Posted on November 18, 2016 by Scot Allen
Ola i ka HA, Ola i ka WAI, Ola I ka I ... HAWAI'I
This 'ōlelo noe'au or wise saying, is what the 11th and 12th graders of the Hawaiian Studies classes learned as they visited Waikalua Loko I'a in Kāneʻohe. As part of the class curriculum, we visited the fishpond to learn about the history of the 400+ year-old fishpond, it's cultural importance to the people of the ahupua'a, the uniqueness of the architecture of the fishpond that cannot be found anywhere else on the earth and how the fishpond is being restored to perpetuate the Hawaiian history and culture.
Junior, Maya Valdez was inspired by her visit. "Being Hawaiian, the fishpond was an awesome experience to learn more about how our ancestors lived off the land," she said. "During the time we spent cleaning the keiki pond and building the mini Ahupua'a, we got to learn about the process, materials, and mindset behind the system. Though some activities were more difficult than others, every task helped further our understanding to who the people really were and what they believed in. Learning about the sustainability of the ancient Hawaiians make me realize how much teamwork it took for a community to contribute."
Our students took a hands-on approach to mālama ʻāina as they helped to clear the mangrove that has overtaken the fishpond in hopes of restoring its natural state. Maia Petrides commented, "The fish pond was amazing! It brought everything we were learning in class to life. Being able to actually pull the mangroves and get dirty was fun, but the fact that it opened my eyes to how important it is to bring these ponds back to life was incredibly special. I was even thinking about going back on my own for community service!" -- Noilani DeCosta