Docents Group part 2.
Fred Takebayashi, Willis Motooka, and Ka‘ohua Lucas 

Title: Interview with the Docents (Fred Takebayashi, Willis Motooka, and Ka‘ohua Lucas), Part 2”
Date of Interview: October 27, 2021
Location: Waikalua Loko Iʻa, Kāneʻohe, Oʻahu
Format: color video  .mov
Duration: 0:48:02
Description: This panel recounts the preservation efforts of docents and the development of the pond as an outdoor classroom:

Fred Takebayshi recalls his childhood at the pond;
Beginning of Kahea Loko Training for curriculum;
Story of Kūʻula-kai fishpond builders;
Restoring the Kū Stone and Hina Stone;
Message to Future Generations;
Preservation Work, Kūpuna Were Innovators;
Looking Ahead to Global Climate Change;
Wish List of Improvements.

Interviewee(s): Fred Takebayashi, Willis Motooka, and Ka‘ohua Lucas
Interviewer: Herb Lee, Jr.
Transcriber: Kauilaokahekiliokalani Freitas-Pratt and Doug Knight
Languages: English
Subjects: Kūʻula-kai, and son, ʻAiʻai. Mr. Nakamura, Nagamatsu family, Kū stone, Hina stone, Other stone with piko holes, gorilla ogo, maiau, making salt, ‘ama‘ama
Rights Statement: Copyright: © 2022 Pacific American Foundation. All rights reserved.  This work is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are permitted to use this video for research purposes with proper credit, citation, within reservations of Pacific American Foundation.
Grant Recognition: This interview was made possible with grants from the Hawai‘i Council for the Humanities through support of federal funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities and private funds from The Hana Group.

Introductions 00:00:00.100 –> 00:00:40.200 

HERB: Aloha! Weʻre here again at Waikalua Loko Iʻa, our beloved fishpond that weʻve all had a connection with and we’re very happy today to have again Kaʻohua Lucas, Willis Motooka, and our senior kupuna, Uncle Fred Takabayashi, who has some wonderful stories and probably goes back the  furthest of any of us in terms of a physical connection to this place.  So, Uncle Fred, do you wanna- kinda share with us some of your stories about your some of your first connections to Waikalua, and then maybe a little bit about you know your reconnection with us years? Go ahead…


Fred Takebayshi Recalls His Kid Days at the Pond  00:00:40.200 –> 00:07:12.600

FRED: Well, uh, to put something- I was born- I was the firstborn, up this way.  I was born, actually, I was the firstborn. And the first time I came to to know Waikalua Fishpond was when I started school, because my dad used to drive us from our place to the beach park over there. We used to walk up to the school during the day and, often times, to go back. If the weather was bad, like windy, weʻd have to backtrack and walk, and come on down, cross the stream over there, walk by the fishpond back here, you know the mauka side, or the makai side as a kid, because I had two brothers and a sister I had with me, so… It was a big- was a group of, what, 13 children that were together and we’d experience being here… So, it was like coming down, and then the fishpond bank here on the makai- the bank went all the way over there, and this was actually the pond itself. This was filled in later on.  So that’s a little bit different. But we- 

WILLIS: Uh, Fred, before you go any further-

FRED: Huh? 

WILLIS: -can you tell me how your father brought you to this area? 

FRED: My [father]- 

HERB: So, it wasn’t- 

HERB: He wasn’t driving, when he say ‘driving,’ it wasn’t a car, it was a- 

FRED: Boat. 

HERB: -a boat. 

WILLIS: Oh! Okay… 

FRED: You cannot ride that boat, you walk. Then you walk the bank here. 

WILLIS: Okay…  

FRED: So, there would be about 13 of us kids, schoolkids, so coming home it was- we’d walk come across the stream, on the bank over there, and come walk up this way, and then we kept to that the corner there, it was decided “Well, we go this way, or that way. We go that way, or this way.” And when they was split, but, you know, we would go… And that side was the mauka side, and we would walk there, on the bank, and all the way around and up to the corner on this end and then walk to the next abandoned fishpond just over there, it’s still there, and then walk all the way home. And that happened often times, that- It was like a natural [indiscernible]. 

HERB: What would- What- What year would you estimate that would be? Like what year?

FRED: It would be…huh. I don’t know if our… 

WILLIS: It was before the war? 

FRED: Huh? 

WILLIS: It was before the war. Yeah?

