An Ancient Lo‘i Kalo in Hakipu‘u Protected Forever

The Trust for Public Land (TPL), Hoʻāla ‘Āina Kūpono (Ho’āla), the Fukumitsu ‘ohana, Hawaiian Islands Land Trust (HILT), the City and County of Honolulu’s Clean Water and Natural Lands Program (CWNL), and the State of Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Legacy Land Conservation Program (LLCP) announced today the acquisition and protection of 1.5 acres known as Hakipu‘u Lo‘i Kalo located in Hakipu‘u, Ko‘olaupoko, O‘ahu.

For over a decade the Hakipu‘u community and kuleana descendants have been working to protect Hakipu‘u Lo‘i Kalo. This 1.5 acre lo‘i kalo (wetland taro patch) sits at the foot of the Ko‘olau mountains, Kāneʻohe Bay, and neighboring Mōliʻi Fishpond. These lo‘i have been in active cultivation since ancient times, and are some of the last lo‘i in Hakipu‘u; a place once overseen by Hawaiʻi’s kahuna, and revered to this day for its traditional navigators.

Threatened by development and an end to kalo farming and community access, The Trust for Public Land worked in partnership with the Hakipu‘u community for over 8 years to find a conservation solution to protect these lo‘i. TPL took out a loan in 2016 to purchase the land and acted as a temporary bridge owner, allowing the community needed time to raise the funds to purchase the land. TPL led the effort to raise $1 million in public funds to purchase and protect the land and convey it to community ownership under Ho’āla ‘Āina Kūpono. “We were humbled to work closely with the Hakipu‘u community, the Fukumitsu ‘ohana, and Ho’āla ‘Āina Kūpono to protect Hakipu‘u Lo‘i Kalo. This community teaches all of us by example what it means to mālama ʻāina. We are confident that under community stewardship, Hakipu‘u Lo‘i will thrive and live on as a stronghold of Hawaiian agriculture and cultural practice,” said Reyna Ramolete Hayashi, Project Manager, The Trust for Public Land.

The City and County of Honolulu’s Clean Water and Natural Lands Program acquired a real property interest in the form of a conservation easement valued at $650,000, and the State of Hawai‘i’s Legacy Land Conservation Program granted $350,000 to Hoʻāla ‘Āina Kūpono to purchase and protect the land.

“We look forward to working in partnership with the Hakipu‘u community, area schools, and kuleana descendants to steward this ʻāina as a kalo farm and an outdoor classroom where students and the public can learn about regenerative agriculture, watershed and natural resource management, a living Hawaiian culture, and aloha ʻāina values.” said Kahiau Wallace, President, Hoʻāla ‘Āina Kūpono, the property’s new nonprofit owner and steward.

Hakipu‘u Lo‘i will be permanently protected by a Conservation Easement over the property held and monitored annually by the City and County of Honolulu and Hawaiian Islands Land Trust. “This Conservation Easement will ensure that this ʻāina will never be developed and will be used for kalo farming, education, and a community gathering space for present and future generations.” said Laura Kaakua, CEO, Hawaiian Islands Land Trust.

“Protection of this ʻāina is of utmost importance to our ‘ohana, and to the sanctity of Hakipu‘u’s cultural legacy. Our family has been farming these lo‘i for over 10 generations, and this is the first time we gather here knowing that this ʻāina is forever protected and cared for, honoring the history and mana of our home. On behalf of the Fukumitsu ‘ohana, and Hakipu‘u descendants and residents, we want to mahalo everyone who helped us preserve this piko for our community, a place where our children can come home to reconnect to their kupuna and their identity as Hawaiians.” said Kaha‘i, Ulu, Kolea, and Maluhia Fukumitsu, Hakipu‘u lineal descendants.

“Hakipu‘u Lo‘i Kalo will be permanently protected by specific conservation goals for this property relative to kalo farming and the perpetuation of this skill for future generations. The property will give the public an opportunity to connect to Hawai‘i’s rich history and contribute to O‘ahu’s food security which has become even more vital during the pandemic. Thanks in part to our Clean Water and Natural Lands Fund, this property is now stewarded by the community and permanently preserved through a conservation easement,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

“We are thrilled that the Legacy Land Conservation Program contributed to the preservation of Hakipu‘u Lo‘i Kalo and its incredible cultural and natural resources. The loʻi provide habitat for Hawaiʻi’s native waterbirds and filter water entering Kāneʻohe Bay, and are a living cultural resource beloved by this community,” said Suzanne Case, Chair of the Dept. of Land and Natural Resources.

To download photos, B-roll, and a map of Hakipu‘u Lo‘i Kalo, please click here.

Media Contacts:

The Trust for Public Land: Reyna Ramolete Hayashi
Phone: (808) 524-8562

Hoʻāla ‘Āina Kūpono: Kahiau Wallace
Phone: (808) 313-9905

Hawaiian Islands Land Trust: Laura Kaakua
Phone: (808) 791-0732

The City and County of Honolulu: Alexander Zannes
Phone: (808) 489-0341

About The Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. In Hawai‘i, The Trust for Public Land’s Aloha ‘Āina Program empowers communities to protect lands that perpetuate Native Hawaiian culture and returns these lands to Native Hawaiian organizations for community stewardship. Our Sustainable Hawai’i Program protects lands that contribute to Hawai‘i’s freshwater and food self-sufficiency, with a vision of ‘āina momona, abundant lands that feed and nourish our people.

About Hoʻāla ‘Āina Kūpono
Hoʻāla ‘Āina Kūpono’s mission is through advocacy, community-based economic development projects, cultural and sustainability education, and ma ka hana ka ʻike (building knowledge through practice and leading by example), we perpetuate traditional wisdom from our kūpuna (ancestors) and restore our collective kuleana (responsibility) to mālama ʻāina, mālama ʻohana, and hoʻoikaika pilina kānaka (care for the land, our families, and strengthen community relationships).

About Hawaiian Islands Land Trust
Hawaiian Islands Land Trust (HILT) is Hawaiʻi’s islands-wide land trust that is both a Hawaiʻi 501(c)3 nonprofit, and a nationally accredited land trust. HILT’s mission is to protect and steward the lands that sustain Hawaiʻi, and to perpetuate Hawaiian values by connecting people with ʻāina. HILT owns and stewards 7 refuges, holds 53 conservation easements, and protects Hawaiʻi’s coastlines, wahi kupuna (Hawaiian cultural landscapes), and lands that grow healthy food for Hawaiʻi’s people.

About the City of Honolulu Clean Water and Natural Lands Program
The Clean Water and Natural Lands Fund provides for the purchase of or to otherwise acquire real estate or any interest therein for land conservation in the City for the following purposes: Protection of watershed lands to preserve water quality and water supply; Preservation of forests, beaches, coastal areas and agricultural lands; Public outdoor recreation and education, including access to beaches and mountains; Preservation of historic or culturally important land areas and sites; Protection of significant habitats or ecosystems, including buffer zones; Conservation of land in order to reduce erosion, floods, landslides, and runoff; and acquisition of public access to public land and open space.

About the State of Hawai‘i Legacy Land Conservation Program
The Legacy Land Conservation Program provides grants to community organizations and government agencies that strive to purchase and protect land that shelters exceptional, unique, threatened, and endangered resources.