In ancient times, three ponds separated Mōkapu Peninsula from the rest of Kaneohe: Nuʻupia, Halekou and Kalupuhi Fishponds, they date to between 1300-1600 AD. Prior to Polynesian settlement, the ponds were thought to be either a shallow open channel between Kāneʻohe and Kailua Bays, making Mōkapu an island, or an embayment off Kāneʻohe Bay with Mōkapu connected to Oʻahu by a thin coastal barrier dune.
The ponds were later subdivided by Chinese fishermen who leased the ponds to raise mullet and milkfish; over the years there were up to 18 ponds. Some of the old dividing walls still remain their shape, but now there are eight ponds: Nuʻupia Ekahi, Nuʻupia Elua, Nuʻupia Ekolu, Nuʻupia Eha, Halekou, Heleloa, Paʻakai and Kaluapuhi. The ponds are generally referred as Nuʻupia Ponds and are part of the 482-acre Nuʻupia Ponds Wildlife Management Area within the Marine Corps Base Hawaiʻi.