Welcome to Mālama Hulē‘ia

coverpage Mālama Hulē‘ia is a voluntary non-profit organization dedicated to improving key parts of the Nawiliwili Bay Watershed on Kaua‘i by eliminating an alien and highly invasive plant species. This invasive plant – red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) – is attacking some of our most valuable assets in the watershed. Over the last 50 years, red mangrove has been changing native wildlife habitats in and along the Hulē‘ia River and destroying the Alekoko Fish Pond. We are working for a future when all of the red mangrove will be gone and all of our ‘ainakumuwai (watershed) can be made as productive as it once was.

This web site provides information about the Mālama Hulē‘ia organization, our history, motives, knowledge base, current projects and activities, and our vision for the future. If you agree with what we are doing, we welcome you to participate in and share our journey. Please visit our How to Help page. Mahalo.

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Earth Day with Mālama Hulē‘ia

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You cannot get closer to the earth than by spending an early Earth Day with Mālama Hulē‘ia on either April 18 or 19. Come down to Niumalu and get real earthy by helping to remove invasive mangrove from the muddy banks of the Pū‘ali Stream. Mālama Hulē‘ia provides gloves, water and lunch. You need to come in earthy clothes (not beach wear or street clothes), wearing boots or tabis, shades and sunscreen. There are showers at Niumalu Beach Park and at the Kaiola Canoe Club, in case you want to remove some of the abundant earth when pau hana.

Mother Earth’s Pū‘ali Stream and Hulē‘ia River will surely thank you for ridding them of this cancerous mangrove.
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Big Crane Comes Again

Part of t he mangrove jungle at the start

Part of t he mangrove jungle at the start

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Jim Campbell on hook

On 3/28/15, Larry Conklin came with his big crane for the second time to help Mālama Hulē‘ia with eradication of red mangrove along the banks of the Pū‘ali Stream. This time he came with Jim Campbell’s crews of cutters and shredders. Here are some pictures of what they started with, how they had to operate in the dense mangrove jungle, and the end result of one day’s work. They will return soon to follow up on what they had to leave behind.
Mahalo to Buddy Keala for his coordination of all the work.

Only way into the jungle was  through the air

Only way into the jungle was by crane through the air

Into the mangrove trees

Into the mangrove trees

Cutting mangrove

Cutting mangrove

Taking a tree to the shredder

Taking a tree to the shredder

Saving the Pū‘ali Steam.

Saving the Pū‘ali Steam.

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Not pau but getting there

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Polynesian Voyaging Society and Friends of Hōkūleʻa and Hawaiʻiloa

PVS group

PVS and Friends in action.

PVS and Friends in action

Filling the bin

Filling the bin

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Full bin and empty field

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Lunchtime

The Polynesian Voyaging Society and Friends of Hōkūleʻa and Hawaiʻiloa came to help on Monday, March 23, the day after our regular work weekend. It seemed that most people had other committments during that weekend, and our workforce was mainly the small but dedicated MH core. Participating in such a workforce has its rewards, but it also takes its toll. By Monday, we needed a rest day, not another day in the big weeds.

But when the PVS and Friends came, they came in such numbers and with so much energy and drive, that everyone was re-energized. After Malia’s cultural opening and Buddy’s work and safety briefing, a big group of the volunteers descended onto a field full of downed mangrove trees and cut-up branches and roots.  A couple of bucket brigades quickly formed, and all of the mangrove pieces, big and small, began to flow into the waiting bin at the edge of the Niumalu Park.  Meanwhile, another smaller group worked a truck bed liner as a sledge, hauling tree trunks and other big stuff to the bin. Before long, the bin was brimming and the remaining mangrove waste had to be stock piled. The field was cleared and work was done right on schedule and in time for lunch.

Mahalo to all in the Polynesian Voyaging Society and Friends of Hōkūleʻa and Hawaiʻiloa. Your energy powers us on in this long voyage toward complete eradication of the mangrove and revitalisation of the Hulē‘ia.

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Kumu of Kamehameha Preschools Kaumakani and Anahola Doing and Learning

Mahalo to Malia for this FB post.

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Repeat Defenders

We owe so much to so many people who give of themselves to help Mālama Hulē‘ia that we are always afraid of saying mahalo only some.  So let us start this off by saying MAHALO to EVERYONE and EVERY ORGANIZATION that has helped Mālama Hulē‘ia through these past 2 years.