FRED: Oh, yeah, yeah! 

HERB: Which war? *WILLIS & HERB laughs* 

WILLIS: 1941. 

KAʻOHUA: Mhm. 

HERB: So- 

WILLIS: World War II. 1941. 

FRED: Okay, I gotta figure it out.  I was born in 1927. Started school when I was six years old, so add six to- 

HERB: That’s 1933. You were six years-old in 1933. 

FRED: Yeah… That’s the first number.  

FRED: But my brothers preceded me, as far as going to school. 

HERB: Yeah… So it’d be the 30s, then. 

FRED: Yeah… In the 30s, right… And it was always an experience, cuz, you know, if we walk that way, we would come across- there’d be a mākāhā over there, you could the water coming in.  Then we’d get further over, they could see the water coming from the corner over there. 

HERB: From Kawa Stream? 

FRED: Yeah, from the Kawa Stream. And then we would walk up this way, then back the shoreline all the way to. But all the days we go this way, we would be walking out there, cuz that’s where the bank was, you know? The fishpond back was way back there. This was all fishpond bank. This is fishpond. 

HERB: This- 

FRED: Water. This was water. 

WILLIS: So Kaneohe Stream wasn’t there… 

FRED: Yeah. Way over there, so we walked this way. And, there would be all the mākāhās that you see here were there at that time, too.  So it was fun. We would look in there and see fishes and things like that. And, um- there was a shack halfway up, by- past the second mākāhā, where Mr. Nakamura was living, was working with the fishpond. And for us, it was a big thing because he was always have candy or gum, something going for us.  And he would greet us, and he was always smiling. And he would greet us, uh, talk to us. We stopped a little while [on] our walk.  But… It was always a good, fun thing because that- everyone was together, you know? Yes… So that was…way back when. 

WILLIS: Was Mr. Nakamura a fishpond operator? 

FRED: No. He- He was working at the fishpond. 

WILLIS: Oh, I see. 

FRED: The fishpond was run by the Nagamatsu family, and they lived right where- over there. 

HERB: That- The old house?

FRED: Yeah… 

HERB: Nagamatsu? 

FRED: Huh? 

HERB & FRED: Nagamatsu. 

FRED: Nagamatsu. And they ran the fishpond. Yeah… 


Beginning of Kahea Loko Training for Curriculum 00:07:12.600 –> 00:11:00.900

FRED: So, that was beginning of my knowing them and, much later, much, much later, after all those years, she recruited us to work at the fishpond. 

HERB: Kaʻohua? 

FRED: Kaʻohua. She- She was a best-seller. *KAʻOHUA laughs* 

FRED: But, that was sold already. I was a- I had graduated and all that. And I- I had retired, so it was ’86  

and, before, she asked for volunteers to come and work here.  I was standing in line. I’m the first guy. I wanted to be here. You know, I honestly wanted to be here, and I got here. And I think the records will show that once I got onboard, I think I caught about five days a week, after the- 

KAʻOHUA: Yeah… 

HERB: What year was that? Roughly, Kaʻohua? 

FRED: Well, somewhere after ’86. 

KAʻOHUA: When we did the first Kāhea Loko training, I remember, it was  in the 2000? 2001? 

HERB: So… We started 2000, so maybe 2001 or [2002] then? 

KAʻOHUA: Yeah. And the story actually is that he came with all these other- There were like 10 people there, and everybody that was there wanted to learn about the fishpond.  And he [Fred] didnʻt say a word. I didn’t- We- I just a knew a kupuna was in our group. I felt really fortunate that Uncle Fred was there, but everybody else was trying to gain information.  Uncle Fred just sat there very silently, and little by little, as the day progressed, typical kupuna, “Oh yeah, I used- I used to live on a fishpond.”  “Oh yeah, my father sold the fish. Oh yeah-” So he starts telling us these stories about him and your family, right, that managed and operated the fishpond over here.  Mahi- Mahinui? What was the name of the fishpond that you lived on? 

HERB: Mikiola?

KAʻOHUA: Mikiola! Mikiola, yeah. Mikiola.  And so he started telling us these stories and it was- to me it was so profound.  And out of all ten people, he was the only one that came to volunteer and help. And it was- that was, to me, the most amazing thing, is that I learned a lot. First of all, that kūpuna, they might not say a lot, but they know a lot, so that was- that was- that was amazing, and I really appreciated Uncle Fred, who recruited Willis. 

