Mauna Lani Resort History-Kalāhuipua’a Historical Park and Fishponds

Located within the grounds of the Mauna Lani Resort, Kalāhuipua’a is a fascinating area with petroglyphs, lava tube dwellings, and extensive fishponds. The word, Kalāhuipua’a, could be translated as ‘a gathering of the pigs.’ Since the Hawaiian language often contains allegorical terms and phrases, this word likely meant an ‘abundance of food’ or ‘a gathering of large ‘Ama’ ama (mullet) or fish in the ponds themselves. ‘Ama ‘ama (mullet) and awa (milkfish) were the most common raised fish, but others such as Papio (jack), Kaku (barracuda), and puhi (eels) as well as ‘opae (shrimp) are found in the ponds also.

Most visitors and owners within the resort are familiar with the iconic Eva Parker Woods Cottage, which is located on a small sliver of land between the ocean and main pond. A monthly Twighlight at Kalāhuipua’a event takes place featuring local artists, hula, and plenty of “talk story” with long time residents and kapuna sharing their present and past experiences with 100 or more guests.

The main pond contains several sluice gates or Makaha that allow the seawater to circulate with fresh water coming from the mountains in porous lava tubes. To build a Makaha, you assemble straight sticks and loose rocks into a gate that enables small fish to swim in from the ocean and, once fed, grow larger and cannot exit. The flow of water through the Makaha also controls algae growth and oxygenation.

These fishponds comprise over four acres and reach depths of nearly twenty feet. The modern history of Kalāhuipua’a, including the fishponds, involves Francis Hyde I’i Brown, a territorial representative, state Senator, exceptional golfer, and sports fisherman who began acquiring the property in the 1930s. In his years of ownership, he built, maintained, and restored the ponds, installed paths and roadways, and planted many of the of palms that may still stand today. Brown became friends with Noboru Gotoh, the chairman of the Tokyu Corporation, at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo.

He sold the property to Tokyu Corporation in the early 1970s, and Kenny Brown became chairman of the Mauna Lani Resort until his death in 2014. Francis Brown died when he was 83 in Pebble Beach in 1976 before construction began on Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and Bungalows. The hotel was completed and dedicated in 1983.

All owners within the resort through the Mauna Lani Resort Association now own the land surrounding, including the fish ponds, and maintains them for many, future generations to enjoy!!

SPECIAL NOTE – The The video as part of this blog post is of a Mauna Lani Resort Association employee performing one of his duties, which is to keep the barracuda population down within the ponds. Fishing by anyone else is strictly prohibited. All information contained herein has been gathered among public sources and may contain historical and other inaccuracies as this post is intended only for general knowledge as I’m neither a historian or genealogist-but mahalo for your thoughts and good vibes 🙂