Hui Hoʻoleimaluō

Mentor: Nāhōkū Kahana

STEM Fields: Agricultural; Fishery; Restorative Biology; Watershed Ecology

Internship Research Goal: Maintenance and management of loko iʻa ecosystems aimed to restore native flora and fauna of the area, increase cultural resources, and build STEAM skills.


Graphic of Native Hawaiian hieroglyphic of fish. Hui Hoʻoleimaluō Honokea Loko Waiuli Waiakea Hilo.About Hui Hoʻoleimaluō:

Hui Hoʻoleimaluō’s mission is to nourish loko iʻa (Hawaiian fishponds) along the Keaukaha coastline in Hilo, Hawaiʻi through hands-on education, community advocacy, and place-based management of natural resources.  Specifically, Hui Hoʻoleimaluō focuses on loko iʻa restoration, educating students about loko iʻa, and community outreach in the form of workdays and community events.

Loko iʻa are nursery environments for fish and can be considered as the meeting point between land and sea.  Therefore, this hui works to care for the surrounding natural land and sea elements that are necessary for the loko iʻa to thrive.  This restoration work includes opening up freshwater springs, rebuilding rock walls, maintaining habitat space for species, measuring and monitoring water quality and oxygen levels, monitoring both native and invasive species and studying the impacts these species have on the health of the loko iʻa.  

Loko iʻa not only provides food for its community but also local jobs and education on sustainable and traditional Hawaiian agricultural practices.

Headshot of person outdoorsMeet Our Internship Mentor: Nāhōkū Kahana

Nāhōkū Kahana is one of the co-founders of the Hui Hoʻoleimaluō and describes herself as a fish pond steward at the Honokea loko iʻa in Keaukaha, Hawaiʻi.  Nāhōkū has been working to restore and maintain the Honokea loko iʻa for the past 10-11 years. 

Nāhōkū’s connection to her culture and the passion to build her community through caring for her home lead Nāhōkū and two other University of Hawaiʻi Hilo graduates (Mānoa and Kamala) to start this non-profit organization to care for the loko iʻa along the Keaukaha coastline.  Nāhōkū, Kamala and Mānoa combined their talents in anthropology, geography and aquaculture and used their ʻike (or knowledge) to guide the direction of the restoration work for these loko iʻa.

Internship duties and responsibilities:

  • Learn about the different wahi pana (place names) along the coastline
  • Monitoring water quality
  • Assist with student groups who visit the loko iʻa (such as facilitate student activities and summer programs)
  • Work alongside other high school students to complete other maintenance work at the loko iʻa

Interns should be comfortable with and able to:

  • Working outdoors often
  • Completing physical work

2023 Internship Schedule:

  • Spring 2023: Saturday, March 25 & Sunday, March 26, 9am – 1pm at Kaumaui Site
  • Summer 2023: To be determined 

*Schedules are tentative and are subject to change. Interns will be required to work 8 hours in the Spring 2023. Interns will be required to work 40 hours in the Summer 2023.  

Internship Meeting Location:

Hui Hoʻoleimaluō
2306 Kalaniʻanaʻole Street
Hilo, HI 96720