When I look at this picture it brings sadness to my heart, because it vividly evokes memories of a lost part of our Wailupe history. The most prominent feature therein is the Wailupe Fish Pond. This pond was constructed from a rock wall without cement or mortar (stacked) on its seaward boundary inclusive of requisite Makaha (gates) for harvesting. The Top of Wall (ToW) was about ten feet wide on which a pick-up truck could traverse. Extrapolating ToW dimensions, wall bottoms must have been approximately twenty feet wide. When you imagine building such a structure by hand, it took many skilled laborers many years to accomplish, resulting in a sustainable food source for the community. The pond lay within the Wailupe ahupuaa owned by the Hind family. The tsunami of 1946 severely damaged the seaward walls of the pond which prompted the Hind family to sell the pond to Lowell Dillingham who resided where Kawaikui Bech Park now sits. Dillingham (Hawaiian Dredging) brought in his dredges and carved a deep channel around the pond and filled it in creating what is now Wailupe Peninsula. He did the same to the Niu Fish pond which created Niu Peninsula for the Lucus family and the Thompsons who now brag of their ties to Hawaiian royalty.Gregg is a Director of the Aina Haina Community Association and is active in environmental protection.
The Kaai for the pond resided where Unterman now proposes development above Keikilani Circle. From that vantage, the Kaai could watch the pond. Old time fishermen will tell you that even torch fisherman were not allowed inside where fat mullet thrived. Most interesting was that the pond was fed by fresh water springs that bubbled up through the muddy bottom. Manure was periodically dumped in to promote algae growth on which the Amaama fed. Ironically, one of the streets in the subdivision is named “Kaai" Street which is historically fitting much like Pia Street in Niu Valley.
I believe the Niu pond Kaai lived on the ridge above Paiko pond, and watched both ponds. Upon Statehood (circa 1959) the old Hawaiian Konohiki system was abolished which left all fishponds unprotected.
Building these ponds was a monumental tribute to Hawaiian culture and wall construction technique. I doubt if it could be duplicated today. I shudder to think about the labor required to build Kuapa Pond whose walls along Kalanianaole Highway were at least ten feet above the road centerline. For those who recall, keep those memories bright. That is all that remains of an ancient legacy left us by those who left footprints in the sand.
Email Richard dot J dot Wagner at gmail dot com
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Last updated July 15, 2011, by Rick Wagner. Copyright © 2011, all rights reserved.