WILLIS: Yup! That’s right. She was here when I came. 

KAʻOHUA: Yup, yup. 

WILLIS: She told me where to stand and what to say. *ALL laugh* 

WILLIS: And things of that nature.  

KAʻOHUA: Oh, I just enjoyed being with them. They were- They were so good, and they knew so much, and I learned so much being with them.  And it was really, yeah, it was a special time for us, and we got to eat afterwards.  Sometimes, we bring food and eat, and- Yeah, it was really nice connecting, you know?  This place, and with them. Yeah… 

FRED: Yeah, so from the time I started coming here, it was just like, this was my place, you know?  This my other home that I would see something, and I would go and do this, do that, you know?  Of course, with- if there’s an organized workday, then I would be with everybody, but I would come here five days a week, and then I would say “Oh, this needs done. I’ll do it.”  

Story of Kūʻula-kai, and son, ʻAiʻai, fishpond builders

00:11:00.900 –> 00:13:12.200

FRED: That’s the time I [would]… Well, not right away, but… I came across the ledgers of Kūʻula-kai, and I read them, and it said “Oh” and how Kūʻula-kai made the first fishponds in Maui and it was successful.  And all the different people in the different ahupuaʻas wanted him to come and build fishponds, which his son ʻAiʻai took over. And built fishponds for different people in the ahupuaʻa… And they’re not the only- did Maui, Lānaʻi, Molokaʻi *coughing* Excuse me… And… So, I got here and looked and this needs to be done?  Then I would’ve done it. And one of the things that I- *coughing* I’m sorry. One of the things that I started, personal stuff, since I read about Kūʻula-kai and how his son carried on helping the different people in different ahupuaʻas to build fishpond. “How can we-” They asked the son, ʻAiʻai,  “How can we show you our appreciation for you helping us with making a fishpond?”
And, ʻAiʻai is supposed to have answered such a thing: “Well, nothing for me, but if you will put up a stone on the east corner of the fishpond to honor my father, Kūʻula-kai, I’d be very happy.”

“Oh, put a stone?”  “We can do that.” All the people… And, so… That came about. 

Finding the Kū Stone and Hina Stone  00:13:12.200 –> 00:22:14.300

FRED:  And people all over have- Wherever he helped, but… Then, having read about Kūʻula-kai and ʻAiʻai, and making a- putting up a Kū stone, I figure “Hey, maybe I can find a Kū stone…” And there it was, in the mud.  A stone long shape, but lying on the mud outside the fishpond.  Said “Hey, look like something that’s handmade, you know, somebody worked on this stone by hand.” It was shaped, okay? So, I took a picture of it, sent it to Bishop Museum, and I asked “Could this be the kinda stone that was used by the people to show appreciation to Kūʻula-kai and his son? You know, to put up a stone for Kūʻula-kai?”  Bishop Museum said “Yes, definitely.” So, somehow, I- I got- I don’t know- I got captured by a- I don’t think I told anybody about it.  On my own, I made the things that I needed to pull, move the stone, and whatnot. And I would do it with whatever we had, so I was just about ready. And my daughter and her two daughters, her- She had a girlfriend that- the two daughters, too- Six of them came here and- They came often, but they came that one particular day, they said “Hey Grandpa,” and my [grandson]- granddaughter: “Papa, I came to help you. What can we do?” And without thinking anything, I said “Oh, how about moving a stone?” They don’t know any better. “Oh yeah, sure. We can move a stone.” So- Then I walked them over there, and they say “Where’s the stone?” I said “There’s the stone.” About 20 feet away, on the mud, long like that, I said “That’s the stone.” They told me “We can’t move that. We can’t…” I said “We can. We work together, we can.” 

 So I had already made the things out of netting and reinforced rope to put the stone onto. And I gave the rope to the ladies, and they would pull, I said “You pull. The stone will roll. So that rolled stone roll, roll, and then it came onto that fishpond wall.” “Grandpa, no. What? We can’t lift it up…”  “No, we can do it. I’ll be down. I’ll be helping from underneath.  You keep on pulling the weight.” So we pulled it up. Get it up. Stood it up on that fishpond wall, and in a little depression- I stood it up in a depression and I shook the stone, and it seemed to, like a mother hen settling down, settling right in there and it stood. And there it stood, like that. And, uh- Okay, [indiscernible] And the thing is, I never thought of telling Herb this is what I was doing, I didn’t tell Herb. Oh, I didn’t tell anybody.  I just went and done it. Selfish, but I never thought of anything. It’s just that I thought, I think it should be done, I’m gonna do it. 

