Wailuku moku aims to ID and organize cultural knowledge

Aha Moku o Wailuku organizers will meet from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Paukukalo Hawaiian Homes Hall.

The group represents the largest of Maui’s 12 moku, or land districts. The groups aim to provide advisory input to state and county agencies based on native cultural environmental management practices.

During the meeting, Wailuku moku representatives Kaniloa and Johanna Kamaunu “will begin the arduous work of identifying and organizing cultural knowledge and work with those in possession of intimate knowledge of natural resources within the Wailuku boundaries,” according to a meeting announcement.

Committees relating to land, air, water, ocean, the shoreline and burials will have breakout sessions to discuss and identify a plan of action.

“Wailuku moku is the largest of the 12 moku,” said Johanna Kamaunu. “It’s densely populated, with viable resources everybody wants a piece of it.

“It’s inspiring to hear how much knowledge and experience is still there. It’s time we learn and recognize it,” she said.

The Wailuku moku boundaries include Maalaea to Makamakaole, down along the coast to Spreckelsville and heading toward Kealia Pond on Mokulele Highway back to Maalaea.

In 2007, then-Gov. Linda Lingle signed into law Act 212. It recognized the deterioration of Native Hawaiian culture and acknowledged the impacts of development on coastlines, streams, watersheds, coral reefs and the ocean environment.

The bill established the ‘Aha Kiole Advisory Committee to find the best way to create an aha moku council system that would, among other things, provide advisory input based on indigenous resource management practices of each moku to state and county agencies; aid in the development of a comprehensive set of best practices for natural resources management; foster the understanding and practical use of knowledge, including Native Hawaiian ways and expertise; ensure the future sustainable use of Hawaii’s natural resources; enhance community education and cultural awareness; and participate in the protection and preservation of the state’s resources.

According to the meeting announcement, the aha moku system includes the ahupua’a (land division), moku (district) and mokupuni (island).

The groups “allow traditions of ecological knowledge and best practices specific to location to once again play an integral part in the management of Maui’s natural resources,” the announcement said.

Before the establishment of the advisory groups, “accuracy in understanding the behavior systems of Hawaii’s natural resources and ecological living systems were often determined by scientific data and statistical variables that even at its best, were merely a guess,” the announcement said.

For more information about the meeting, call the Kamaunus at 281-4344.