The boundary of Ko’olau Ahupua’a begins where the waters of kane flourish through mist and rainfall. This is where my heart lies and where I raise my children; I am the ninth generation of my family to live in these mountains and streams.
The battle East Maui streams face is an act of desecration to all life that flow to our ocean. Twenty seven diversions created for sugar cane fields and profits continue to harm our environment and people. Our traditional farmers find themselves most times standing in a dry stream bed, where once our ancestors and fathers stood in a stream flow above their calves. The fight for our public trust lies in the hands of the people, and together that power can define the future of our island. I am confident as a kua’aina (person of this land) and as a mother, that one day my streams will be running at full capacity with no diversion canals above. My daughters will get to experience once again as their kupuna did, the abundance of water Na Ko’olau (Kailua-Nahiku) elucidates.
The return of the water is vital to my babies’ food source. Sweet potato mounds will be our next production feeding our eight month-old baby, families, and community. Some of our men and women in our community have also prepared their lo’i (patches) for the return of water. We have yet to experience what the word ‘return’ means, however our future is full of faith that our water will soon flow free as nature intended. EMI (East Maui Irrigation) a subsidiary of Alexander & Baldwin has introduced a bill that would overrule a recent Judge’s decision, ruling the water permits that A&B hold invalid. The actions of A&B are the opposite of a well known oleo noe’au (hawaiian saying) He Ali’i Ka ‘Aina He Kauwa ke Kanaka; The land is chief, and man is its servant.
My roots are deeply planted within Ko’olau ‘Ahupua’a (Kailua-Nahiku mountain to the sea boundary) and my community stands together on many issues. We seek positive solutions when the issue is confronted. The return of water is the solution for our land, ecosystems, traditional farmers, and fishermen. My emotions connected to our water fight get twisted along the Hana Highway much like the many turns and curves the road holds. However, it is my job as a mother, to seek the best outcome in all things presented to me. For the love of my ‘ohana and ‘aina I will always fight for righteousness.
If you would like to learn more please go to www.change.org Kōkua! Save our Streams & Kalo Farms and sign the petition to help us veto HB2501.
Image Credit: Kamalani Pahukoa