That said, we would  still like to acknowledge a few of the numerous volunteers and organizations who have repeatedly come to the defense of the Pū‘ali and Hulē‘ia. We know how much effort and sweat it takes to cut down and haul out all that mangrove. So we actually empathize with those who come once to help, and experience the reality of trudging through sticky mud with heavy mangrove branches and roots under the hot sun, to end up feeling that that’s enough.  Those who have been willing to come back for more, therefore, deserve special thanks.

Again, let us note that that we are mentioning only a small selection of repeat volunteers in this post. Also, there is a core team of Mālama Hulē‘ia workers who are either part of our Board of Directors or staff, and they are just as deserving of thanks.

Kawaikini students learning how to transplant the  ‘ae’ae.

Kawaikini students learning how to transplant the ‘ae’ae.

Top of our list of repeat volunteers are the students and teachers of Kawaikini Charter School. We wrote about them previously here and here, and will probably write about them again, because they have adopted our demonstration project site as a learning place and come to it regularly for classes and mālama ‘aina.

KHS National Honor Society members sign in.

KHS National Honor Society members sign in.

We are amazed and grateful that members of the Kauai High School National Honor Society came to help for two months in a row. When they came for the second time just last month, they came with an even bigger workforce. It was uncessary to instruct them then about forming a bucket brigade to move the cut mangrove, since most of  them already knew the routine.  In addition, even more KHS students will be coming in April.

Rotarian at Work

Rotarian at Work

Members of the Rotary Club of Kauai have come to help in large numbers twice already. And they are planning to partner with Mālama Hulē‘ia again on April 25. Theirs is a special arrangement with the Weinberg Foundation in which the work that the Rotarians do with Mālama Hulē‘ia earns Weinberg Foundation funds that the Rotary donates to other charities in our community. So it is a multiple-win project that helps us to eradicate mangrove while helping other charity organizations with their missions.

Sheena Wise, Super MH Volunteer (also in the 2 pictures above).

Sheena Wise, Super MH Volunteer (also in the 2 pictures above).

Of the many individuals who have donated their time and energy to our cause on more than one occasion, we must give special MAHALO to one who comes on her own and quietly pitches in almost every work day. What makes Sheena Wise remarkable as a Mālama Hulē‘ia super volunteer is that she is there in the field doing what she can even when hardly anyone else is there. Sheena is truly a heroic defender of our ‘ainakumuwai. MAHALO.

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Malia’s Oli

Our Community Outreach Manager, Malia Chun, has been all over the place spreading aloha, recruiting groups of volunteers and introducing them to Mālama Hulē‘ia. At the beginning of almost every one of our work days, she welcomes the volunteers, tells them about the history of Niumalu and the Hulē‘ia, recounts some mo‘olelo relevant to these places and then chants her oli.  This is the beautiful oli that she created for the Hulē‘ia River that we care so much for:
IMG A long overdue MAHALO to Malia for this oli and all the aloha she gives and work she does to make Mālama Hulē‘ia a success.

Need we mention that Malia is also one of our hardest workers in the mangrove?

Malia Chun

Malia Chun

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Crane and KHS NHS Team Up

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On January 17, a big crane moved on to the edge of  Niumalu Beach Park to help with the mangrove removal. Its 40 foot boom swung over the wet and muddy ground and returned with huge clumps of mangrove – branches, roots, whole trees. It dropped the stuff onto the park grounds where we cut it up into bin-size pieces. Then the crane picked of bundles of those pieces and deposited them into the three 30 yard roll-off bins we had waiting.

Buddy Keala, who had arranged all of this with Larry Conklin and his crew of 2, estimated that we got the equivalent of 4 months of  manual work done on that one day with the crane. Mahalo, Buddy.

But that was not the only thing going on that Saturday. While the crane operations were in full swing at the end of the park, 16 Kaua’i High School National Honor Society students were working a bucket brigade to move previously cut mangrove along the board walk to where the mangrove will be chipped. It was a day of great team work that resulted in big piles of wood for the chipper. Mahalo to Mason Chock, Leah Aiwohi, and Malia Chun for coordinating. And Mahalo nui to the students who gave up a Saturday to malama ‘aina.

KHS National Honor Society at work

KHS National Honor Society at work

Some of  the mangrove carried out by the students

Some of the mangrove carried out by the students

Some of  the mangrove carried out by the students

More of the mangrove carried out by the students

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