Academic Master

Human Resource And Management

Hawaiian Cultural And Natural Resource Management

How are humans related to the land?

“Take good care of the land. It grants you life.” Hawaii is a geographically isolated place inhabited by the people. It is made up of eight beautiful islands that have been severely and dramatically changed over an extended period. Many people don’t think much about the profound impact humans have had on that place. Hawaii is mainly comprised of undeveloped rural communities, many of which have seeped through social and economic development. For a very long time, those rural communities have continued, from one generation to the next, the practice of cultivation, fishing, gathering, and hunting for the sake of survival. All of this was in accordance with the ‘ohana values, which were taught to them by their ancestors. The natural resources in those areas have been preserved and maintained due to the values, principles, and cultural practices of Aloha and Malama. History shows that traditional resource management plays a crucial role in the continuation of inherent culture.

Define the following terms:


The word Ahupua’a is derived from the Hawaiian language Ahu. Ahupua’a is the basic unit of Hawaiian cultural management and divisions of land. It was a division between sea and mountains and comprised of the fishery, a stretch of cultivable land, and the forest.


Moku is a second-level land division after Ahupua’a that sections the portions of the island. Those were broader traditional culture-practicing areas.


Mokupuni are the island kingdoms, i.e., the main island divisions.

List the six moku of Oʻahu

Ewa, Kona, Koʻolauloa, Koʻolaupoko, Waialua and Waiʻanae.

Where do you live? List your Mokupuni, moku, Ahupuaʻa. If you are not in the islands, see if you can match the terms to the divisions in your area.

Since I am not a resident of Hawaii and I live in California, the United States, the analogous mokopuna, moku, and Ahupua’a are Mokupuni: San FranciscoMoku: California.
Ahupua’a: United States

In your own words and complete sentences, describe the four basic principles of Hawaiian cultural resource management according to the article.

(i) The first principle was about Ahupua’a, which is that land should run from mountains to sea so that the people can afford fishery residence along with highland products like fuel, mountain birds, canoe timbers, etc.

(ii) The second principle was about the natural elements like water, air, and oceans. They are all interconnected and interdependent. The effect on one will affect the other. If the atmosphere affects the land, it will affect the water running in the streams, the beaches, and finally, the oceans.

(iii) Fresh Water, also called wai in Hawaiian terms, is the most important natural element for life, and in any aspect of land use, management, and planning, water is to be taken into account.

(iv) The ancestors of Hawaii studied the land and its natural elements very profoundly and absorbed its features as assets. This ancient knowledge recorded by the ancestors was passed down and remembered by naming the places, chanting about the winds, rains, architecture, or features of a place, etc. Hawaiians applied their ancestral knowledge in anything they did, like the construction of homes, cultivation, irrigation, management, planning, etc.


Malama Waipio,

“Native Hawaiian Land Division.” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior,

Land Division,



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