Categorized | Environment

Revitalization of the fishpond practitioner (April 10-11)


Caretaking of traditional Hawaiian fishponds is the topic of upcoming Eia Hawaii and Puana Ka Ike lectures in Hilo and Kona.

Hiilei Kawelo will present her lecture, “Mahia: Revitalization of the Fishpond Practitioner,” from 2–3:30 p.m. Thursday, April 10, at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, Wentworth 1, and from 5:30–7 p.m. Friday, April 11, 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 Heeia, a small non-profit that cares for the 88-acre traditional Hawaiian fishpond in Heeia on Oahu. Her practice is that of a wahine lawaia (fisherwoman), specific to the Kaneohe Bay area.

Born in Kailua, Oahu, with ohana (family) in 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 Heeia in 2001.

“The Heeia ahupuaa (land division) may well be one of the few ahupuaa on the island of Oahu where the connection between land and sea is still maintained and is actively being restored,” Kawelo said. “Paepae o Heeia’s work at the fishpond relies on the work of others in the ahupuaa such as Papahana Kuaola and Kakoo 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 (808) 322-5340 or e-mail

For lecture schedules, visit

Webcasts of previous lectures are available at

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