Waikalua Fishpond Oral History Project, Audio Recording of Interview of

Fred Takebayashi with Willis Motooka and Ka‘ohua Lucas

Interviewer:  Kellen Tanaka, Cultural Researcher, Cultural Surveys Hawai‘i
Interview Date: October 27, 2021 at Waikalua Loko I‘a fishpond

Fred Takebayashi served as a docent educator, caretaker, and “resident” kupuna for the Waikalua Loko Fishpond Preservation Society.  He grew up in his family’s home located only a block away from Waikalua Loko I‘a.  His family were farmers who grew various crops and raised fish in the Hawaiian fishpond.

He worked as a teacher and administrator for the Hawai‘i Department of Education. In retirement Fred served as a docent for students of all grade levels visited the Fishpond’s outdoor classroom and laboratory and restoration worker.

Transcription of Audio:

FRED:  This person who had a market, a fish market in Ala Moana had bought the Heʻeia fishpond, so he asked my father if he would—my father would let me go and work at the Heʻeia fishpond.  So if he had been running into problem along the fishpond, he would tell me and my father, then my father would tell me, and I would tell… [laughs] That’s why—I was there five years at the Heʻeia fishpond, so it was just like I never left the fishpond [mumbled]. (from when I was born?)

KELLEN:  So what did your father do?

FRED: My father?

KELLEN: Yeah.

FRED:  Oh… he… he didn’t… well. Because he moved from Japan, because he came to Honolulu and whatnot, and went to Big Island, and then he went to Maui, and from Maui he came to Kokokahi and the fishpond.  So he fished at the fishpond, had a small garden, he did well. Then… and I was a little kid, so I talked to my father and we always talked to each other. He used to take me fishing. Before I go to school, I was fishing with him, and he was like a—he would fish, trolling; I would keep four ʻopae in my hand, like this, in the water, alive. Fish bite on his line, pull ’em up, bite fish, pulling it up. Wait for the bait…

That was my kind of life…So as far as here, Waikalua Loko, it was… I just… I don’t know how come, I didn’t have a relationship, really.  It’s just that she [Ka‘ohua Lucas] was looking for people to work at Waikalua Loko and it was just at the time I had retired from the Department [of] Education.

I was ready, so the one thing is because of my background of having lived on the fishpond (???) ’cause I love fishing…As she was recruiting workers for Waikalua, she didn’t have to sell me.  I was ready to come and I don’t know, really, I just came in. The more I saw things that needed to be done, I’d just go ahead and do it.  Nobody else was telling me, “repair fishpond walls,” uh, “catching the pua, mullet pua, to restock the pond,” things like that. Nobody was telling me, but basically, I lived like having lived on the fishpond all the time, y’know, so I just naturally saw “oh, this should be done” and I would do it.  

That’s why, even that—putting up the Kū stone, I thought about it afterwards—I never told anyone that was working around me about the Kū stone.  It never occurred to me—I was doing it by myself! And that… stone was lying down, looking at me. “Put ’em up, put ’em up,” I hearing, I feel someone’s watching me.

Somebody was… somebody was watching the place, because people came nighttime to take limu from the fishpond, but they abandoned— they left their boat, loaded with limu, and they had bags full with limu and everything, ready to take it away. But also they left all the bags, plastic bags, ropes, scoop nets, like   that. They left all those things and they just left from the places. They got frightened, someone scared them away.  I know the guys who— I know who came because I know the boat, the skiff that had—I know I saw equipped with that.  They were coming daytime, with permission, ’cause they said they were gonna…use the limu to fertilize their farm in Kahuku.  So I told them, “that’s a good thing to do! Yeah, come, come!”  ’cause we want to get rid of the limu. They wanted limu, so I figured there was a good relationship there, but those guys were lying, so that’s why they resorted to come and get it themselves.  So I told them, “you folks wanna come back again, every time you guys come out, 200 dollars.” [chuckle]  They didn’t come. 

KELLEN: What’s your earliest memories of Waikalua?

FRED: Early one is the thing I was telling, that as a kid going to school, and Papa driving us down to the pier and picking us up, and on days that was windy, we would have to walk, so Papa would be waiting for us.  So we’d get back up and we’d cross the Kāneʻohe stream, walk up this way, and either walk on the outside (makai) or mauka.  

WILLIS: You didn’t have cell phones, yeah, otherwise he could call you, “oh, you gotta walk home today!”

FRED: [laughs] No cell phones. But, uh, that’s how we at least getting familiar with the place was through that, and of course a big part of it was Mr. Nakamura living in that shack over there, up there, and he having gum and candy for us every time, and a smile. He was always smiling.  He would come out, talk with us, give us candy. 

WILLIS: …Mr. Nakamura’s shack, by the YWCA?

FRED: No, on the second mākāhā—

WILLIS: Oh!

FRED: —on the fishpond wall.

WILLIS: Oh yeah?

FRED: Yeah.

WILLIS: Oh.

FRED: So…

WILLIS: OK.

FRED: And good fun, go walking together, and I think the older brothers and stuff—I think they were… they were nice to us.  Y’know, sometimes we were together, walk us home.  So, and we’d come over here, and “oh, which way we going today?  This way, or this way…?”  “No, we go this way,” we go this way, so look all over, what’s over here. Get the mākāhā over here, get all familiar, all the way, so… The time… I guess our relationship with Waikalua is an opportunity time when I was… after working at Heʻeia, I went to college, and after retiring from the Department, I was free and she was recruiting. She can recruit me anytime! 

WILLIS: [laughs]

FRED: No, but, I was sold before I walked in there! [laughs]

WILLIS: Was Fred involved with the Kāhea Loko? [Project Kāhea Loko, “The call of the pond”  ] [A Teacher’s Guide to Hawaiian Fishponds, Grades 4 – 12, a curriculum produced by the Pacific American Foundation]

KAOHUA: Yeah—

WILLIS: When was that?

KAOHUA: That was 2000, 2001, maybe, we finished it? But we had finished it and then we were trying to get trainers, yeah? Docents for the fishpond?  And we did a training, so it must have been about 2001, I would say— 

WILLIS: OK.

KAOHUA: —that we did our training.  

WILLIS: And then you folks went to the Big Island? 

KAOHUA: Yeah, we did a whole bunch—yeah, then we went holoholo ’cause then Kāhea Loko, we were doing it for specific ahupuaʻa. It wasn’t just Kāneʻohe; we were using that as the template for other ʻāina on neighbor islands, yeah. 

WILLIS: What was.. well, Iʻve.. too many of my own personal que – OK!  Whatʻs the next question you had?

KELLEN: Well… [background rustling]

FRED: What’s the loko iʻa? What the term?

KELLEN: That’s “fishpond.”

FRED: Loko iʻa?

WILLIS: Loko iʻa! Yeah, that’s the fishpond, fishpond, Hawaiian term for “fishpond.” 

KELLEN: “Iʻa” is “fish,” yeah?

FRED: Oh, not just this fishpond, yeah? Not just this fishpond, but this is about—

WILLIS: Just “fishpond” in general, I think— 

KELLEN: Yeah, yeah, that’s the, yeah, this is Waikalua, and then “loko iʻa” is “fishpond.”  “Loko,” I think, is “pond,”  yeah, and then “iʻa” is “fish.”   

WILLIS: “…iʻa” is “fish.”   Well, you remember—you remember your time at your parents’ fishpond?

FRED: Mm-hmm.

WILLIS: You used to have— you used to spearfish, right?

