Crew members spent the morning learning from and working with the dedicated leadership of ʻAoʻao o Nā Loko Iʻa O Maui, the non-profit organization dedicated to revitalizing Koʻieʻie Loko Iʻa for educational, archaeological, cultural, and recreational purposes.
According to the organization, “We feel that this fishpond is a symbol of the Hawaiian culture and history. Therefore, it must be preserved as a monument to Hawaiʻi s past and an icon for the future.”
Led by Executive Director Joylynn Paman and President Kimokeo Kapahulehua, ʻAoʻao O Nā Loko Iʻa O Maui works to accomplish this by both physically restoring the 3+ acre loko kuapā, and by supporting community work days and education outreach to learners of all ages.
Ko`ie`ie Fishpond, also known as Kaʻonoʻulu Kai Fishpond and Kalepolepo Fishpond, is located in Kihei, in the Kaʻonoʻulu Ahupuaʻa of the Kula District of Maui.
Photo by Miki Tomita
As we worked side-by-side to gather pohaku that were moved off the wall by weather and human impact, our volunteer coordinator, Uncle Mack, provided us with moʻolelo and historical accounts related to this very special place.
Uncle Kimokeo, respected and beloved leader of this organization and community-building effort, posed thoughtful questions about the work we were doing at the fishpond to engage us to think deeper and find the multiple layers of meaning in this effort to revitalize rather than restore the fishpond.
According to Uncle Kimokeo, “to revitalize is not the same as to restore – we say revitalize because we want to be clear that the work has to bring back life into the community, from the organisms in the pond to the ones on the land, to the people”.
In addition to working to revitalize this community, Uncle Kimokeo travels the world in his canoe to learn and teach about sustainable living and the interconnectedness of all water of our Island Earth from a Hawaiian cultural perspective. Thank you so much to the leadership and volunteers of ʻAoʻao o Nā Loko Iʻa O Maui for welcoming is into your work, and for all you do to support and develop commitment to mālama Hawaiʻi and mālama honua in our communities!