Kaumaha i ka naulu Kaluakoi.
Laden with the summer showers is Kaluakoi.
(Kaluakoi gets rain only in the summer time.) (McElroy)
Kaluakoʻi is the largest ahupuaʻa, or land division, on the island of Molokai. With regard to ahupuaʻa, Lyons asserts that, “in populous portions the sub-division was very minute” (1875.)
Consequently, the size of the Kaluakoʻi ahupuaʻa would suggest a small population for this part of Molokai, a situation borne out by the archaeological record.
The ahupuaʻa of Kaluakoʻi literally means, the “the adze pit.” In this ahupuaʻa, high quality basalt was used to make adzes and other tools. It is well known that lithic quarries occurred on select sites in the area, notably on the summit of Maunaloa at ʻAmikopala, and on northwest Molokai at Moʻomomi and ʻIlio Point. (McElroy)
West Molokai is roughly two million years old and its long dormancy has allowed a deep lateritic soil to develop that covers most of the region. “The Desert Strip,” was coined by Chester Wentworth, who described this extensive dune system as a “barren windswept country in which eolian features are developed with exceptional clarity and vigor”.
The dominant northeast trade winds have blown sand from Moʻomomi almost completely across the northwest corner of the island creating an expansive stretch of sand dunes. The Hawaiians called this same area Keonelele, or “the flying sand.”
The main part of the Moʻomomi Dunes probably was formed during the latest ice age, when sea level was low and the reefs now submerged offshore were dry and feeding sand into the wind. Since then, slightly acidic rain has cemented some of the sand into hard limestone. (McElroy)
A recent study found that 40% of Molokai families’ food came from subsistence activities. The Hoʻolehua Hawaiian Homestead community on Molokai relies heavily for subsistence on the inshore marine resources of the Moʻomomi fishery, which falls within a twelve-mile stretch of coastline along Molokai’s north shore. (Kohala Center)
Coastal fisheries are facing severe depletion and overexploitation on a global scale and Hawai‘i is no exception.
Hui Malama o Moʻomomi cares for the land and nearshore waters along the Moʻomomi Coast on the island of Molokai. Protection of this place is to assure a reliable food source; as the community is very much subsistence-based, the ocean is their “ice box.”
Co-founder of the Hui Malama o Moʻomomi, Mac Poepoe, led the way toward educating others about the coastal resources found in Moʻomomi Bay and pono (proper) behaviors that ensure not only familial but community subsistence.
Poepoe established Hui Mālama o Moʻomomi in 1993 in order to teach younger generations the ancient practices of traditional Hawaiian fishing and how to become responsible marine citizens.
It is a local marine subsistence/sustainability grassroots organization, assisting with management on the state’s Hawaiian Homelands. The Hui oversees marine subsistence gathering and sustainability practices.
Important management lessons to learn from this are to recognize natural rhythms, do not disturb basic renewal processes, monitor (moon, season, habitat, etc) and understand the resource. As a foundation to this, we need to recognize the interconnected link between the land and the ocean.
Community-based management in the Mo‘omomi area involves observational processes and problem-solving strategies for the purpose of conservation. The system is not articulated in the manner of Western science, but relies instead on mental models.
These models foster a practical understanding of local inshore resource dynamics by the fishing community and, thus, lend credibility to unwritten standards for fishing conduct. The “code of conduct” is concerned with how people fish rather than how much they catch. (Poepoe)
Through Poepoe’s efforts, almost single-handedly, they rejuvenated Moʻomomi Beach by controlling erosion, reintroduced native plants and monitored fish populations. The beach is now rich with vegetation, and the moi are as big as small-kid time. (Cooke)
A code of conduct on appropriate behavior was designed to be true to Hawaiian values, to consider the community’s culture and be biologically sound for resource sustainability.
• Rule 1 – Take only what you need. Share your catch with others.
• Rule 2 – Reserve inshore areas for children and novice swimmers and fishermen.
• Rule 3 – Education. Utilize traditional practices and science-based methods.
• Rule 4 – Community governing board.
• Rule 5 – Malama. Care for the land; care for the people; care for all things; understand the land with the ocean.
Community members are joining with state officials to develop a designation for Molokai’s north shoreline that would sustainably support marine resources, protect traditional fishing practices, prohibit commercial harvest and facilitate community involvement in resource management decisions. (Molokai Dispatch)
The group is looking to organize a Community-based Subsistence Fishing Area along the Northwest Coast of Molokai, including Moʻomomi.
Nearby land-based management is underway through The Nature Conservancy (TNC.) Mo‘omomi Preserve was established in June of 1988 to protect the most intact coastal sand dune ecosystem in the main Hawaiian Islands.
The westernmost coastline of the preserve is characterized by sea cliffs; the remainder of the two‐mile long coastline consists of windswept sand beaches, and dunes.
The upper dune area of the preserve is known as Keonelele, “the flying sands”. Portions of the preserve dunes are lithified (sand dunes that become solidified) and are distinct in geological appearance and native strand. (TNC)
Moʻomomi is a nesting location for wedge-tailed shearwater seabirds, or ʻuaʻu kani in Hawaiian. TNC is taking an active role in protecting these ground-nesting birds from feral cats and dogs, as well as promoting scientific study.
Moʻomomi is a breeding and nesting area for the Hawaiian green sea turtle, or honu in Hawaiian, and they are actively monitored by TNC staff and volunteers. It is believed that the females return to lay eggs on the same beach where she was hatched and may live as long as 100 years, though its life span is not known for sure. (McElroy)