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borderkauai imagesAlekoko, Menehune Fishponds

Alekoko, Menehune Fishpond, Kauai

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Quick Facts

  • Name: Alekoko Menehune Fishpond
  • Where: In Nawiliwili, minutes from Lihue
  • What: Legendary ancient Hawaiian fishpond

Lihue

Built nearly 1,000 years ago, the Alekoko Menehune Fishpond, minutes from Lihue, has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973. Ingenious ponds like this were built to catch fish, and the Menehune Fishpond is one of the finest examples of this type of ancient Hawaiian aquaculture.

The legend that surrounds the fishpond is based on the mythical Menehune, Hawaii's mischievous little people who performed legendary engineering feats. The Menehune lived in the forest and hid from humans. According to Hawaiian legends, the Menehune built this entire fishpond in one night. They managed this amazing task by lining up from the village of Makaweli for 40 kilometres, passing stones hand-to-hand to build the pond. Though Menehune legends abound, some say the word may have derived from the Tahitian word manahune meaning commoner, or small in social standing, not in physical size.

The Alekoko Fishpond is located near the Huleia National Wildlife Refuge, less than a kilometre inland from Nawiliwili Harbor and can be viewed from a lookout on Hulemalu Road. The wall dividing the pond from Huleia Stream is 274 metres long, one-and-a-half metres high and meticulously assembled with lava rock. Perhaps the work of the magical Menehune?