Do you know what moku and ahupuaʻa you live in? You will soon find out, as ahupua’a signs are now being installed along Kaua‘i’s roadways, according to a news release from the County of Kaua‘i.
The ahupua‘a and moku signs are part of Kaua‘i Nui Kuapapa, a cultural heritage program that aims to raise awareness about Hawai‘i’s ancient land division system, which was based on the availability of natural resources. Additionally, the program seeks to educate residents about their respective moku and ahupua‘a.
“It is my hope that the people of Kaua‘i will use this knowledge to actively participate in discussions on social issues, and issues related to the environment, agriculture, economy, culture, and development,” Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. said in the release. “I believe that this information will help all of us make better decisions about our future,”
Kaua‘i Nui Kuapapa represents a partnership between the County of Kaua‘i and the Kaua‘i Nui Kuapapa Hui, a group of professionals with expertise in Hawaiian history, archaeology and research.
The historical moku and ahupuaʻa land management system was established by Kauaʻi’s King Manokalanipō in the 1400s. The program was launched two years ago with the installation of the moku signs in Kona, Puna, Koʻolau, Halele‘a and Nāpali. Ni‘ihau’s moku sign was placed at Ko‘opueo, also known as MacArthur Park, which looks out toward Niihau.
In January, five ahupua‘a signs were placed in Kokeʻe. Earlier this month, four more signs were installed on the South Shore, including: Paʻa; Weliweli; Kōloa; and Lāwaʻi. The ahupua‘a signs in the moku of Haleleʻa and Kona are currently being installed, with Koʻolau and Puna to follow. Upon completion of installation, all 54 ahupuaʻa on the island will be recognized.
The project also aims to incorporate educational signage at 24 of the county’s bus shelters as well as neighborhood centers across the island.
The installation of the signs is a collaborative effort between the county, state Department of Transportation, the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of State Parks, and private landowners.
Finally, in partnership with the state Department of Education and Kaua‘i Complex Area Superintendent Bill Arakaki, the Kaua‘i Nui Kuapapa initiative will be incorporated into the DOE’s Na Hopena A‘o program.
Each of Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau’s 20 public and charter schools will receive information on its respective moku and ahupua‘a, and will be given tools to apply the logos throughout the schools. Teachers and students will be encouraged to use the historical borders throughout their school projects for continuous cultural and place-based learning.