And then- Ever since I stood the stone up and all that, from that day following, every time I come out here, I would take a bucket, coconut husk, and I would get salt water from the pond or from the Bay, go to the stone, and I would scrub the stone.  And as I’m scrubbing the stone, I could feel like somebody’s watching me from one side.  I keep on going, then it’s watching me from here. I could feel the- And I don’t know how to explain it, just that somebody seemed to be watching me and I kept on doing that and I got that part finished and all that. Then the stone weighs too, but I need a third mākāhā on this side.  And about a week later, right inside of the fishpond by the third mākāhā, there’s a skiff loaded with limu on the bank, packages of plastic bags, and all kinds of things, like somebody would be working there, getting limu from the fishpond, bring a skiff, and they were going, and they had tied some of the limu in the plastic bag, they had it tied with rope, as though you would throw it into the bay, and pull it, 

and then go over there and go away with the- 

WILLIS: Fred, uh, I think I remember that time, and if I recall, there were poachers, right? The people behind that limu gathering were poachers… 

FRED: Yeah… They actually work at of- from- through this side. Cuz Herb told me they would use the limu for fertilizing the farm in Kahuku. 

WILLIS: Yeah, but they came in the middle of the night. Didn’t they?  

FRED: They came here in the middle of the- I don’t- At the beginning, it was coming daytime. 

WILLIS: Yeah, in the beginning. 

FRED: So, it was welcomed. You know, they go “Can we use this for fertilizer?” “Yeah, help yourself.” And they used to do that… 

HERB: That’s the gorilla ogo? 

FRED: Huh? 

HERB: Is that the gorilla ogo they were taking?

FRED: Yeah. *ALL agree* 

HERB: We had tons of it in those days. 

FRED: Yeah.  

HERB: So we were giving it to a lot of the farmers already, right? But, I remember, yeah, the issue was they didn’t ask for permission. 

WILLIS: Mhm, yeah. That’s what it was, I believe. 

HERB: Maybe, they- Uncle Fred gave them the blessing, so… You know, if they need it, they need ’em.  FRED: So, that was going on, but the- let’s see, where were we?  

HERB: So thanks for sharing that story about the Kū stone because that is really, really important, you know, in the history of the pond, and you know, we- When you found that stone, I believe it was, we were already into the second decade of actually restoring the pond. We were in, I think, somewhere between the twelfth and fifteenth year that we- And we always wondered where it was. We knew it was on the east side, but it’s very fitting to me that our most senior kupuna was the one that found it.  So, you were always meant to be the one to find it, I believe. 

FRED: Yeah… Cuz you folks came earlier. I came only in 1986, and after that. 

HERB: Yeah. 

FRED: So you folks were ahead of me. 

HERB: And if I recall correctly, you know, then the next stone would be the Hina stone, and I think that’s the one Willis found. Right? Didn’t you…? 

WILLIS: Well, I- 

HERB: We didn’t know if it was the Hina stone, but- 

WILLIS: Yeah, we couldn’t determine whether it was the Hina stone or not, but it had the shape, though, of the Hina stone, it just- 

HERB: But you’re the one who found that, right?  

WILLIS: Uh… Well, I don’t think it was the first one, first person, but I remember there was a flat stone, it was oval in shape with a lot of holes in it.  And I read from the internet that’s how the Hina stone appears. 

HERB: Right. 

WILLIS: And it’s- And it was in the southwest- east- west corner of the pond. 

HERB: So it was in the right place- 

WILLIS: It was in the right place, and the Kū stone would be on the northeast corner… 

HERB: I think Hina was found maybe couple years after Kū, right? You remember it that way?

WILLIS: A little longer than that, I think. Maybe five years. 

HERB: Okay, maybe five years.  

The Other Stone with Holes

00:22:14.300 –> 00:25:51.800

HERB: So, Uncle Fred, you know, in the time that you’ve been spending with us in the restoration of Waikalua, what are some of the things that stand out in your mind in terms of- you’re a former educator as well, principal, you know.  What are some of the things that stand out for you, as an educator, about the importance of the fishpond?  

FRED: I don’t know, I didn’t stop to think about it, really…  

HERB: Cuz you had many kids. You’ve seen many kids come through, you know, the fishpond over here. Workdays and- Anything- You think any importance of it or?  