FRED: Yup! Yeah.

KELLEN: So when did you get involved with the Preservation Society?

WILLIS: Oh, the Waikalua Loko Fishpond Preservation Society? When did you get involved with that? Almost when you came, yeah?

KAOHUA: I would say 2001.

KELLEN: 2001.

WILLIS: 2001, yeah.

KELLEN: What was your role within the Society? Like, how did you contribute?

FRED: Hard to say.

KAOHUA: I will say. [laughs]

FRED: Big change was when you left.

KAOHUA: Yeah!

WILLIS: So what was your position in the Society?

FRED: I was doing my own thing. You know, basically, I would see things that needed to be done, I’d go do it. Yeah.

WILLIS: He was like a groundskeeper, you know? I also remember him serving as a docent, yeah? I remember you cut through the back side and you made the trail, ’cause I helped you on that one. The last few feet, I helped you during the last few feet—maybe the last ten feet. You did all the rest!  

FRED: I mean, it needed to be done! That’s it. 

WILLIS: Yeah, that was a good idea!

FRED: I had a student, though, that summer— 

WILLIS: Yeah, yeah.

FRED: Yeah.

WILLIS: OK, so… yeah, you know you cannot be part of the fishpond without having to address the recovery part of the fishpond, you know, the physical part of the fishpond? The weeds and the trees and the invasive species, yeah? Like I was saying to the group, I couldn’t keep up with him and he was 80 at the time!  

KELLEN: So that’s, like.. all after 2001 or so, yeah?

WILLIS: Yeah.

KAOHUA: Uh-huh.

WILLIS: Well, I came here in 2006.

KELLEN: …It’s after that.

WILLIS: Now, first day is when I met Kaohua(?), when I first came… I think Sheila [Cyboron] told me, “oh, go see Kaohua,” y’know?  Anyway…

KAOHUA: The rest is history.  [collective laughter]

WILLIS: Yeah, and the rest was history. And I heard he was here already, Fred was already here.  

KELLEN: So, um…

WILLIS: Go ahead.

KELLEN: I was going to say, what can you tell us about what the area was like in ancient times? Do you know any of that? Can you share any stories about that?  

FRED: I don’t know, hard to answer that question because…

WILLIS: Well, there was no mangrove, right? Did you see mangrove in your childhood days?

FRED: Mm?

WILLIS: You saw mangrove?

FRED: No.

WILLIS: No, eh?

FRED: We saw the roots, the seeds when the wind was blowing this way.  

WILLIS: You would see the mangrove?

FRED: Leaves. The—the—

WILLIS: Oh, the pods?

FRED: Pods.

WILLIS: But it wasn’t growing in the pond, right?

FRED: No, it wasn’t.

WILLIS: Yeah, so…

FRED: It was all gone.

WILLIS: What else you remember about the fishpond?

FRED: Of this one?

WILLIS: Yeah. Well, any fishpond in the early days. In the early days, what did you see or notice about the fishpond that maybe you don’t see today?

FRED: Well, on that corner, they had a shack in the fishpond with a… They had a walkway, a bridge—

KELLEN: Pier, or—?

FRED: Yeah, and I could see that there were… The bridge, the walkway, was made so that they could dry fishnets, ’cause they were catching the fish over there because there was a mākāhā at that corner. There was (???) for the Kawa stream, was flowing…

WILLIS: Flowing into the pond.

FRED: …flowing into the pond.  And that… they should bring back, not only because bringing fresh water, but also the way the mākāhā was made, the level was high—the Kawa stream is higher, so they made it so that the water would run down—

WILLIS: Into the pond?

FRED: [coughs] Yeah. Aerate the pond. And that’s important.

WILLIS: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

FRED: Yeah.

WILLIS: Yeah.

KELLEN: To aerate the water in

the—where it meets?

FRED: Yeah.

WILLIS: Fishpond.

FRED: Yeah, because, you see, most of the prevailing winds is this way, right? All this way? I don’t know, they didn’t have, I think, the kind of… I don’t know, air in the… in the fishpond as they should have.

WILLIS: Right now, it’s a dead corner. Yeah? Is that—

FRED: That’s a dead corner.  Right now, it’s terrible.  So I said, I told them, “if you gon’ put back fish, eh, you make it so that the water won’t… come down something so that— 

WILLIS: —so that it won’t go downhill—

FRED: —so that they take oxygen and mix it with the water. 

WILLIS: Yeah, yeah. Good idea. Yeah.

FRED: “Loko iʻa” was ’cause the fishpond…

WILLIS: Yeah, it’s “fishpond,” “loko iʻa.”

KELLEN: Mm-hmm.

WILLIS: When was the loko iʻa constructed?

FRED: Well, I think that was the one would be different, the way the water came through that… place over there… That meant the others were in place. 

KELLEN: Is there anything unique to this pond?

FRED: What was that?

KELLEN: Is there anything unique to this pond, compared to, like, Heʻeia, or—?

FRED: Yeah. Yeah. There isn’t one like that at Heʻeia, but I read about it, and the guy who wrote… fishpond at Kualoa… But he even used to run his motorboat in there to churn the water, to, you know—

KELLEN: To give it the oxygen?

WILLIS: But you know, he just said today that this fishpond was bigger, because you said that was the west side of the pond, that wall, on the other side of that stream, right?

FRED: What’s that?

WILLIS: You know, this fishpond was bigger, right?

FRED: Yeah. Well, this wasn’t— the water—I mean, the dirt here wasn’t here. This was fishpond!  Fishpond wall was along the outside—

WILLIS: Yeah, where—

FRED: —river.

WILLIS: —where was that wall?

FRED: Right there, I think it’s over there.

WILLIS: Right by the edge of this…

KAOHUA: This one here.

WILLIS: … this stream? Yeah.

FRED: Yeah.

WILLIS: Or the other side of that stream?

FRED: That’s… the fishpond was on this side; where this side is right now, that was a wall.

KAOHUA: Right where the coconut tree is, the little coconut tree.

FRED: Yeah.

WILLIS: OK, yeah, yeah, by that coconut tree, then.

FRED: Yeah, something like that.

KAOHUA: Yeah?

FRED: Maybe not exactly like that, but there was that wall, fishpond wall, on this side, and this was all fishpond.

WILLIS: OK, that’s interesting.

FRED: Sea wall, restoration of the sea wall and all? Yeah?

WILLIS: Where are you reading?

KELLEN: Willis, I think he’s in this area.

WILLIS: Mm-hmm.

FRED: The sluice gate, that’s what we’re talking about, and the corner, where the water was coming down, yeah? And the mākāhā at that corner.

WILLIS: Yeah.

FRED: Yeah.

KELLEN: …and you mentioned that you saw…

FRED: And the Kū and the Hina stones, yeah.

WILLIS: Yeah.

FRED: I think… you saw the write-up about the Kū stone?  Did you see that write-up?

KELLEN: No, no.

FRED: I can send you one, or…

KELLEN: OK.

(??? to 22:59/1379)

FRED: There’s no way to translate(?) it, but I could send you that.

KELLEN: Yeah, that’d be cool.

FRED: Then give me your email address… 

KELLEN: Yeah.

FRED: Yeah.

KELLEN: Cool. What types of fish, what species of fish were in the pond, do you recall?

FRED: Huh?

KELLEN: Oh? What ty—what species of fish do you—were in the pond?

FRED: The fish?

WILLIS: Yeah, what kind of fish—

KELLEN: —what kind—

WILLIS: —were in the pond?

FRED: I don’t think there was any too different, but they definitely had lots of mullet.

KELLEN: (Mullet.)

WILLIS: Didn’t have tilapia in your day.

FRED: Tilapia, oh no. We had (?)  …no.

WILLIS: No have, yeah?

FRED: They came later on.

WILLIS: Came later.

FRED: Yeah. Yeah.

WILLIS: Yeah. That was bad news, though, the tilapia.

FRED: Yeah. Yeah, usually the kind of fish would be the mullet, awaʻawa… (?)…

WILLIS: Papio.

FRED: Papio.

WILLIS: Barracuda?

FRED: Yeah. The barracuda, that kind, they never put it in. It came through…

WILLIS: Maybe coming in through—

FRED: …every time.

WILLIS: Yeah.

FRED: Yeah.

WILLIS: Yeah. You know, that’s one fish you can be sure came through the mākāhā… on its own power.

KAOHUA: Barracuda?

WILLIS: Barracuda.

FRED: Yeah…

WILLIS: Do you… this is off the topic, but—

FRED: Huh?

WILLIS: You know, you used to talk about how you can catch barracuda by making a funnel?

FRED: Yeah.

WILLIS: I heard there was one, (1500) outside of the pond…by a resident.

FRED: Oh.

WILLIS: There used to be a funnel outside. The funnel was made with fencing, and the barracuda would swim and get into the net, and then there would be a small pocket.

KELLEN: Mm-hmm.

WILLIS: And that’s how you catch the barracuda, you go to the pocket, scoop ’em up.

KELLEN: It’s in there, yeah? Yeah.

WILLIS: But anyway, it’s not here or there, just outside the pond.

KELLEN: So, what contribution are you most proud of with the work you’ve done with the—for the fishpond?

FRED: …Isn’t much change. 

WILLIS: No… what were your biggest contribution… your achievement here at the fishpond?

KELLEN: That you’re most proud of, or, you know…

WILLIS: That you’re most proud of?  …Well, Fred, you had the Kū stone? You found the Kū stone. 

KAOHUA: Mm-hmm.

FRED: I found the Kū stone.

WILLIS: Yeah!

FRED: Hina stone.

KELLEN: Mm-hmm.

FRED: Yeah, that time I found the Kū stone was so strange because I never told anybody.

KELLEN: Mm-hmm.

FRED: I just went ahead and prepared the things I needed to make a woman all da kine. Always a fish…

WILLIS: You remember the year?  The year you found the Kū stone?

FRED: When I did that?

WILLIS: Yeah. Yeah, you said your daughter helped you.  How old was she?

FRED: My daughter?  Granddaughter? I have two, so… I don’t know how we gonna figure that out, yeah?  No, there’s a couple, so could have all been, but… 

WILLIS: Also, you made the backside trail. You opened up the backside; it was all bushes!  

FRED: Oh, yeah, that was… One summer, I had this student.

WILLIS: Student helper, yeah?

FRED: Yeah… The father was friends. Heh.  He was a dentist.  But anyway, he said—oh! His son was high school age, so for the summer, could I have him come over and work with me, have something to do kind of a thing.  So he and I cleaned the backside trail. He worked hard….and we found ʻopae, that big ʻopae.

WILLIS: The prawns? Some kind of prawn? Mountain ʻopae or what?

FRED: Eh?

WILLIS: What kind of ʻopae?

FRED: Big kine ʻopae.

WILLIS: Oh…

KELLEN: Big one.

WILLIS: In the stream?

FRED: No, no, out by that side.  Outside.

KELLEN: Outside the walls.

WILLIS: Ooh, outside?

FRED: Outside of one (?).

WILLIS: Right outside is Kawa Stream!

FRED: No, no, no. Outside.

WILLIS: Oh! I know what you—You talking about that mantis—the mantis shrimp.

FRED: Mantis shrimp?

WILLIS: Yeah. They make holes, yeah? The burrows…

FRED: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

WILLIS: OK. That was the mantis—

FRED: There was plenty outside there. We would try catching that… [rain begins to fall] and he took some home.  The father called me up, all “Hey! That thing ʻono like hell!”

EVERYONE: [laughs]

FRED: No. No big deal, but…

WILLIS: Yeah, that was… He had a unique way of catching that.

KELLEN: Mm-hmm.

FRED: Yeah.

KELLEN: It’s starting to rain…So why do you think preserving the fishpond is important?

FRED: Huh?

KELLEN: Oh. Why do you think preserving the fishpond is important for the community?

FRED: Well. Right now…It’s not much, except… You say, well, this is what you had before.  Yeah? It was a way of living for some people. Now… kinda hard, yeah?

WILLIS: Well, helps for education. For children.

FRED: Education. Yeah.  But as far as education of the fishpond is for the kids..Kaohua was… Kaohua folks worked on something here.

WILLIS: Yeah, yeah? The Kahea Loko? The Kahea Loko.

FRED: Yeah.

WILLIS: The curriculum.

FRED: Yeah…

WILLIS: I think it was, because of the time, it was…The curriculum was designed for the fishpond, and any fishpond.  You know, the idea is to teach the community how the fishpond is built, how does it work, the parts of it, and all… It’s all in there.

KELLEN: Were you involved in developing the curriculum?

FRED: No.

KELLEN: But you would help?  When the students would come, you would help with the tours and stuff, yeah?

FRED: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

KELLEN: Teaching and stuff.

FRED: Yeah. Not much, yeah.  

WILLIS: Well, he had a station, you know? Each of us had a station.

KELLEN: Uh-huh.

WILLIS: And the students would go round robin from one station to the next.

KELLEN: Uh-huh.

WILLIS: Yeah.

KELLEN: And what station was yours? What did you teach?

FRED: I was actually down on makai side. I was second mākāhā someplace.

WILLIS: Mm-hmm.

FRED: Yeah.  Something funny occurred, I forgot what… but we would talk about the tidal movement, how it usually depends with the moon, and the connection with the moon influencing the movement of the water and that kind of thing with… talk to them about that.

WILLIS: You also told us the legend of Kū, yeah? The Kū legend; you also had—

FRED: Yeah.

WILLIS: —that one station where you talked about the Kū stone.

KELLEN: Mm-hmm.

WILLIS: Yeah, so based on all…

FRED: Yeah, that’s…

WILLIS: Hawaiian legends—

FRED: It comes out.

WILLIS: It’s online, by the way.

Actually, there are about three websites that talk about the Kū stone, the legend of Kuʻula-kai, named after the Hawaiian god.

FRED: Yeah.

KELLEN: Mm-hmm.

WILLIS: For some teachers, they teach Hawaiiana.

KELLEN: Mm-hmm.

WILLIS: That really is important, you know?  Hawaiians were polytheistic.

KELLEN: Mm-hmm.

WILLIS: If you say they’re “paganistic,” oh, they get offended.

KELLEN: Mm-hmm.

WILLIS: If you say “polytheistic?” Eh, nicer way of saying they believed in many gods.

KELLEN: Yeah.

WILLIS: You know.

KELLEN: Mm-hmm.

WILLIS: Of course, it’s not insulting because the Romans and the Greeks were all polytheistic.

KELLEN: Yeah, there’s nothing wrong with that.

WILLIS: But, hey! You know…

KELLEN: Those are the old gods, too. They go back.

WILLIS: I suspect, you know, that the Heʻeia fishpond…?

KELLEN: Mm-hmm?

WILLIS: Their Christian religious orientation…

KELLEN: Oh, yeah?

WILLIS: …is the reason they won’t put up the Kū stone.

KELLEN: Yeah, it’s a shame.

WILLIS: It’s actually a violation of the Ten Commandments, one of the Ten Commandments. You cannot…

KELLEN: False, like…

WILLIS: Yeah, you cannot…

KELLEN: …idols?

WILLIS: …worship to any other idol, pay homage to any other idol.

KELLEN: Yeah, I guess that makes sense for them.

WILLIS: Yeah.

KELLEN: That’s their beliefs, yeah?

WILLIS: Yeah.

FRED: We never had a keiki pond over here, yeah?

WILLIS: Yeah, we had one in the corner!

FRED: Where in the corner?

WILLIS: That—the “Kianai!”  The Kia—Keana!

KELLEN: Keana, yeah?

WILLIS: Keana Pond! Yeah.

FRED: Way in the corner, yeah?

WILLIS: Yeah. But like I was saying, eh, Fred, I don’t think it’s a keiki pond.  I think it’s a trap, fish trap.  They used that to catch fish, because the wall is only about this high.

FRED: Yeah.

WILLIS: So when the high tide goes up over the rocks, all the pua goes into that keiki pond.

FRED: [murmur of assent]

KELLEN: So what would you like to see for the future of the pond?  Like, you know, preservation, restoration, that type of things?

FRED: I dunno.  We have time for that?

WILLIS: [laughs]

FRED: I don’t know. You tried the oysters?

WILLIS: Oh, growing oysters?

FRED: You were trying to raise ’em, no?

WILLIS: Oyster? I tried one time. It didn’t… Well, it worked, but it didn’t grow. Didn’t grow. I mean, it just stayed alive, but…

KELLEN: Mm-hmm.

FRED: You know you had the box or something…

WILLIS: Yeah, I had a box.

FRED: …had oysters inside.

WILLIS: I had a cage, plastic cage.

FRED: You saw the big oyster in there?

WILLIS: Yeah, yeah. But it didn’t grow. I mean, it stays…

FRED: No, it—

WILLIS: …stays that size, I went measure—

FRED: I brought it in.  I brought it in… [laughs]

WILLIS: Oh, yeah, YOU brought it in! You—you—

FRED: From the outside! You get [inaudible] oysters, and also there’s a big one, like—

WILLIS: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

FRED: [inaudible] put ’em inside! [laughter]

FRED: But… yeah, we could have done more of that kind of thing, yeah? But we got busy somehow.

WILLIS: Yeah, that…

KELLEN: Like trying to raise more things like the fish pens and the limu and stuff?  The tanks—

WILLIS: Yeah.

KELLEN: That type of work?

WILLIS: Yeah, yeah. Ogo.  Actually, I would like to see that too.

KELLEN: Like more of the raising of the fish and…

WILLIS: Different cultures of fish. Different cultures, you know…In fact, you can grow… you can raise sharks if you wanted!  

KELLEN: Mm-hmm.

WILLIS: Really! You can, you know? But nobody would go in the pond, though—

[KELLEN and WILLIS laugh]

WILLIS: —if you raise sharks.  But you can, and you can sell ’em.  But… now turtles are protected.  You can’t do that.  But yeah, you can raise different kinds of things in there. There’s Samoan crabs.  This is ideal; for Samoan crabs, you can make a lot of money growing Samoan crabs, yeah?

FRED: Well, you did a study of that. Did you get information about—for the Philippines or the… someplace?

WILLIS: Yup, yup. Yeah, the Philippines are ahead of us as far as Samoan crab culture goes. They cannot meet the demands of the marketplace. But funny, that crab was imported just for that reason, to begin, start up a culture for…

KELLEN: Out here?

WILLIS Yeah, out in Hawaiʻi. But it… [sigh] As I understand it, though, it was a matter of timing. They brought in the Samoan crab, but the cost was feed.

KELLEN: Mm-hmm.

WILLIS: The best feed was live fish. It was costly to go hire somebody to collect live fish, but that was before tilapia.  Now that we have tilapia, it’s no cost, almost, to feed the Samoan crab.

KELLEN: They’re already in there?

WILLIS: It’s already in there, yeah.

KELLEN: And they just catch ’em themself?

WILLIS: The Filipinos now have a way of culturing Samoan crab, in the pond and even out of the pond. Like, in the pond, had folding cages about this size, you know. And that thing would—one cage, they would grow out completely in that one cage.  Now they have land-based growing. It’s in a room, and they’re in cages about maybe six to seven stories. All these plastic cages are piled one on top the other, and the water drips all the way down to the last cage. And then they recycle the water, and… Less labor costs and everything, you know?  You don’t really need a pond to use that method, but…

KELLEN: Then you gotta worry about the feeding it, yeah?  Catching or getting the…

WILLIS: Yeah.

KELLEN: …fish to feed them, yeah?

WILLIS: They’re also prolific.  One female can lay a million eggs. One female.

KELLEN: Is that over their life, or in one—

WILLIS: One season.

KELLEN: Yeah, wow.

WILLIS: Yeah, so…In the Philippines, they culture it. They spawn that thing in captivity, so survival rate is very high in captivity.  Yeah, I know Herb folks, they’re all looking for sources of income, yeah? They should try that. They should try Samoan crab. At Heʻeia, they catch it, but they won’t raise it. They have a policy not to raise anything that is non-native. You know, Samoan crab is non-native.  But they have a lot in their pond.  So what they’re doing is they’re selling it to the public. They sell everything they catch, you know?  

KELLEN: OK. So what can people do to help the fishpond and the Society, and…

WILLIS: What? Where is that question?

KELLEN: We’re all the way down here.

WILLIS: Oh, we’re over here, Fred. 

FRED: Mm.

WILLIS: “What can people do to help the volunteer efforts, like Lā ʻOhana workdays…”

KELLEN: I mean, this was just examples from Doug’s…

WILLIS: “…mangrove removal.”  Yeah, it’s all there.

FRED: Wall restoration.

WILLIS: “Wall restoration, docent training, music concerts?” Yeah. “Family fishing days?” That’s good, family fishing days!

FRED: Should we have family fishing days?

WILLIS: Yeah, we should have that.

FRED: Might be. Might be, yeah?

WILLIS: Oh, crabbing.

FRED: Crabbing.

WILLIS: Crabbing in there, yeah?  That’s always fun, that’s always fun, crabbing.

FRED: Hukilau.

KELLEN: Hukilau, yeah.

FRED: Hukilau we tried, eh? We tried—

WILLIS: Hukilau? Didn’t—we tried the hukilau. But the problem was we only caught puwalu and tilapia.

FRED: Yeah? Like hukilau, I think, there would be a place for that.

WILLIS: Mm-hmm. I know we did that with Pūʻōhala Elementary School. You know Pūʻōhala Elementary School? We did that.

FRED: Yeah.

WILLIS: And you helped us with the net.

FRED: Yeah.

WILLIS: Fred has a net, you know. Long net. We did the hukilau, which is the Hawaiian style. You know, you have rope, and you tie—was ti leaf, yeah?  Put ti leaf on the rope, yeah, and then…

FRED: (??) But we didn’t have time to train the crew.

WILLIS: Oh.

FRED: You put the ti leaf on top the rope, yeah?

WILLIS: Yeah.

FRED: They’re pulling it and it’s above the water. [laughs]  I got disgusted! That one, we had to try with just the crew, nobody else, make sure they do the right way, ’cause then… 

WILLIS: Yup.

FRED: [scoff] That was…

WILLIS: Then, what we did was we did the hukilau with this long rope, and we pulled that thing across the pond, and at one end, we put the gill net. So we brought everything to the gill net. Now the gill net went straight out from the wall, from the koa pod going straight out, so… It’s all a matter of just swinging the rope around.

FRED: Yeah

[Transcription by Shayla (Shel) Sunada, Student Assistant Transcriber]

Transcription of Audio:

FRED:  This person who had a market, a fish market in Ala Moana had bought the Heʻeia fishpond, so he asked my father if he would—my father would let me go and work at the Heʻeia fishpond.  So if he had been running into problem along the fishpond, he would tell me and my father, then my father would tell me, and I would tell… [laughs] That’s why—I was there five years at the Heʻeia fishpond, so it was just like I never left the fishpond [mumbled]. (from when I was born?)

KELLEN:  So what did your father do?

FRED: My father?

KELLEN: Yeah.

FRED:  Oh… he… he didn’t… well. Because he moved from Japan, because he came to Honolulu and whatnot, and went to Big Island, and then he went to Maui, and from Maui he came to Kokokahi and the fishpond.  So he fished at the fishpond, had a small garden, he did well. Then… and I was a little kid, so I talked to my father and we always talked to each other. He used to take me fishing. Before I go to school, I was fishing with him, and he was like a—he would fish, trolling; I would keep four ʻopae in my hand, like this, in the water, alive. Fish bite on his line, pull ’em up, bite fish, pulling it up. Wait for the bait…

That was my kind of life…So as far as here, Waikalua Loko, it was… I just… I don’t know how come, I didn’t have a relationship, really.  It’s just that she [Ka‘ohua Lucas] was looking for people to work at Waikalua Loko and it was just at the time I had retired from the Department [of] Education.

I was ready, so the one thing is because of my background of having lived on the fishpond (???) ’cause I love fishing…As she was recruiting workers for Waikalua, she didn’t have to sell me.  I was ready to come and I don’t know, really, I just came in. The more I saw things that needed to be done, I’d just go ahead and do it.  Nobody else was telling me, “repair fishpond walls,” uh, “catching the pua, mullet pua, to restock the pond,” things like that. Nobody was telling me, but basically, I lived like having lived on the fishpond all the time, y’know, so I just naturally saw “oh, this should be done” and I would do it.  

That’s why, even that—putting up the Kū stone, I thought about it afterwards—I never told anyone that was working around me about the Kū stone.  It never occurred to me—I was doing it by myself! And that… stone was lying down, looking at me. “Put ’em up, put ’em up,” I hearing, I feel someone’s watching me.

Somebody was… somebody was watching the place, because people came nighttime to take limu from the fishpond, but they abandoned— they left their boat, loaded with limu, and they had bags full with limu and everything, ready to take it away. But also they left all the bags, plastic bags, ropes, scoop nets, like   that. They left all those things and they just left from the places. They got frightened, someone scared them away.  I know the guys who— I know who came because I know the boat, the skiff that had—I know I saw equipped with that.  They were coming daytime, with permission, ’cause they said they were gonna…use the limu to fertilize their farm in Kahuku.  So I told them, “that’s a good thing to do! Yeah, come, come!”  ’cause we want to get rid of the limu. They wanted limu, so I figured there was a good relationship there, but those guys were lying, so that’s why they resorted to come and get it themselves.  So I told them, “you folks wanna come back again, every time you guys come out, 200 dollars.” [chuckle]  They didn’t come. 

KELLEN: What’s your earliest memories of Waikalua?

FRED: Early one is the thing I was telling, that as a kid going to school, and Papa driving us down to the pier and picking us up, and on days that was windy, we would have to walk, so Papa would be waiting for us.  So we’d get back up and we’d cross the Kāneʻohe stream, walk up this way, and either walk on the outside (makai) or mauka.  

WILLIS: You didn’t have cell phones, yeah, otherwise he could call you, “oh, you gotta walk home today!”

FRED: [laughs] No cell phones. But, uh, that’s how we at least getting familiar with the place was through that, and of course a big part of it was Mr. Nakamura living in that shack over there, up there, and he having gum and candy for us every time, and a smile. He was always smiling.  He would come out, talk with us, give us candy. 

WILLIS: …Mr. Nakamura’s shack, by the YWCA?

FRED: No, on the second mākāhā—

WILLIS: Oh!

FRED: —on the fishpond wall.

WILLIS: Oh yeah?

FRED: Yeah.

WILLIS: Oh.

FRED: So…

WILLIS: OK.

FRED: And good fun, go walking together, and I think the older brothers and stuff—I think they were… they were nice to us.  Y’know, sometimes we were together, walk us home.  So, and we’d come over here, and “oh, which way we going today?  This way, or this way…?”  “No, we go this way,” we go this way, so look all over, what’s over here. Get the mākāhā over here, get all familiar, all the way, so… The time… I guess our relationship with Waikalua is an opportunity time when I was… after working at Heʻeia, I went to college, and after retiring from the Department, I was free and she was recruiting. She can recruit me anytime! 

WILLIS: [laughs]

FRED: No, but, I was sold before I walked in there! [laughs]

WILLIS: Was Fred involved with the Kāhea Loko? [Project Kāhea Loko, “The call of the pond”  ] [A Teacher’s Guide to Hawaiian Fishponds, Grades 4 – 12, a curriculum produced by the Pacific American Foundation]

KAOHUA: Yeah—

WILLIS: When was that?

KAOHUA: That was 2000, 2001, maybe, we finished it? But we had finished it and then we were trying to get trainers, yeah? Docents for the fishpond?  And we did a training, so it must have been about 2001, I would say— 

WILLIS: OK.

KAOHUA: —that we did our training.  

WILLIS: And then you folks went to the Big Island? 

KAOHUA: Yeah, we did a whole bunch—yeah, then we went holoholo ’cause then Kāhea Loko, we were doing it for specific ahupuaʻa. It wasn’t just Kāneʻohe; we were using that as the template for other ʻāina on neighbor islands, yeah. 

WILLIS: What was.. well, Iʻve.. too many of my own personal que – OK!  Whatʻs the next question you had?

KELLEN: Well… [background rustling]

FRED: What’s the loko iʻa? What the term?

KELLEN: That’s “fishpond.”

FRED: Loko iʻa?

WILLIS: Loko iʻa! Yeah, that’s the fishpond, fishpond, Hawaiian term for “fishpond.” 

KELLEN: “Iʻa” is “fish,” yeah?

FRED: Oh, not just this fishpond, yeah? Not just this fishpond, but this is about—

WILLIS: Just “fishpond” in general, I think— 

KELLEN: Yeah, yeah, that’s the, yeah, this is Waikalua, and then “loko iʻa” is “fishpond.”  “Loko,” I think, is “pond,”  yeah, and then “iʻa” is “fish.”   

WILLIS: “…iʻa” is “fish.”   Well, you remember—you remember your time at your parents’ fishpond?

FRED: Mm-hmm.

WILLIS: You used to have— you used to spearfish, right?

FRED: Yup! Yeah.

KELLEN: So when did you get involved with the Preservation Society?

WILLIS: Oh, the Waikalua Loko Fishpond Preservation Society? When did you get involved with that? Almost when you came, yeah?

KAOHUA: I would say 2001.

KELLEN: 2001.

WILLIS: 2001, yeah.

KELLEN: What was your role within the Society? Like, how did you contribute?

FRED: Hard to say.

KAOHUA: I will say. [laughs]

FRED: Big change was when you left.

KAOHUA: Yeah!

WILLIS: So what was your position in the Society?

FRED: I was doing my own thing. You know, basically, I would see things that needed to be done, I’d go do it. Yeah.

WILLIS: He was like a groundskeeper, you know? I also remember him serving as a docent, yeah? I remember you cut through the back side and you made the trail, ’cause I helped you on that one. The last few feet, I helped you during the last few feet—maybe the last ten feet. You did all the rest!  

FRED: I mean, it needed to be done! That’s it. 

WILLIS: Yeah, that was a good idea!

FRED: I had a student, though, that summer— 

WILLIS: Yeah, yeah.

FRED: Yeah.

WILLIS: OK, so… yeah, you know you cannot be part of the fishpond without having to address the recovery part of the fishpond, you know, the physical part of the fishpond? The weeds and the trees and the invasive species, yeah? Like I was saying to the group, I couldn’t keep up with him and he was 80 at the time!  

KELLEN: So that’s, like.. all after 2001 or so, yeah?

WILLIS: Yeah.

KAOHUA: Uh-huh.

WILLIS: Well, I came here in 2006.

KELLEN: …It’s after that.

WILLIS: Now, first day is when I met Kaohua(?), when I first came… I think Sheila [Cyboron] told me, “oh, go see Kaohua,” y’know?  Anyway…

KAOHUA: The rest is history.  [collective laughter]

WILLIS: Yeah, and the rest was history. And I heard he was here already, Fred was already here.  

KELLEN: So, um…

WILLIS: Go ahead.

KELLEN: I was going to say, what can you tell us about what the area was like in ancient times? Do you know any of that? Can you share any stories about that?  

FRED: I don’t know, hard to answer that question because…

WILLIS: Well, there was no mangrove, right? Did you see mangrove in your childhood days?

FRED: Mm?

WILLIS: You saw mangrove?

FRED: No.

WILLIS: No, eh?

FRED: We saw the roots, the seeds when the wind was blowing this way.  

WILLIS: You would see the mangrove?

FRED: Leaves. The—the—

WILLIS: Oh, the pods?

FRED: Pods.

WILLIS: But it wasn’t growing in the pond, right?

FRED: No, it wasn’t.

WILLIS: Yeah, so…

FRED: It was all gone.

WILLIS: What else you remember about the fishpond?

FRED: Of this one?

WILLIS: Yeah. Well, any fishpond in the early days. In the early days, what did you see or notice about the fishpond that maybe you don’t see today?

FRED: Well, on that corner, they had a shack in the fishpond with a… They had a walkway, a bridge—

KELLEN: Pier, or—?

FRED: Yeah, and I could see that there were… The bridge, the walkway, was made so that they could dry fishnets, ’cause they were catching the fish over there because there was a mākāhā at that corner. There was (???) for the Kawa stream, was flowing…

WILLIS: Flowing into the pond.

FRED: …flowing into the pond.  And that… they should bring back, not only because bringing fresh water, but also the way the mākāhā was made, the level was high—the Kawa stream is higher, so they made it so that the water would run down—

WILLIS: Into the pond?

FRED: [coughs] Yeah. Aerate the pond. And that’s important.

WILLIS: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

FRED: Yeah.

WILLIS: Yeah.

KELLEN: To aerate the water in

the—where it meets?

FRED: Yeah.

WILLIS: Fishpond.

FRED: Yeah, because, you see, most of the prevailing winds is this way, right? All this way? I don’t know, they didn’t have, I think, the kind of… I don’t know, air in the… in the fishpond as they should have.

WILLIS: Right now, it’s a dead corner. Yeah? Is that—

FRED: That’s a dead corner.  Right now, it’s terrible.  So I said, I told them, “if you gon’ put back fish, eh, you make it so that the water won’t… come down something so that— 

WILLIS: —so that it won’t go downhill—

FRED: —so that they take oxygen and mix it with the water. 

WILLIS: Yeah, yeah. Good idea. Yeah.

FRED: “Loko iʻa” was ’cause the fishpond…

WILLIS: Yeah, it’s “fishpond,” “loko iʻa.”

KELLEN: Mm-hmm.

WILLIS: When was the loko iʻa constructed?

FRED: Well, I think that was the one would be different, the way the water came through that… place over there… That meant the others were in place. 

KELLEN: Is there anything unique to this pond?

FRED: What was that?

KELLEN: Is there anything unique to this pond, compared to, like, Heʻeia, or—?

FRED: Yeah. Yeah. There isn’t one like that at Heʻeia, but I read about it, and the guy who wrote… fishpond at Kualoa… But he even used to run his motorboat in there to churn the water, to, you know—

KELLEN: To give it the oxygen?

WILLIS: But you know, he just said today that this fishpond was bigger, because you said that was the west side of the pond, that wall, on the other side of that stream, right?

FRED: What’s that?

WILLIS: You know, this fishpond was bigger, right?

FRED: Yeah. Well, this wasn’t— the water—I mean, the dirt here wasn’t here. This was fishpond!  Fishpond wall was along the outside—

WILLIS: Yeah, where—

FRED: —river.

WILLIS: —where was that wall?

FRED: Right there, I think it’s over there.

WILLIS: Right by the edge of this…

KAOHUA: This one here.

WILLIS: … this stream? Yeah.

FRED: Yeah.

WILLIS: Or the other side of that stream?

FRED: That’s… the fishpond was on this side; where this side is right now, that was a wall.

KAOHUA: Right where the coconut tree is, the little coconut tree.

FRED: Yeah.

WILLIS: OK, yeah, yeah, by that coconut tree, then.

FRED: Yeah, something like that.

KAOHUA: Yeah?

FRED: Maybe not exactly like that, but there was that wall, fishpond wall, on this side, and this was all fishpond.

WILLIS: OK, that’s interesting.

FRED: Sea wall, restoration of the sea wall and all? Yeah?

WILLIS: Where are you reading?

KELLEN: Willis, I think he’s in this area.

WILLIS: Mm-hmm.

FRED: The sluice gate, that’s what we’re talking about, and the corner, where the water was coming down, yeah? And the mākāhā at that corner.

WILLIS: Yeah.

FRED: Yeah.

KELLEN: …and you mentioned that you saw…

FRED: And the Kū and the Hina stones, yeah.

WILLIS: Yeah.

FRED: I think… you saw the write-up about the Kū stone?  Did you see that write-up?

KELLEN: No, no.

FRED: I can send you one, or…

KELLEN: OK.

(??? to 22:59/1379)

FRED: There’s no way to translate(?) it, but I could send you that.

KELLEN: Yeah, that’d be cool.

FRED: Then give me your email address… 

KELLEN: Yeah.

FRED: Yeah.

KELLEN: Cool. What types of fish, what species of fish were in the pond, do you recall?

FRED: Huh?

KELLEN: Oh? What ty—what species of fish do you—were in the pond?

FRED: The fish?

WILLIS: Yeah, what kind of fish—

KELLEN: —what kind—

WILLIS: —were in the pond?

FRED: I don’t think there was any too different, but they definitely had lots of mullet.

KELLEN: (Mullet.)

WILLIS: Didn’t have tilapia in your day.

FRED: Tilapia, oh no. We had (?)  …no.

WILLIS: No have, yeah?

FRED: They came later on.

WILLIS: Came later.

FRED: Yeah. Yeah.

WILLIS: Yeah. That was bad news, though, the tilapia.

FRED: Yeah. Yeah, usually the kind of fish would be the mullet, awaʻawa… (?)…

WILLIS: Papio.

FRED: Papio.

WILLIS: Barracuda?

FRED: Yeah. The barracuda, that kind, they never put it in. It came through…

WILLIS: Maybe coming in through—

FRED: …every time.

WILLIS: Yeah.

FRED: Yeah.

WILLIS: Yeah. You know, that’s one fish you can be sure came through the mākāhā… on its own power.

KAOHUA: Barracuda?

WILLIS: Barracuda.

FRED: Yeah…

WILLIS: Do you… this is off the topic, but—

FRED: Huh?

WILLIS: You know, you used to talk about how you can catch barracuda by making a funnel?

FRED: Yeah.

WILLIS: I heard there was one, (1500) outside of the pond…by a resident.

FRED: Oh.

WILLIS: There used to be a funnel outside. The funnel was made with fencing, and the barracuda would swim and get into the net, and then there would be a small pocket.

KELLEN: Mm-hmm.

WILLIS: And that’s how you catch the barracuda, you go to the pocket, scoop ’em up.

KELLEN: It’s in there, yeah? Yeah.

WILLIS: But anyway, it’s not here or there, just outside the pond.

KELLEN: So, what contribution are you most proud of with the work you’ve done with the—for the fishpond?

FRED: …Isn’t much change. 

WILLIS: No… what were your biggest contribution… your achievement here at the fishpond?

KELLEN: That you’re most proud of, or, you know…

WILLIS: That you’re most proud of?  …Well, Fred, you had the Kū stone? You found the Kū stone. 

KAOHUA: Mm-hmm.

FRED: I found the Kū stone.

WILLIS: Yeah!

FRED: Hina stone.

KELLEN: Mm-hmm.

FRED: Yeah, that time I found the Kū stone was so strange because I never told anybody.

KELLEN: Mm-hmm.

FRED: I just went ahead and prepared the things I needed to make a woman all da kine. Always a fish…

WILLIS: You remember the year?  The year you found the Kū stone?

FRED: When I did that?

WILLIS: Yeah. Yeah, you said your daughter helped you.  How old was she?

FRED: My daughter?  Granddaughter? I have two, so… I don’t know how we gonna figure that out, yeah?  No, there’s a couple, so could have all been, but… 

WILLIS: Also, you made the backside trail. You opened up the backside; it was all bushes!  

FRED: Oh, yeah, that was… One summer, I had this student.

WILLIS: Student helper, yeah?

FRED: Yeah… The father was friends. Heh.  He was a dentist.  But anyway, he said—oh! His son was high school age, so for the summer, could I have him come over and work with me, have something to do kind of a thing.  So he and I cleaned the backside trail. He worked hard….and we found ʻopae, that big ʻopae.

WILLIS: The prawns? Some kind of prawn? Mountain ʻopae or what?

FRED: Eh?

WILLIS: What kind of ʻopae?

FRED: Big kine ʻopae.

WILLIS: Oh…

KELLEN: Big one.

WILLIS: In the stream?

FRED: No, no, out by that side.  Outside.

KELLEN: Outside the walls.

WILLIS: Ooh, outside?

FRED: Outside of one (?).

WILLIS: Right outside is Kawa Stream!

FRED: No, no, no. Outside.

WILLIS: Oh! I know what you—You talking about that mantis—the mantis shrimp.

FRED: Mantis shrimp?

WILLIS: Yeah. They make holes, yeah? The burrows…

FRED: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

WILLIS: OK. That was the mantis—

FRED: There was plenty outside there. We would try catching that… [rain begins to fall] and he took some home.  The father called me up, all “Hey! That thing ʻono like hell!”

EVERYONE: [laughs]

FRED: No. No big deal, but…

WILLIS: Yeah, that was… He had a unique way of catching that.

KELLEN: Mm-hmm.

FRED: Yeah.

KELLEN: It’s starting to rain…So why do you think preserving the fishpond is important?

FRED: Huh?

KELLEN: Oh. Why do you think preserving the fishpond is important for the community?

FRED: Well. Right now…It’s not much, except… You say, well, this is what you had before.  Yeah? It was a way of living for some people. Now… kinda hard, yeah?

WILLIS: Well, helps for education. For children.

FRED: Education. Yeah.  But as far as education of the fishpond is for the kids..Kaohua was… Kaohua folks worked on something here.

WILLIS: Yeah, yeah? The Kahea Loko? The Kahea Loko.

FRED: Yeah.

WILLIS: The curriculum.

FRED: Yeah…

WILLIS: I think it was, because of the time, it was…The curriculum was designed for the fishpond, and any fishpond.  You know, the idea is to teach the community how the fishpond is built, how does it work, the parts of it, and all… It’s all in there.

KELLEN: Were you involved in developing the curriculum?

FRED: No.

KELLEN: But you would help?  When the students would come, you would help with the tours and stuff, yeah?

FRED: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

KELLEN: Teaching and stuff.

FRED: Yeah. Not much, yeah.  

WILLIS: Well, he had a station, you know? Each of us had a station.

KELLEN: Uh-huh.

WILLIS: And the students would go round robin from one station to the next.

KELLEN: Uh-huh.

WILLIS: Yeah.

KELLEN: And what station was yours? What did you teach?

FRED: I was actually down on makai side. I was second mākāhā someplace.

WILLIS: Mm-hmm.

FRED: Yeah.  Something funny occurred, I forgot what… but we would talk about the tidal movement, how it usually depends with the moon, and the connection with the moon influencing the movement of the water and that kind of thing with… talk to them about that.

WILLIS: You also told us the legend of Kū, yeah? The Kū legend; you also had—

FRED: Yeah.

WILLIS: —that one station where you talked about the Kū stone.

KELLEN: Mm-hmm.

WILLIS: Yeah, so based on all…

FRED: Yeah, that’s…

WILLIS: Hawaiian legends—

FRED: It comes out.

WILLIS: It’s online, by the way.

Actually, there are about three websites that talk about the Kū stone, the legend of Kuʻula-kai, named after the Hawaiian god.

FRED: Yeah.

KELLEN: Mm-hmm.

WILLIS: For some teachers, they teach Hawaiiana.

KELLEN: Mm-hmm.

WILLIS: That really is important, you know?  Hawaiians were polytheistic.

KELLEN: Mm-hmm.

WILLIS: If you say they’re “paganistic,” oh, they get offended.

KELLEN: Mm-hmm.

WILLIS: If you say “polytheistic?” Eh, nicer way of saying they believed in many gods.

KELLEN: Yeah.

WILLIS: You know.

KELLEN: Mm-hmm.

WILLIS: Of course, it’s not insulting because the Romans and the Greeks were all polytheistic.

KELLEN: Yeah, there’s nothing wrong with that.

WILLIS: But, hey! You know…

KELLEN: Those are the old gods, too. They go back.

WILLIS: I suspect, you know, that the Heʻeia fishpond…?

KELLEN: Mm-hmm?

WILLIS: Their Christian religious orientation…

KELLEN: Oh, yeah?

WILLIS: …is the reason they won’t put up the Kū stone.

KELLEN: Yeah, it’s a shame.

WILLIS: It’s actually a violation of the Ten Commandments, one of the Ten Commandments. You cannot…

KELLEN: False, like…

WILLIS: Yeah, you cannot…

KELLEN: …idols?

WILLIS: …worship to any other idol, pay homage to any other idol.

KELLEN: Yeah, I guess that makes sense for them.

WILLIS: Yeah.

KELLEN: That’s their beliefs, yeah?

WILLIS: Yeah.

FRED: We never had a keiki pond over here, yeah?

WILLIS: Yeah, we had one in the corner!

FRED: Where in the corner?

WILLIS: That—the “Kianai!”  The Kia—Keana!

KELLEN: Keana, yeah?

WILLIS: Keana Pond! Yeah.

FRED: Way in the corner, yeah?

WILLIS: Yeah. But like I was saying, eh, Fred, I don’t think it’s a keiki pond.  I think it’s a trap, fish trap.  They used that to catch fish, because the wall is only about this high.

FRED: Yeah.

WILLIS: So when the high tide goes up over the rocks, all the pua goes into that keiki pond.

FRED: [murmur of assent]

KELLEN: So what would you like to see for the future of the pond?  Like, you know, preservation, restoration, that type of things?

FRED: I dunno.  We have time for that?

WILLIS: [laughs]

FRED: I don’t know. You tried the oysters?

WILLIS: Oh, growing oysters?

FRED: You were trying to raise ’em, no?

WILLIS: Oyster? I tried one time. It didn’t… Well, it worked, but it didn’t grow. Didn’t grow. I mean, it just stayed alive, but…

KELLEN: Mm-hmm.

FRED: You know you had the box or something…

WILLIS: Yeah, I had a box.

FRED: …had oysters inside.

WILLIS: I had a cage, plastic cage.

FRED: You saw the big oyster in there?

WILLIS: Yeah, yeah. But it didn’t grow. I mean, it stays…

FRED: No, it—

WILLIS: …stays that size, I went measure—

FRED: I brought it in.  I brought it in… [laughs]

WILLIS: Oh, yeah, YOU brought it in! You—you—

FRED: From the outside! You get [inaudible] oysters, and also there’s a big one, like—

WILLIS: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

FRED: [inaudible] put ’em inside! [laughter]

FRED: But… yeah, we could have done more of that kind of thing, yeah? But we got busy somehow.

WILLIS: Yeah, that…

KELLEN: Like trying to raise more things like the fish pens and the limu and stuff?  The tanks—

WILLIS: Yeah.

KELLEN: That type of work?

WILLIS: Yeah, yeah. Ogo.  Actually, I would like to see that too.

KELLEN: Like more of the raising of the fish and…

WILLIS: Different cultures of fish. Different cultures, you know…In fact, you can grow… you can raise sharks if you wanted!  

KELLEN: Mm-hmm.

WILLIS: Really! You can, you know? But nobody would go in the pond, though—

[KELLEN and WILLIS laugh]

WILLIS: —if you raise sharks.  But you can, and you can sell ’em.  But… now turtles are protected.  You can’t do that.  But yeah, you can raise different kinds of things in there. There’s Samoan crabs.  This is ideal; for Samoan crabs, you can make a lot of money growing Samoan crabs, yeah?

FRED: Well, you did a study of that. Did you get information about—for the Philippines or the… someplace?

WILLIS: Yup, yup. Yeah, the Philippines are ahead of us as far as Samoan crab culture goes. They cannot meet the demands of the marketplace. But funny, that crab was imported just for that reason, to begin, start up a culture for…

KELLEN: Out here?

WILLIS Yeah, out in Hawaiʻi. But it… [sigh] As I understand it, though, it was a matter of timing. They brought in the Samoan crab, but the cost was feed.

KELLEN: Mm-hmm.

WILLIS: The best feed was live fish. It was costly to go hire somebody to collect live fish, but that was before tilapia.  Now that we have tilapia, it’s no cost, almost, to feed the Samoan crab.

KELLEN: They’re already in there?

WILLIS: It’s already in there, yeah.

KELLEN: And they just catch ’em themself?

WILLIS: The Filipinos now have a way of culturing Samoan crab, in the pond and even out of the pond. Like, in the pond, had folding cages about this size, you know. And that thing would—one cage, they would grow out completely in that one cage.  Now they have land-based growing. It’s in a room, and they’re in cages about maybe six to seven stories. All these plastic cages are piled one on top the other, and the water drips all the way down to the last cage. And then they recycle the water, and… Less labor costs and everything, you know?  You don’t really need a pond to use that method, but…

KELLEN: Then you gotta worry about the feeding it, yeah?  Catching or getting the…

WILLIS: Yeah.

KELLEN: …fish to feed them, yeah?

WILLIS: They’re also prolific.  One female can lay a million eggs. One female.

KELLEN: Is that over their life, or in one—

WILLIS: One season.

KELLEN: Yeah, wow.

WILLIS: Yeah, so…In the Philippines, they culture it. They spawn that thing in captivity, so survival rate is very high in captivity.  Yeah, I know Herb folks, they’re all looking for sources of income, yeah? They should try that. They should try Samoan crab. At Heʻeia, they catch it, but they won’t raise it. They have a policy not to raise anything that is non-native. You know, Samoan crab is non-native.  But they have a lot in their pond.  So what they’re doing is they’re selling it to the public. They sell everything they catch, you know?  

KELLEN: OK. So what can people do to help the fishpond and the Society, and…

WILLIS: What? Where is that question?

KELLEN: We’re all the way down here.

WILLIS: Oh, we’re over here, Fred. 

FRED: Mm.

WILLIS: “What can people do to help the volunteer efforts, like Lā ʻOhana workdays…”

KELLEN: I mean, this was just examples from Doug’s…

WILLIS: “…mangrove removal.”  Yeah, it’s all there.

FRED: Wall restoration.

WILLIS: “Wall restoration, docent training, music concerts?” Yeah. “Family fishing days?” That’s good, family fishing days!

FRED: Should we have family fishing days?

WILLIS: Yeah, we should have that.

FRED: Might be. Might be, yeah?

WILLIS: Oh, crabbing.

FRED: Crabbing.

WILLIS: Crabbing in there, yeah?  That’s always fun, that’s always fun, crabbing.

FRED: Hukilau.

KELLEN: Hukilau, yeah.

FRED: Hukilau we tried, eh? We tried—

WILLIS: Hukilau? Didn’t—we tried the hukilau. But the problem was we only caught puwalu and tilapia.

FRED: Yeah? Like hukilau, I think, there would be a place for that.

WILLIS: Mm-hmm. I know we did that with Pūʻōhala Elementary School. You know Pūʻōhala Elementary School? We did that.

FRED: Yeah.

WILLIS: And you helped us with the net.

FRED: Yeah.

WILLIS: Fred has a net, you know. Long net. We did the hukilau, which is the Hawaiian style. You know, you have rope, and you tie—was ti leaf, yeah?  Put ti leaf on the rope, yeah, and then…

FRED: (??) But we didn’t have time to train the crew.

WILLIS: Oh.

FRED: You put the ti leaf on top the rope, yeah?

WILLIS: Yeah.

FRED: They’re pulling it and it’s above the water. [laughs]  I got disgusted! That one, we had to try with just the crew, nobody else, make sure they do the right way, ’cause then… 

WILLIS: Yup.

FRED: [scoff] That was…

WILLIS: Then, what we did was we did the hukilau with this long rope, and we pulled that thing across the pond, and at one end, we put the gill net. So we brought everything to the gill net. Now the gill net went straight out from the wall, from the koa pod going straight out, so… It’s all a matter of just swinging the rope around.

FRED: Yeah

[Transcription by Shayla (Shel) Sunada, Student Assistant Transcriber]