Written by Niegel Rozet & Kinohi Fukumitsu
Ka Hiʻa o nā Kūpuna is an initiative built upon a connection between lawai’a ‘ōpelu, Uncle Chuck Leslie, from Nāpoʻopoʻo and practitioners from Ke Kula Nui o Waimānalo and Kahana communities.
There was interest from the community of Kahana to learn to make nets, which led to a deeper conversation about net sheds and the potential functions they could play within a community. Kahiau Wallace recalled that in the past, the Kahana ‘Ohana Lawaiʻa Camps were held to to teach youths how to hukilau, throw net, and make crab nets – a part of Kahana Bay’s history of having a functioning net shed. If a net shed is restored in Kahana Bay, then it could serve as a place to hold conversations about what sustainable fishing looks like to their community. Members of the community could gather there as well to learn the practices and kuleana that comes with gathering fish in this way, including the mending and long term care of nets.
The first part of this exchange started by taking Kahana community members to Uncle Chuck’s “Net Shed” in Nāpoʻopoʻo to learn the practice of sewing net. A month later, Uncle Chuck came to Oʻahu to lead a 2-day workshop to expand that workshop to more than 30 participants from at least 8 different communities. The workshop included focused and facilitated conversations around the planning of a “Kahana Net Shed.” We plan to have a few more small community exchanges to continue these important conversations.