FRED: Yeah, so I guess it was kinda- a kinda funny- cuz I was born and raised on the fishpond, so whatever I saw here, it didn’t seem new, you know what I mean?…. Or you work for it…That’s how I [started] doing it. And yes, we did find other stones, like at the corner over there.  There was a stone- the stone was a different kind of a stone. It was black, and it was almost in the fishpond. I said “We better get it up.” 

HERB: Yeah.  

FRED: Yeah, and I had it was a bunch of men working over there from- I don’t know where they were…

I said “Move it for me.” They came, they looked- they looked like they wanted to- “We’re not gonna move that stone.”  I said “Why?” “There’s something about it.” [I] said “What?” “There were square holes on the stone, so it’s something else.” I said “Okay.” And the next time the high school, Mid-Pacific High School, kids came, – So, I had a rope, “Hey kids,” “I’ve got a problem. I have this rope, I have the stone. You think you guys can move it up, onto the bank?” And there were the high school kids saying “Oh yeah, we can do it. We’ll put it up.” And then I look, there were the square holes on it, you know. 

And a little bit later, we had a community work, workers come here, and I was telling a person about finding a stone like that. They say “Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait.”   They said “Hey auntie, come here! Listen to Fred. Listen to him, tell him about it.” So I was telling him about- telling him about the stone, how it had the square corner, holes cut into it, and the lady said “Oh, what I think is- That was the stone where the mother- a child’s piko fell out.”  “She took the piko, and she put it in the square holes, and prayed for the well-being of the son, or the daughter, that she had.” Oh wow, you know… *ALL laugh* You never know what you’ll find. But that’s what was found over there… 

HERB: Awesome… 

FRED: So what? All in all, it was just like because I was born and raised on the fishpond, things get, like, natural. You know what I mean? I’ve seen it before kind of thing. 

HERB: Yeah. 

FRED: But,- 

HERB: That’s awesome.  

FRED: I’m glad I was here at the time I could’ve been elsewhere. 

Fred’s Message to Future Generations

00:25:51.800 –> 00:29:12.300

HERB: So, it feels- Think about this. So, one of the things, why we’re doing this today and filming all of this, is to record it for history.  So, part of the theme is we’re looking to the past to help chart our way forward. You know?  So a hundred years from now, when people are watching this, what message would you want to give the generations in the future about the value of fishponds, from your perspective?  You know, born and raised on a fishpond, and how is that going to help the generations of the future, you think? What message would you wanna share with them? 

FRED: Well, it’s kinda hard.  But, thinking of it from just my standpoint of born and raised on the fishpond, and how I feel to the fishpond, I’m sure there are other people who felt the same way. Yeah? And it preserves the fishpond in their way. I was here at that time, when was it… But we used to, I was gonna say, my father used to drive us, on a boat, 13 kids on it, he had a 23-foot skiff, and he would drive us down and- but the thing was, if it was very windy, or rainy, or high winds, we were not to wait for him to pick us up, we’d walk. And then we’d come- come to the corner of the fishpond over there, “Okay, which way we go? This way, or this way? Mauka, makai.” You know? And then “Oh, we went that way, but-” But they always preferred to go this way because Mr. Nakamura was up here, with gums and candy and- [big smiley was it?]. But, we used to go- So we knew where the ka mākāhās were and things like that.  But, you know, for me, it was just carrying on the kind of life that I was kinda used to as kid on the fishpond. Born to the fishpond. 

HERB: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But do you think it’s important for the next generations to also have the same feeling, like you, so that they continue to take care of it? 

FRED: Yeah. I think what- Richard- Remember like Kūʻula-kai, things like that, that people put up and worshipped.  How to feel towards the fishpond… It’s part of the life. We cannot do it just for money’s sake.  At least from my standpoint, anyway. 

HERB: Yeah. 

FRED: Yeah… 

HERB: Good… You guys have other thoughts that you wanna share or, you know, let you guys wanna ask Uncle Fred?  Cuz we all have different shared experiences over here, so…. 

Willis:  Preservation Work  00:29:12.300 –> 00:33:33.600

WILLIS: Well, you know, I learned a lot about the fishpond through Fred, you know.  And I was amazed at- When I came and worked with Fred, at the fishpond, it not only included serving as guide, or docents, for students visiting the fishpond, but we did a lot of maintenance work.  And… I was about 65 years old and Fred was over 80 and I couldn’t keep up with him. I could not keep up with him, in you know, cutting down to the mangrove and, you know, removing trash, and I was amazed at, you know, the shape he was in and, you know, I always wondered “Am I ever gonna be able to accomplish what he did when I reach 80?”  And I’m just about 80 now, and I hate to say it, but I’m not there. *ALL laugh*  I’m not at the point where he was at that age. 

