Volunteers Restoring Mokauea Island - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Volunteers Restoring Mokauea Island

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Donna Kahakui Donna Kahakui
Joan Bagood Joan Bagood
Matthew Limtiaco Matthew Limtiaco

By Roger Mari

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- For the past four years, the Organization Kai Makana has been trying to restore the island of Mokauea off Oahu. Saturday, they put together a special project in observance of Earth Day.

More than 300 people came out to help clean up Mokauea Island along with the organization Kai Makana. They try to restore and maintain the island which is home to five resident families.

"It's going to be a life-long project I think. If we can just continue to keep getting in, and keep taking care, it will all work out. You just got to believe," said Kai Makana founder Donna Kahakui.

Residents on the island appreciated seeing people landing on the beach to help cleanup. Marine debris had become too much for the families to control by themselves.

"What they're doing to day would take us months to take care of," said Mokauea Island resident Joan Bagood.

"I heard about this from a friend of mine and wanted to come out and just support," said Matthew Limtiaco.

Over the years, piles of rubbish had floated ashore, a fishpond is overgrown with mangrove, and kiawe trees invaded much of the island.

"They have thorns this long. So can you imagine if you're wearing slippers, it goes right through them. I remember first working out here, it's like pretty much you had, how many pukas did you have in your feet today?" said Donna Kahakui.

The goal is to someday turn Mokauea into a place of learning.

"People all over the world, our kids can come to it. They can learn about native fish ponds, they can learn about how to restore native limu they can learn about self sustainability, and enjoying the ocean, and getting out and working together," said Donna Kahakui.

It's a unique way to celebrate Earth Day, trying to make one small island a better place for Hawaii.

To date, more than 1,500 volunteers as well as various organizations have given up their time and effort to help make Mokauea Island an educational and cultural center.

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