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Volunteers band together to preserve Windward Oahu’s ancient Huilua Fishpond

Published: Sep. 6, 2021 at 7:49 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Volunteers are working hard to keep an ancient tradition alive at a National Historic Landmark in Windward Oahu that’s more than 500 years old.

Helpful hands of volunteers of all ages from across the islands are helping to clear the land at the Huilua Fishpond.

“For us, it’s important that we preserve whatever cultural sites are left because we don’t know when we’re gonna use those fishponds again,” Lynette Cruz, Ka Lei Aina Alii, said.

They gather every first weekend of the month volunteering their time and hard work to return the area to its former glory.

“You know what we’re trying to do is open up this whole area because it’s going to part of the fishpond. Gonna go all the way around to the end, clean ‘em all out, and hopefully we’re able to get the permits to start dredging and get rid of all of the grass here which is part of the fishpond,” Ben Shafer, of the Friends of Kahana said.

Each fishpond has a “keeper,” or a kiaʻi loko who lives nearby and oversees it.

Aunty Ululani Beirne is one of them.

“It actually is a double pond. That’s why it’s hui lua, which means two. And so there’s been legends about this fishpond that it connects to Mokulii fishpond in Kualoa,” she said.

Over the decades several tsunami have damaged the area.

The most recent restoration work began 28 years ago. It was a partnership between the state park service and Friends of Kahana.

Right now, there are fewer volunteers because of the pandemic, but that hasn’t deterred the group’s mission.

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