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Mokauea Futures

Aloha! Mahalo for your consideration for an awesome project on Mokauea Island. An ahupua‘a is more than a land division encompassing ocean and sky. It is one of Hawai‘i’s greatest resources providing food, energy, and material provisions necessary for culture and life. Today, many groups around Hawai‘i have been focused on rebuilding ahupua‘a starting with fishponds, taro patches, and important historical sites that encompass important sections of ahupua‘a. One of those groups is the Mokauea Fishermen’s Association (MFA), focused on the historical site of Mokauea Island in Ke‘ehi Lagoon (located in the shoal waters of the ahupua‘a of Kalihi between Sand Island and the Honolulu International Airport runway). Although every airplane flies over this site, not many people know about Mokauea Island. Historically, the site was an important place for maritime navigation and astronomical observation, and home to a fishing village surrounded by 41 thriving fishponds. However, since the dredging of the reef during WWII, the construction of the reef runway, the destruction of the 41 fishponds to build the industrial areas of Kalihi, ‘Iwilei, and Sand Island--Mokauea is in critical condition. In efforts to restore the ecology and culture of Mokauea Island, every month MFA brings 150 students to the island by a 15 minute sail in a double-hull canoe to learn about the island, its reef, and the challenges of food production in a sea-level coastal zone. As part of their educational programming, MFA is near completion of a small community center on island. As an artist who is originally from the ‘ili of Mokauea (which extends uplands into the Diamondhead side of Kalihi Valley), I am applying for an Awesome Foundation Grant to build a 3D model of Kalihi Valley that shows Mokauea Island before the reef was dredged and before the fishponds were destroyed. This projection model will be donated to MFA and housed in the community center to strengthen the student’s field trip experience.

Funded by Oahu, HI (October 2017)