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No Ka Oi Magazine: Deep Wisdom

Deep Wisdom

In the shallows of ancient fishponds, Hawaiians created an aquaculture sophisticated for its day—and ours.

Story by Teya Penniman

(page 1 of 4)

In the waist-high waters of Koieie Fishpond in north Kihei, a small group of men and women shuffle across the sandy bottom, locating rocks with their feet, diving below to raise the stones, then heaving them onto the growing pile at one end of a gap in the rock wall. The stones, chunks of lava that Hawaiians hauled and wedged into place some 400 to 500 years ago, lie strewn across the pond’s bed like a broken string of pearls, scattered by storms and several centuries of neglect.

Aoao O Na Loko Ia O Maui (Fishpond Association of Maui) has been working since 2005 to restore the ancient pond, and in the process, connecting volunteers to Hawaii’s past. Executive Director Joylynn Paman explains, “We use the same rocks that were used to build the original wall.”

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