HONOLULU (KHON2) – We all make use of our island roadways, but when was the last time you paid attention to their given names?  

Did you know you could learn more about Hawaiʻi if you did?  

Check out more news from around Hawaii

Our weekly “Aloha Authentic” segment highlights various streets across the island chain so we can dig into those names, and in turn, learn something new.  

This week, we bring attention to our island land sections.

In the ahupuaʻa of Honolulu, which lies in the moku of Kona here on Oʻahu, stands a short street that is named after a large land district in Hawaiʻi.  

We are talking about Moku Place.

In ancient Hawaiʻi, there was no private land ownership as Hawaiians looked at land as their chief and they, its stewards.   

Every island was broken down into large land districts known as Moku, extending from the mountain tops to the sea.

Moku are further broken down into smaller land sections known as ahupuaʻa, each being controlled by a land manager or konohiki.

With an ahupuaʻa stretching from the uplands down into the ocean, the idea is that it encompasses all the natural resources that are needed to sustain a living community, from water to agriculture to spiritual beliefs.

Barter was a way of life for community members, exchanging mountain supplies for those of the coastlines, creating a balance.

The boundaries of each ahupuaʻa were distinguished by natural land features but were also identified by heaps of stones (ahu) surmounted with an image of a pig (puaʻa). 

Tributes were also laid on the ahu as tax to the chief.

Ahupuaʻa were itself comprised of smaller subdivisions known as ʻili, which were then broken down further.

As one Hawaiian proverb explains, land has no need for man, but man needs the land and works it for a livelihood.

Get news on the go with KHON 2GO, KHON’s morning podcast, every morning at 8

Did you know?  Now you do!