Community connections through culture and a sense of place

by Kurt Tsue | July 30, 2018

The result of solid teamwork and diligence. (Photo credit: Scotty Reis-Moniz)

On July 21, I was among a small group of employees from Hawaiian Electric who were invited to observe and participate in a special gathering in Waimanalo to rebuild the walls of Pahonu Ponds, an early Hawaiian rock-walled fishpond near Kaiona Beach Park.

Under the guidance of leaders and volunteers from E Ala Pu, Paepae O Heeia, Haloni Hana, Waimanalo Learning Center, God’s Country Waimanalo, Ke Kula Nui O Waimanalo, Kua Aina Ulu Auamo, among other organizations, we were privileged to experience the coming together of so many groups from across the state with a collective goal of restoring and connecting with an historic, cultural place in Waimanalo.

Volunteers of all ages came to partake in this special event. (Photo credit: Scotty Reis-Moniz)

Volunteers were taught to use the same traditional dry-stack techniques used when the fish pond was first constructed. After restacking the original stones from the area, native limu (seaweed) were tied to the rock walls in hopes of attracting honu (Hawaiian green sea turtles) back to the pond.

Friends, families, and strangers alike working together to achieve a common goal. (Photo by Scotty Reis-Moniz)

The whole experience was an inspiring demonstration of community collaboration, pride and connectivity. There’s so much we are learning though these kinds of projects that promote civic stewardship and underscore the value of connecting to the roots of a community. Projects like these also preserve and protect our island’s resources for the well-being of our communities and future generations.

A special mahalo to Scotty Reis-Moniz of the Waimanalo Canoe Club for extending the invitation and for sharing these photos.

Kurt Tsue is the director of community relations at Hawaiian Electric Company.