Kokua Kanewai Spring -- Save the Source!

Hosted by:The Trust for Public Land
Goal: $350,000
$372,705 4 106% Complete

Campaign Details

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Kanewai Spring is Now Permanently Preserved for Our Community!

The Trust for Public Land and Maunalua Fishpond Heritage Center are thrilled to announce that the conservation purchase is complete, and the property is now owned and stewarded by the community. Mahalo to the volunteers, donors, and community partners for your for your making this possible! 

You can download a press release regarding the conservation purchase here.

Kanewai Spring is where "the mountain gives birth to the sea," Uncle Henry Chang-Wo. 

The Trust for Public Land and Maunalua Fishpond Heritage Center worked together to purchase and forever protect this, one of Honolulu’s last natural springs to still provide fresh, clean water to the shore. Kupuna say that Kanewai Spring is “where the mountain gives birth to the ocean,” because these headwaters flow into Kanewai Fishpond, then to Paiko Lagoon Wildlife Sanctuary, and finally Maunalua Bay. When the spring is in poor condition, they all suffer.

Once overgrown, dark, and murky - Kanewai Spring and the surrounding land are now brimming with life thanks to seven years of hard work by the Maunalua Fishpond Heritage Center and hundreds of volunteers. And now, the site is permantly protected and owned/stewarded by the community via nonprofit Maunalua Fishpond Heritage Center.


Nearly all of Hawai‘i’s freshwater springs have disappeared – many filled in for development, ending the fresh and salt water connection that is critical to the life cycle of many native species. In Kuli‘ou‘ou, we had a rare opportunity to permanently protect a fertile estuary that is home to rare freshwater limpets pipiwai and hapawai that cling to the Hawaiian drystack wall lining the spring, ‘ama‘ama (mullet) and āholehole (young Hawaiian flagtail) that feed on the prized green limu ‘ele‘ele that blankets the spring floor, native shrimp ‘opae ‘oeha‘a and ‘opae huna, and endangered ‘ae‘o (Hawaiian stilts) that feed in Kanewai Fishpond.

This effort also protects the many cultural sites surrounding the spring including the makaha (fishpond sluice gate), and ku‘ula (fishing stone shrine) with an upright Ku stone balanced by a low Hina stone where the fishermen of old would have given offerings asking for a plentiful catch.


January 25, 2015 - MidWeek

November 1, 2015 - Historic Hawai'i Foundation Website

November 1, 2015 - Honolulu Magazine - Hawai'i's Most Endangered Historic Places

April 17, 2016 - Star Advertiser

July 12, 2017 - KITV News

July 12, 2017 - KHON News

July 13, 2017 - Star Advertiser

July 16, 2017 - Star Advertiser


Punawai ($50,000+)

The Atherton Family Foundation

'Opae 'Oeha'a ($25,000+)

The Cooke Foundation, Pamela K. Omidyar, Anonymous, Kamehameha Schools, Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, Hawaii Tourism Authority

Limu 'Ele'ele ($10,000+)

ABC Stores, HEI Charitable Foundation, Bill Healy Foundation, Laura Thompson, Omidyar Ohana Fund @ Hawaii Community Foundation

Pohaku ($1,000+)

James C. Shingle Family Fund, Eddie and Cynthia Sorenson, Montessori Community School, Mori Family Fund, Robert WickAnonymous, Jennifer Taylor, Linda Krieger, Carol and Gaylord Wilcox, Hui Nalu Canoe Club, Carl and Becky Ashizawa, Mary Harbold, Kenneth Kalani, Diane Warncke, Jack Gillmar, Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, Leighton Taylor


Maunalua Fishpond Heritage Center invites you and your 'ohana to join us in mālama efforts at the historic Kānewai Spring. Volunteers will learn about this wahi pana (legendary place) while restoring the niu (coconut) grove and removing invasive species. Workdays will take place on the third Saturday of every month from 8:30am - 11:30am. 

Due to traffic safety, please no direct drop offs at Kānewai Spring. Directions and parking information will be provided upon registration. Please bring the following items: water bottle, sunscreen, protective clothing, and sturdy shoes. *No restrooms on site.

For more information and to RSVP please contact the Maunalua Fishpond Heritage Center at 382-0847 or email maunaluafishponds@gmail.com

Note: We apologize that this site does not support the kahako Hawaiian diacritical marking.

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