Aloha! My name is Leinani Navas-Loa and this beautiful ahupua’a of Kahauloa has been the home of my ʻohana (family) for many generations. I come from an ʻohana of mahi ʻai (farmers of agriculture) and also lawaiʻa (Fishermen). My kūpuna (ancestors) had land both in the uplands and near the ocean in this ahupuaʻa. They grew taro, banana, sweet potato and pumpkin from the uplands, gathered salt from the salt pans near the ocean, and also collected different kinds of reef fish from near shore as well deep sea fish, such as opelu, ahi, mahi mahi, and ono. My ʻohana not only gathered fish or farmed for us, but they shared what they gathered with the elders in our ahupuaʻa.

My great grandmother (Tutu) comes from an ancient line of healers. Her gift was healing broken bones. Back in the days of old, our kūpuna (elders) each had specific gifts that were passed on from generation to generation. People would travel from around the island to come and see her. At times, if the person could not leave their home, she would go to them. La‘au lapa‘au (medicinal hawaiian plants) were used. Tutu would pule (pray) over the person who she went to visit, and also prayed over the medicine that she gathered for the healing ceremony. Some days the ceremony and healing would take a few hours and at other times it would take days. For some people who Tutu helped, it was a matter of what they were holding on to spiritually that took them longer to heal, while others were able to work through it quickly.

My great grandfather (Tutu Kane) shared a story that his grandfather had told to him as a child. The story speaks of the puna wai lua (two sacred pools of fresh water) in the forest and in the ahupua’a of Kahauloa called Maunalei. It is said that there was a time in the past when the taro, pumpkin and sweet potato fell dry and the tutu of this place knew that it was a hoʻailona (sign) of famine and there was no more water for drinking.

The families of this area started to pray that Akua (god) would send some rain for their ahupuaʻa. Upon hearing the cries of all the people in this place, a plea for help was heard in the forest by two sisters who were both moʻo wahine (water nymphs). Their names were Waihuaʻi and Lilinoe. They both were spiritually moved to help these families who truly loved the place in which they lived.

They both decided the only way to help these families were to pray and ask their mother to help them change into the puna wai lua (two sacred pools of fresh water). Lilinoe was the mist that would cover the forest and keep everything damp while WaihuaʻI was a deep pool of water that will continue to bubble even at the lowest level of water so that these puna wai will never go dry.

Their mother loved them so dearly that she granted them their wish to turn into the two sacred pools. As a gift of love to honor her two daughters the name Maunalei was given to them and they will always be surrounded with the beautiful ‘awapuhi keʻo keʻo to remind them of their mother’s love for her two daughters.