Aug 17, 2017 5:22 am Pacific/Honolulu

Heeia Fishpond Restoration

Helping to restore the Heeia Fishpond by loading coral onto a small barge to transport across the fishpond. A team of managers and employees of Kyo-ya’s Princess Ka`iulani hotel enjoyed a beautiful Friday afternoon helping to rebuild the He`eia Fishpond, an 88 acre unique natural resource constructed more than 600 years ago by the residents of the He'eia ahupua'a on the island of O‘ahu. The team learned about Hawaiian Culture, the environment and sustainability while loading and transporting coral to the rebuild area of the fishpond on small barges.

Refurbishment at He`eia Fishpond starts by removing all mangrove and invasive plants that are damaging the wall. Then the wall sections that need to be repaired are restacked using the traditional Hawaiian method of dry-stacking. Coral is then used to fill in behind the stacked pohaku, or basalt rock.

Helping to restore the Heeia Fishpond by loading coral onto a small barge to transport across the fishpond. Helping to restore the Heeia Fishpond by loading coral onto a small barge to transport across the fishpond.

This wall is 1.3 miles in length and ranges in width from 10 to 14 feet. Traditionally, it was constructed using 2 materials - pōhaku (basalt rock) and ko`a (coral) obtained from our adjacent reefs. In our current refurbishment efforts, we use rock and coral that is either bought or generously donated.

Fishponds were originally created by ali'i (chiefs) as stocking ponds to raise fish and provide for easy access to fish during the winter months when deep sea fishing was dangerous. There were many different types and sizes of fishponds, depending on the resources available for construction and the amount of people that the pond had to support.

Helping to restore the Heeia Fishpond by loading coral onto a small barge to transport across the fishpond. The He'eia Fishpond is fed by He'eia Stream and abundant Kāne'ohe Bay Pond life, including Fish: pualu, moi, 'awa, kaku, papio, 'ama'ama; Crabs: Sāmoan, mo'ala, kuhonu, ala'eke, 'alamihi; Limu: gracilaria salicornia, acantophera spicifera; and Plants: red mangrove, kukunaokalā (white mangrove), silver buttonwood, hau, milo, mau'u, aki, ahu'awa, naupaka

Among the many impressive features of He'eia Fishpond are the 6 mākāhā (sluice gates) that control the flow of both fresh and salt water into the pond. Like any living organism, the pond itself must breathe and these mākāhā are the veins that bring oxygen to fish living in the pond. The 6 mākāhā of He'eia Fishpond are divided equally between the mauka (mountain-side) and makai (seaward) sides of the wall, to bring in salt and fresh water to a brackish environment, ideal for the cultivation of fish.