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  • Kevin Hara

Loko Iʻa Pāʻaiau

Updated: May 20, 2022


"Aloha ‘Āina, Mālama ‘Āina. When you care for the land, the land cares for you."

"Aloha Aku, Aloha Mai, Love is given, Love is received." - Paaiau.org website.


Just down the hill from Pali Momi Medical Center lies Loko iʻa Pāʻaiau, the ʻAiea Fishpond. We pass it every day, yet most of us are unaware of its existence. In our hectic lives, we donʻt realize that there is beauty and peace around us. It is there. We only need to open our eyes.


The Loko iʻa Pāʻaiau was built 500 years ago by Queen Kalanimanuʻia. She ruled the island of Oahu benevolently for over 60 years. Her reign was principled on peace and kindness; focusing on sustainability and the nurturing of the land and her people. She lived to the age of 95. Her home was located around where Pali Momi Medical Center now stands. Like the Keaīwa Heiau, Queen Kalanimanuʻia and the Loko iʻa Pāʻaiau hold keys to the longevity in the Aiea region.


The Loko iʻa Pāʻaiau is of the Loko Kuapā type with a dry stacking stone wall enclosing a shoreline stretch. This allows a blending of fresh water from the springs and streams with the salt water of the ocean. Sluice gates (mākāhā) allow the entry of baby fish while restricting the exit of mature fish. The Hawaiian fishponds allowed the extension of the reaches of farming from the land into the water.


A Koʻa or fishing shrine has been constructed at the fishpond for worship and offerings. The way of our ancestors was to offer the first fish caught to the gods. A traditional Hale has also been constructed to create a place for education and healing.


The ʻAiea Fishpond area encompases 6.34 acres at the base of the Kalauao Ahupuaʻa on the west side of the McGrew Point penninsula. It was rediscovered after becoming overgrown following the war. It is undergoing a restoration as a collaborative effort of the Ali‘i Pauahi Hawaiian Civic Club, the ‘Aiea Community Association, and the United States Navy. It is listed on the National Historic Register.


The essence of Aloha is rich at the ʻAiea fishpond. There is Akahai. The underlying structures being preserved as the overgrowth is removed. There is grace in leaving the fishpond better with the restoration.


There is Lokahi, our connection with our neighbors, the community and people of ʻAiea. There is also connection with the land and sea, our aina. There is the Ahupuaʻa connection; the water flowing down from the mountain over the agricultural fields and into the fishpond and sea. There is connection with our history and forebearers, the people and culture that laid the foundation that established us. There is the spiritual connection, an opportunity to interact with higher beings. And, there is an inner connection, to take a step back and revisit our values and purpose. To heal not just others, but ourselves.


ʻOluʻolu resonates with the strength of the rocks, yet instilling a sense of peace. Haʻahaʻa is shown in the charity of the workers that allows them to receive back from the aina more than they have given. When you take care of the aina, the aina takes care of you. Ahonui has been expressed through the rediscovery of the fishpond. There is no need to wait any longer, the restoration has begun.


“So, as we repair the land, we restore its nature … and we become restored ourselves. Everybody, I think, who I have met, feels a peace inside there… It’s like you’re walking back hundreds of years because the ʻāina gives you that feeling. The birds, the fish, the water, the land. You feel a peace there that is of heaven. Man is not fighting with it, man is in communion with it.” - Kehaulani Lum


“It's so wonderful to recognize that the very thing we deny ourselves as professionals, time to breath and reflect and connect are the very things we collectively need to be a community not just members of a community.” - Pono Shim



























“The essence of this place is peace.” - Kehaulani Lum



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