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Paeʻāina -  Department of Hawaiian Homelands

The Department of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL) stewards almost 198,000 acres of land in Hawaiʻi, spread across six mokupuni. Since the publication of the its Water Plan (2014), DHHL has identified, in its ongoing community water policy conversations, the priority of understanding its trust water assets; which implies an underlying need to connect, on a cultural level, to wai resources on Hawaiian Homelands. The driving nīnau is, how do you protect what you don’t know exists? If you don’t know where something is? Nohopapa has undertaken a pae ʻāina wide project to create a map, using ESRI GIS software, historic Hawaiʻi maps, and Māhele archival data to build the foundation of a Cultural Water Assets Inventory on DHHL lands (a waiWAI). 
The current DHHL Water Plan describes water as including, “...mists, fog, rain, and other precipitation; water as it flows above or below ground, and into the ocean; water used for homesteading; alternative sources including waste, brackish, and salt water; water used in the exercise of traditional and customary practices; infrastructure used to produce, store and transmit water; and water we use as well as water to which we have rights.”

Yet many of us realize, that the waiwai of WAI is so much more. It is the names and moʻolelo tied to puna, kahawai, ʻolokele, and even wahi pana; it is uli that comes from wai we can’t even see; the things we grow in soil, and the places people live. Nohopapa has already identified over 50 different “types” of wai. This wealth of wai resources is being developed into shapefile data through a re-mapping process using GIS software and historic maps. Māhele data is being used to add to the inoa and understanding of land use and place names. And ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi sources and translation of both Māhele data and moʻolelo are being integrated with this re-mapping to help paint a broader picture of inoa wai on DHHL parcels. Nohopapa is working with DHHL to create this kahua, this foundational, waiWAI data to help inform future development decisions by better understanding the wealth of the wai around them, as embodied by one of the values DHHL identified in its Water Policy Plan:
Ua lehulehu a manomano ka ikena a ka Hawaiʻi
Great and numerous is the knowledge of Hawaiians
Honoring and documenting our knowledge about water, is essential to managing it.

For more information about this project please feel free to contact us


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