Friday | April 29, 2016
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Lectures to focus on fishponds

Caretaking of traditional Hawaiian fishponds is the topic of lectures this week in Hilo and Kona.

Hi‘ilei Kawelo will present a lecture, “Mahi‘a: Revitalization of the Fishpond Practitioner,” from 2-3:30 p.m. today at the University of Hawaii at Hilo in Wentworth 1, and from 5:30-7 p.m. Friday in the Keauhou Ballroom III at Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay.

Both lectures are free and open to the public.

Kawelo is the executive director of Paepae o He‘eia, a small nonprofit that cares for the 88-acre traditional Hawaiian fishpond in He‘eia on Oahu. Her practice is that of a wahine lawai‘a (fisherwoman), specific to the Kaneohe Bay area. Born in Kailua, Oahu, with ohana in nearby Kahaluu, Kawelo says it was her family’s dependence on the bay for sustenance that led her to where she is today, and that momentum and opportunities to engage the community through the fishpond led to the creation of Paepae o He‘eia in 2001.

“The He‘eia ahupua‘a (land division) may well be one of the few ahupua‘a on the island of Oahu where the connection between land and sea is still maintained and is actively being restored,” Kawelo said. “Paepae o Heʻeia’s work at the fishpond relies on the work of others in the ahupua‘a such as Papahana Kuaola and Kako‘o ‘Oiwi.”

A graduate of Punahou School, Kawelo received a bachelor’s of arts degree in zoology and a certificate in the marine options program from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She previously worked at the Oceanic Institute for five years in the Fisheries and Environmental Sciences Program/Stock Enhancement Program.

For more information on this presentation, contact Joy Cunefare at 322-5340 or e-mail For lecture schedules visit Webcasts of previous lectures are available at

The lectures are sponsored by Keauhou-Kahaluu Education Group, Kamehameha Schools, The Kohala Center and University of Hawaii at Hilo Kipuka Native Hawaiian Student Center.


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