HERB: I remember, he was- scolded us because when he saw the tools, you know, all of the hand-saws and everything, and you know, after we pau, we just kinda watch him, and heʻd put ʻem away, right?  

We don’t really- We never- We wasn’t really taking good care of them.  And then, Uncle Fred was over there with the oil and everything, you know, and making sure that, you know, it doesn’t rust and we go “Woah…” You know, that’s right, you know, but, you know…But so, I mean, just little things like that that he would pay attention to and just teach us how to do all of that again, and remind us that, you know,- I mean, we never had any money, so whatever money we did get, we could buy tools, but had to take care of it, you know? So…

KAʻOHUA: I think that brings me- like what you’re saying, I was just thinking of the word maiau.  And maiau is kind of, in- in Hawaiian, it just means, you know, whatever you do, you do your very, very, very best to make whatever it is that you’re doing, it’s the best that you can- that you can be, and so, it made me think- when I was thinking of Uncle Fred and all the tools, and, you know, you got fishing nets and buckets, and we had- we had a lot of equipment that had been donated, not much of it, but I think that’s what you taught a lot of us here is how- is how to take care of what you have. Because I think, and you know, back in my dad’s time, whatever- when you had something, you had to make sure that you took care of it, cuz you’re not gonna get that, you know. You’re not gonna get that again.  So you do your best to to- to malama that and I think that’s a really good value that many of us here learn from you, both of you folks, about how to take care of whatever we have and-and you know, even the teaching, teaching was another thing, you know? You’re going to do your best to share with the- the ʻike with the students and I think that kind of carried through for all of us.  I appreciate it. 

HERB: Yeah… 

KAʻOHUA: It’s a reminder. To everyone. 

HERB: Yeah. And there were many stories and stuff like that that Uncle Fred taught us.  I mean, you know, how to take care of the sleeping grass, you know, without using any herbicides or anything like that.  And I was going “Uncle Fred, what are you doing?” And he said “Oh yeah, I figured out, you know, we just use saltwater. And when we spray ’em, and they go away.” I go “Not…” *ALL chuckle* 

HERB: But he would call, and just say “Oh, can I come and spray the sleeping grass today?” I go “Go for it!” 

FRED: “I’ll be back…” 

HERB: Just little things like that and it was just fabulous.”  

Kūpuna Were Innovators  00:33:33.600 –> 00:37:16.600

KAʻOHUA: Well, we think about, you know, our kūpuna were innovators, right? I mean, to me, the fish pond is an innovation. They were amazing engineers. They understood the tides, they understood how the currents went and they designed the fish ponds to take- take advantage of the- of the land and I felt like the- Uncle Fred, he goes “Ay, guess what I did today.”  I’m like “What?” “I made salt!” I go “What?!” And so he had this whole setup, equipment. You remember making salt?  Hawaiian salt? You had one- You had a system setup. You remember, right? You had a system setup, and you showed me how you made salt, and I was like “Oh my gosh.”  It was so brilliant. *ALL laugh* 

HERB: You remember at the- *laughs* 

KAʻOHUA: I remember. I remember, it was pretty awesome. 

FRED: I’m older, so I forgot. *ALL laugh* 

WILLIS: The evaporation trays were just about here.  

KAʻOHUA: Right? They were right over here, that’s right. Yeah, yeah. That was pretty cool, so… Learned a lot. You were an innovator.  

HERB: Yeah… Wonderful. Wonderful thoughts and memories, and good values to, hopefully, inspire the next generation, would you say? 

KAʻOHUA: Definitely. 

WILLIS: Oh, yeah. Well, you know, I, myself, learned a lot about the fishpond by observing now, you know…. It- It- It might take years and thousands of hours, but this is what I think our ancient Hawaiians did. They observed a lot about the fish pond. They learned about the ecosystem. Of course, they may not have called it the ecosystem. And they observed the life cycle of living things, and they adapted their ways to take advantage, and being more in harmony with nature. And in that way, the fishpond came about.  You know… For example, they learned that the ʻamaʻama, that’s the mullet, for those of you not familiar, finds its way up the stream to spend part of its life cycle, so the Hawaiians must of- Kaʻohua mentioned that to me early on, when I visited here, that they observed the ʻamaʻama going up the stream and, um,- and what they did was they adapted the fish pond so that the pua, or the the young juveniles could enter the fishpond on its way to the stream, because what they did was they allowed the stream to enter the fishponds from the mauka side. So, you know… To me, that’s what we call today, maybe bio-engineering, you know? 

