Ka Wai Ola

Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey, Trustee, Maui

As we herald home our now globally recognized icon, Hōkūle‘a, with her message of mālama honua, may we take a moment to reflecton the great kuleana they have taken up, and mahalo all of those who have sacrificed to complete this epic journey. He lei ka‘apuni honua, he lei aloha nō.

The lesson of mālama honua, to care for our island Earth, is something our society must commit to at every level. May our policy makers continue to think forward to our state’s renewable energy goal by 2045. I encourage our business leaders to implement sustainablestrategies into their models when possible. As kanaka, I call upon you to do your part to mālama and aloha ‘äina, because as a collective, we can solve our climate issues that directly affect our island home. He ‘āina nani a kamaha‘o.

Sustainability practices encourage us to tackle the issues of water management, waste management, long-term financial stability, societal health, natural resource management and conservation, and selfsufficiency. The latter being our most pressing issue.

As we keep in mind the accomplishments of Hōkūle‘a and PVS, and their commitment to mālama honua and sustainability, I would like to bring to light an organization doing great work to secure and perpetuate a most vital natural resource in Hawai‘i, wai (fresh water). E ola ka wai a Kāne, the living waters of Känewai.

That organization is Maunalua Fishpond Heritage Center (MFHC) and they have taken up their kuleana for the past 10 years to rehabilitate the spring that feeds the fi shpond and Maunalua Bay. Nestled in the sea lands of Kuli‘ou‘ou, O‘ahu, there is a spring and fishpond known as Kānewai. The name reminds us of the travels of Känewai and Kanaloa as they went about our pae ‘āina bringing forth fresh water springs. Once stagnant, black, and mosquito-infested waters, the spring is crystal clear and bountiful with rare freshwater native species tha were believed to be gone from the southern shores of O‘ahu, such as hapawai, ‘o‘opu ‘akupa, and ‘ōpae ‘oeha‘a. With a rehabilitated spring, the potential for a thriving fi shpond is imminent, and could provide for our communities once again.

MFHC is a community-based group bringing together nā ‘ōpio, kumu, and ‘ohana at Kānewa spring. Located on private property, MFHC teaches the community the history of Känewai and the greater Maunalua area, as well as the immense cultural, environmental, and societal need for wai.

For the last two years, MFHC has partnered with the Trust for Public Lands (TPL) in an effort to purchase the property for which the spring is located. Their purchase of the property will ensure the spring is kept alive and well in perpetuity. Kānewai spring serves as a symbol of hope for our lāhui. The restoration of our sacred and vital resources is not only important for the health of our lāhui but an absolute necessity.

The southern shore of Kona, O‘ahu, where fishponds were plentiful, now choked with homes, was arguably the site of the largest fi shpond in the world, Keahupua o Maunalua. A place teeming with cultural vitality and a people rich with resources, Kānewai spring and fishpond is a beacon of light, a lone star on a cloudy night. As a lāhui, let us follow the example of community based organizations like MFHC, with the same rigor, persistence, and commitment to mālama ‘āina.

I encourage you again, ‘o Hawai‘i, to heed the call and take part in the work that is laid before you. The world will look to us as a lāhui committed to mālama ‘āina. E mālama honua me ke aloha.

Note: Trustee columns represent the views of individual trustees and may not reflect the official positions adopted by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees.