An oasis within an oasis, Kalāhuipua‘a Fishponds – located on Mauna Lani’s grounds, are the
essence and spiritual center of the resort. Bottom samples taken from the ponds date the ancient aquaculture system to as far back as 250 B.C. Predating even the earliest Western contact, the Loko (ponds), I‘a (fish) are a tangible reminder of the days when the land and sea supported the Ali‘i (royalty) and fishermen who were the original inhabitants of the land that is now known as Mauna Lani. The seven ponds — Kalāhuipua‘a, Kahinawao, Waipuhi, Waipuhi Iki, Hope‘ala, Keanapou and Manoku — were maintained and managed by ancient Hawaiians who used them to raise fish and to supplement their ocean fishing efforts. Mullet, ‘awa (milkfish), shrimp and other sea life were raised strictly for the consumption of Ali‘i and other persons of rank. The ponds, spanning over 11 acres, are still home to countless fish, along with other marine flora and fauna.
Today, Daniel Akaka, the resort’s Kahu Hānai and renowned Hawaiian historian, offers interactive guided tours throughout the fishponds. Like a stroll into a living museum, each tour provides a deeper understanding of Hawaiian history, legends, beliefs as well as typical Hawaiian words, which translates into a deeper appreciation and respect for the Hawaiian people, land, values, and culture.