HERB: Recreating that- where the mullet was going: up-stream. 

WILLIS: That’s right. 

HERB: Recreating it in the context of a pond, right? 

WILLIS: And we confine them in the fishpond, you know… So, you know… And I’m still learning about what they did and I reveal to you, for example, how I see different parts of the fishpond differently. After spending years and thousands of hours, you know, observing what’s going on, so… Anyway, I just- 

Looking Ahead to Global Climate Change 00:37:16.600 –> 00:40:57.400

HERB: So, maybe one of the other lessons about, you know, what I’m hearing from you guys is that, you know, and we’ve heard this before, right, learning is lifelong. And even in our sort of retirement years, there’s still so much more to learn and feel like even in the last 26 years, all this knowledge that, cuz there was no manuals for it when we started it, nobody gave us a “Okay, this is how you restore an ancient Hawaiian fishpond,” right? But I still feel like, you know, 26 years later, we’ve only learned this much. There’s still way more to learn, and that is the- that’s the beauty of- to me, you know, looking at fish ponds with a different perspective. That it has much more to offer us, especially when we’re trying to do things like adapt to Global Climate Change. Do things like how to- you know all the near-shore fisheries, all the ponds are not propagating fish like they were. How do we get back to that?   You know, we’re so in the 2020, 2021- You know, if the ships stopped coming, we’re 80-90% dependent on them for food, you know, and how do we get back to what our ancestors were doing when they were totally independent from stopped coming, you know? “Can we?” is a question, you know. And then- So we need this knowledge to be able to hopefully get us back to that. Do you think?

KAʻOHUA: “Yes, we can!” Is what I would like to say. I feel like we can- I remember when we were first on this journey, we were looking at, in particular, at our loko iʻa, and it wasn’t a viable- at the time, a viable place to actually grow and be able to make food available for our community. But in my heart, in my naʻau, I should say, I really believe that if we can move in that direction, there are a couple of loko iʻa’s that are, you know, they’re growing food and they’re getting there, right? But I would love to see us, because like you said, we’re so reliant on that- that Matson container coming to this island and feeding us.  What the hell? I’m sorry, but what the hell? You know? We should be growing our own food.  We’ve got- I mean- We have land, we have- we have the resources to grow our own food. And I really believe that we should lesson our dependency on that Matson container and to me, this whole thing with COVID was a really big good example of many of us just saying “You know what? To hell with this. I’m gonna start- I’m gonna start growing my own food and, you know, backyard-gardening.”  And I feel like if we can do more, even of that, and even some of the malama ʻāina groups, you know, start continue to grow more food so that we can make it available more available to our community. That is super powerful and that’s where we should be headed and I hope that our next generation, you know, and beyond will- will look at that as- as a- a tool, a learning tool to be able to move forward, cuz it’s important. Yeah… 

HERB: So I’m hoping that as we kinda end this part of our discussion, that in the eyes of Uncle Fred, that we are leaving Waikalua better than we found it 26 years ago. 

Wish List of Improvements Looking Forward  00:40:57.400 –>  00:48:02.300

FRED: Yeah… Something- Something I want to talk about… I don’t know… I learned something every time. I had a problem with the home.  I had the plastic… like, uh… What do you call it?   Plastic rolls of [indiscernible]. Anyway, from Heʻeia Fishpond, where all limu was stuck on top of it. So I took it- took it home cuz it was all limu on top of it. What a humbug. And the whole- nearby my place, there’s a right off way from to the bay, there’s a opening, so I got a plastic thing that had all the limu on top, and I steered it out this way, and I woulda washed it down.  I gotta bring freshwater and wash this thing out, cuz got saltwater over here.  So I start pumping the salt water and washing the limu with the screen with the saltwater.  And about- 

WILLIS: That was seawater, right? From the bay? Ocean water? 

