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Windward // Windward Oahu Coverstory
Carol Chang

Hukilau Tales Set

Kailua Historical Society will cast its net and haul in some fish stories at its next meeting, set for 7 p.m. Thursday at Lanikai Elementary School cafeteria – the closest they could get to the beach itself.

The group has assembled a panel of kupuna who vividly recall the times when the traditional hukilau was a common and popular fishing method on Kailua Beach. They will provide firsthand descriptions of a Kailua hukilau, and the Mahoe family will exhibit one of the large nets actually used in the old days.

For more information, call 262-7316.

The ancient communal round-up of fish to shore via a large net is no longer practiced, according to KHS president Paul Brennan. In fact, it is banned as “mass netting,” he said, “and it ceased to exist from the time of World War II.”

The entire community was welcome to help haul in the fish-filled net, which would be lined with a strong rope and swaying ti leaves to scare the fish toward shore. Once the harvest was in, Brennan said, “everyone got to take home a fish.” An account by researcher and teacher Carol Silva reported that the yield from a hukilau could reach as high as 4,800 in a single day.

So simple then, as the song goes: “We throw our nets right into the sea, and all the ama ama come aswimmin’ to me … ”

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