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‘Āina Pauahi


Kawailoa, O‘ahu

Kawailoa on O‘ahu’s North Shore encompasses thousands of acres of ‘Āina Pauahi stretching from mauka to makai. Historically, the region nurtured and sustained generations of Native Hawaiians, serving as a major hub for food production. Kuleana Lands records show that from the mid-1800s, farmers established lo‘i (taro pond fields), ‘auwai (water courses and ditches), and kula (dryland planting fields). The people grew staple crops like taro, ‘awa, hala, ipu (bitter gourd), kukui, koa, mai‘a (banana), noni, kō, (sugarcane), ‘uala (sweet potato), and wauke. As early as 1836, sugar became an established agricultural crop.

Today, the land is primarily preserved for agriculture and conservation uses. Kamehameha Schools is investing in several ‘āina-based community and educational programs in Kawailoa to restore the land, support the community and build a resilient, local economy.

For example, KS is working on the cultural restoration of waiwai in Kawailoa by restoring the connections between Loko Ea fishpond Uko‘a wetland and the ocean. Said to be spiritually connected, these waterbodies are home to Laniwahine, the mo‘owahine female water guardian of the two fishponds. Learn more about Loko Ea and how you can get involved.

Learn more about our other collaborations by visiting the links below:

Read on to learn more about how KS stewards the agricultural and conservation lands of Kawaioa.

  • KS continues to restore and improve aging infrastructure – investing more than $17 million so far – in order to support farmers and preserve the historic agricultural lands in Kawailoa.
  • Diversified agriculture is the primary agricultural use in Kawailoa now, but KS may lease lands for pasture and cattle operations in the future.
  • KS stewards over 20,000 acres of forested watershed on the island of O‘ahu in collaboration with the Ko‘olau Mountains Watershed Partnership.
  • The uplands of Kawailoa contain more than 1,200 acres of relatively intact native cloud forest teeming with rare native plants and animals, including endangered snail species, which KS is working with the Department of Land and Natural Resources to protect from predators.
  • An extensive water irrigation system – established more than 100 years ago and improved by KS – provides a steady water supply for agricultural use.
  • The region also receives an average of 35 to 80 inches of rain annually.