FRED: Ocean water. So, yeah, yeah. So about three days later, I come back, all the limu, all dried up and curled up. And then I look below that, there’s there was a big bush of hilahila grass. Yeah, about five feet wide by fifty feet long.  I didn’t- I didn’t think anything about it. I just had spread it over. Then when I shot the saltwater on all of the screen, and when I had to clean up, all the hilahila grass disappeared. HERB: It’s the sleeping grass, yeah? 

FRED: Yeah… I said “Oh!” 

HERB: That’s how you figured that out! *ALL chuckle/laugh* 

FRED: Yeah, accidentally. And then I said “Hey, the hilahila grass over here.” If the kids walk around, it bother them It should be so that [indiscernible] started, but my leg jammed up, and couldn’t continue, but I will be back. I will repair. 

WILLIS: You know, I had a wish list all the time I spent here. You know, there were three things- Well, actually four. We managed to get two right off the bat. And that was a container where we kept the tools. Because before that, I used to depend on Fred to bring the tools to the fishpond, cuz he had a truck.  

HERB: Yeah, I remember. I remember that. Yeah… 

WILLIS: So, the container for the- the shipping container for the tool storage. And the other thing is a portable toilet.  *HERB & WILLIS laugh* 

HERB: That was a problem. 

WILLIS: Cuz we didn’t have any portable toilets when we first came here. But for the future, since you brought it up, I would like to see a classroom.  I always thought a classroom would be a real neat thing to have at the fish pond, because there were times when it would rain cats and dogs here, and would be a shame to have the students, you know, pile back into the bus and drive back to campus when they could remain at the fishpond and [be] given a presentation indoors like in a classroom. So, you know, that that’s an important part that we could have.  And then the 4th thing, maybe more important than anything else, was a rolloff [dumpster]. You know, I always felt “Jeez, do I need a rolloff.”  cuz, you know, Fred and I would do a lot of weeding, and there’s no place to put all the cuttings, and you know, and…. 

HERB: But we have used rolloffs over the years, for that, as well as all of the ʻōpala that comes up on the shore from all over Kāneʻohe Bay. 

WILLIS: I wanted one with my name on it! *HERB laughs* 

HERB: Okay, okay, okay. Okay, I’ll work on that. I’ll work on that. 

KAʻOHUA: Leave a legacy. 

HERB: The good news is that we got the money- 

WILLIS: Willis’ Rolloff. 

HERB: We- We have- We are going to be building a classroom, you know, the state legislature gave us money, and then Weinberg Foundation gave us some more money, just in the last few months, so thank you to them, for us to complete.  Now we have all of the resources to build a state-of-the-art classroom in the back of the pond.  

WILLIS: Oh, great! 

HERB: Hopefully, we’re going to start construction in the next couple months. We were just out here yesterday, with a contractor, and they’re- they’re ready to go.  You know, this COVID time has kinda put a damper on a lot of the permits, but that’s a whole nother story, but- So I’m hoping that we can fulfill all of your four wishes, because that’s going to help us. 

HERB:   Do you have any final wish that you have for us, Uncle Fred?  Do you have any final wish for us that you wanna see?  

FRED: No, just as a side: saltwater can kill a lot of grass in your yard.  

HERB: Okay. 

FRED: All the junk parts. The long will survive. But any other kind of grass, you’ll kill it. Just saltwater. HERB: Yeah, you’re definitely the expert on that one. 

WILLIS: Fred would really appreciate an ATV. *ALL laugh* All-Terrain Vehicle, you know? 

HERB: But we have the Gator.  But, yeah, I mean, that would be fun. Kaʻohua, you have any final wishes that you wanna share with us? Since we’re talking about wishes. 

KAʻOHUA: Wishes *ALL chuckle* 

HERB: That’s a good one. 

KAʻOHUA: Yeah. I just feel like the more that our- the more we bring our kids out here. This- It’s- the better it is us and the future of fishponds. I feel like that’s- that’s the next- that’s the next generation who’s gonna carry on this legacy, is our keiki, so I feel very grateful I’m part of this hui. 

HERB: Okay. Well, thank you guys! Anything- Any- Are we good? *ALL affirm* 

HERB: Final thoughts? Okay! Aloha! Thank you very much. Were- Were pau. 

FRED: Thank you. 

HERB: There’s Uncle Hal over there. 

WILLIS: Hi Hal! 

–> 00:48:02.300

*End of audio*

[Transcription by Kauilaokahekiliokalani (Kauila) Freitas-Pratt, Student Assistant Transcriber]