As Hawai`i rebounded from the pandemic, Kō‘ie‘ie Fishpond experienced a high increase in visitors to our shores. Federal funding from the Office of Native Hawaiian Relations has given us the financial boost to hire new staff to provide outreach and education for all visitors and restore the fishpond's walls with help from staff and volunteers. We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to address this spike in visitors and encourage them to respect this special Hawaiian cultural site.
NOAA’s Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Commerce and has provided exceptional support toward our efforts. A primary reason for this support is that Kō‘ie‘ie Fishpond is located directly in front of the Sanctuary building on Maui and is a part of the Sanctuary’s boundaries. The fishpond’s location provides an exceptional opportunity for the Whale Sanctuary to build upon its education and cultural program. In turn, they support us with use of their restroom facilities, parking and storage.
We are proud to be active members of Hui Mālama Loko I`a, a growing network of fishpond practitioners and organizations from across the state of Hawai`i. The Hui was formed as an opportunity for practitioners to empower each other and leverage their skills, knowledge and resources related to restoration and management of loko iʻa (traditional Hawaiian fishponds). The Hui has met opportunistically since 2004. In May 2014, Kuaāina Ulu 'Auamo (KUA) facilitated a large gathering at Kō‘ie‘ie Fishpond and then in Hāna, Maui, a place where fishponds and other significant fishing practices originated. With over 100 members, our association learns from other fishponds and they in turn, learn from us as well.
Maui’s schools and community organizations are also key partners. For over 10 years, Kamehameha School – Maui and a few other local schools have been bringing their classes to the fishpond. In addition, community groups like Habitat for Humanity, Aloha House, youth centers and after-school programs, also join us at the pond. It is with their help, that we are able to maintain the fishpond’s walls.