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The Importance of the ‘Aha Moku System

Community Contributed

Opinion by members of the Kawela Moku

This represents individual mana`o from members of the Kawela Moku, and is not intended to speak for the Aha Kiole as a whole.

Hawaii Mowat on historical perspective

In the past century, the health of Hawaii’s ecosystem has severely declined. With the change of powers, came the change of the way we did things in Hawaii. Agriculture, development, invasive species, etc. has wreaked havoc on Hawaii’s natural resources and it seems as if the western way of land management does not work for Hawaii so the ancient yet sophisticated system must be revived.

The Aha Moku system has already been proven an effective land and sea management system to ensure sustainability for future generations. What we need to do is to make the hard transition of living and practicing this system so that it will come naturally to the next generation. All of us as individuals can do our part but the Aha Moku system requires a whole community to be involved. It utilizes the people who know the land and sea best — its residents, the people who gather from the land and sea regularly, locals doing what is best for the land and sea to ensure a better future for our keiki.

Molokai is the most densely native Hawaiian populated community in Hawaii. I believe if any island can be the first to fully restore the Aha Moku system, it is Molokai.

Kawika Duvauchelle on kupuna values

I grew up Mana’e, right next to the ocean. We may have been financially poor, but we always had plenty to eat. There were deer and pig in the mountain and fish in the ocean. There were many days when my brother and I would come home from school and have to go dive in the ocean for dinner. My dad taught us to “only take what you need for today so would always have for tomorrow.” This simple way of thinking was ingrained in us from a young age.

I have seen a noticeable difference in the abundance of inshore reef resources just in my lifetime. The fish are not as plentiful as they once were. Is it because of me? Have I taken advantage of something that I thought would never go away? Yes, for a while I did, but today I stand enlightened and empowered to revitalize the old ways of thinking.

State of Hawaii’s government has also realized “their way” of resource management is not working. I believe it is my kuleana to participate in the Aha Moku to show the state government that we as a community can come together and manage the resources that we depend on.

Kanoelani Davis on practitioners and land resources

I continue to live in the ahupua`a I was raised in, Kamiloloa. I learned to fish, crab, pick limu, and gather plants in the south shores of Kawela Moku. Today, I try to teach my daughters these same things including how to remove invasive species, cultivate plants for traditional practices and value their resources.

As a hula family, we continue the values of our kupuna when gathering plants in the forests of Kamakou or even in our back yard, making sure we are asking for permission through pule and oli, pick only what we need, clean the plant and everything around it before we leave and show respect to the land through humility.

Resource management does not just encompass land and ocean — there are also sacred sites, history, fresh water, kupuna, iwi, ancestral and spiritual ties that are intricate parts to resource management. With the ‘Aha Moku system, I feel it’s my responsibility to do what I can to contribute to the betterment of Molokai, to do my part as keiki o ka `aina, a mother, a person who utilizes these resources and a community member.

In the coming weeks, there will be a Kawela Moku meeting where you mana’o counts, where we can come together to save and replenish our resources in a manner that will benefit the future.  You can find us Facebook: Kawela Moku.


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