Collaboration and the collective movement of Hui Mālama Loko I‘a
Over past decades, Hawaiian communities and kia‘i loko (fishpond guardians) worked to restore loko i‘a around the islands and reclaim the knowledge and practice of loko i‘a culture. Hui Mālama Loko I‘a, a network of loko i‘a and kia‘i loko from six Hawaiian Islands, was formed in 2004, meeting annually and opportunistically to strengthen working relationships and share experience and expertise.
Most recently, our network of committed and skilled site-based caretakers leveraged its collective influence to streamline the permitting processes in collaboration with the State of Hawai‘i, and has generally improved co-management relationships with government and private entities. Sharing and social cohesion are key components of loko i‘a culture because of the scale of physical labor needed for construction and maintenance. The surrounding community comes to help and, in return, shares in the abundance produced from the pond. Today, loko i‘a serve as kīpuka (oases or receptacles) for the renewal of traditional practices and values in contemporary ways. They are thus celebrated for their past and future potential to contribute to the needs of their ahupua‘a and our broader community in Hawai‘i.