Maui Nui Network receives Nature Conservancy’s Kako‘o ‘Aina Award

The Maui Nui Makai Network, a grass-roots coalition of community groups that have come together to protect and restore the islands’ coral reefs and nearshore marine resources, received The Nature Conservancy’s Kako’o ‘Aina Award at a community celebration on Maui recently.

Since 2006, The Nature Conservancy of Hawai’i has honored individuals and groups that have provided substantial and lasting support for conservation with the Kako’o ‘Aina award, which means”one who supports the land.”

“The members of the Maui Nui Makai Network are building a new paradigm for Hawaii, one that is engaging communities to return our reefs and fisheries to abundance,” said Suzanne Case, the conservancy’s Hawaii executive director. “They have been active for many years, and today the collective marine area they are stewarding is over 11,000 acres. They are practicing pono fishing practices and implementing threat abatement and monitoring strategies.”

Each awardee was given an ‘o’o, or Hawaiian digging stick, made of koa wood, made by Maui artist Calisto Palos. The ‘o’o is a traditional Hawaiian farming tool used for turning over soil, digging deep holes, planting and more.

Accepting the awards on behalf of the seven groups were Leimamo Lind-Strauss, Kipahulu ‘Ohana in East Maui; Uncle Mac Poepoe, Hui Malama O Mo’omomi on Molokai; Sol Kaho’ohalahala, Maunalei Ahupua’a on Lanai; Scott Crawford, Na Mamo O Mu’olea in East Maui; Ekolu Lindsey, Polanui Hiu in West Maui; Jay Carpio, Wailuku Ahupua’a in Central Maui; and Robin Newbold, chairwoman of the Maui Nui Marine Resources Council.