heaven, Bill Niau became resident caretaker and range master of The Koko Head Shooting Complex. When Bill took over the responsibilities of the range in 1950, the rifle range was in its current position, the pistol range was on the Hanauma Bay side of the crater and somewhere within the crater walls was a skeet range. Everyone remembers Bill with his Khaki uniform. Bill retired on December 18, 1986 with 36 years of service.

Howard Pang, an avid shooter, took on the responsibilities of the shooting complex after Bill retired. Howard held the range master position until August 15, 1991. Howard tried to make the people aware the complex was a public park and tried to educate the people about the privileges of using the park and strived to keep the park clean.

In 1991, Michael Muramoto’s firearms knowledge and skills honed shooting Skeet, IPSC, Metallic Silhouette, hunting and now Trap earned him the duties as range master of the Complex. Mike worked many years in firearms and sporting goods sales with Security Equipment and Hunting Supplies of Hawaii AKA The Armory. His shooting accomplishments are diverse:

1968 – fired first rifle
1973 – R/U State Skeet Champion
Junior Skeet Champion
.410 gauge Champion

1985(?) – Metallic Silhouette High Aggregate Champion
1986 – 1988 President Hawaii Metallic Silhouette Shooters Association
1986 – Inaugural Bowling Pin Shoot Champion
1988 – Bowling Pin Match winner
1988- Metallic Silhouette High Aggregate Champion

In 1994 the complex was reconfigured. The biggest change made was the pistol range was moved to the mauka side of the crater adjacent to the rifle range and a trap field was installed. The new design was implemented by Willie Hee of ESH, an engineering firm. Willie was a certified Range Design consultant and the only one I was aware of on Oahu. Unfortunately, Willie passed away. Mike attended an NRA Range Safety and design conference in 1999.

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