Menehune Fish Pond is located just above the Nawiliwili Harbor. Alekoko (Menuhune Fish Pond) got its name from the legend that a small race of people known as Menehune built these ponds 1,000 years ago. The ponds which create a dam across a portion of the Huleia River was used to trap fish to feed the ali’i ( Hawaiian royalty).
Menehune Fish Pond is a historical site that captivates visitors with its ancient beauty and enigmatic origins. This fish pond, known locally as Alekoko Fishpond, is a testament to Hawaii’s engineering prowess and cultural heritage. It’s a place where history, legend, and natural beauty converge, creating a unique and awe-inspiring destination.
The Menehune Fish Pond’s history is shrouded in legend and mystery. According to Hawaiian folklore, the Menehune were a mythical race of small people known for their incredible craftsmanship and ability to accomplish extraordinary feats in a single night. It is said that the Menehune built the fish pond in just one night, using stones passed hand-to-hand from a quarry several miles away.
While the legend is fascinating, modern archaeological and historical research suggests that the fish pond’s construction likely predates the time of the Menehune. The pond is estimated to be over a thousand years old, and its construction represents an impressive engineering feat by the early Hawaiians.
The fish pond is a loko kuapa, a traditional Hawaiian aquaculture technique. It consists of a massive lava rock wall stretching approximately 900 feet, enclosing an area of about 6 acres. These fish ponds aimed to create a controlled environment for raising and harvesting fish, primarily mullet (awa) and milkfish (moo).
The wall is a marvel of ancient Hawaiian engineering, carefully designed to allow water to flow in and out with the tides while preventing fish from escaping. This allowed Hawaiians to harvest fish sustainably and provided a reliable food source for the community.
Today, the Menehune Fish Pond is a historical relic testament to the island’s rich cultural heritage. Visitors can witness this ancient marvel and contemplate the ingenuity of the Hawaiians who created it. The surrounding area offers beautiful views of the Huleia River and the Ha’upu Mountain Range, making it a place of historical significance and a site of natural beauty and tranquility.
Preservation efforts and ongoing research continue to shed light on the history of the Menehune Fish Pond, ensuring its legacy endures for generations. It remains where the legends of the Menehune and the history of ancient Hawaiian aquaculture come.
The Alekoko Scenic Overlook is located just off of Hulemalu Road, about 1/2 a mile from the entrance to the Nawiliwili small boat harbor. The area was designated as the Huleia National Wildlife Refuge in 1973 and now is a protected and beautiful home to many endemic water birds. The rocks are now covered in mangroves and moss.
Kayak tours are available on the Huleia River, a fun way to explore this beautiful area. You will kayak past the pond entrance, but the refuge is closed to the public.
The best time of day to visit the Scenic overlook is near sunset when you can catch the sun setting in the gap between Haupu Ridge and Kipu Kai.