a picture of students of Kamehameha Schools helping to
clean in the loi kalo.
taken from Koa team.
is a picture of kalo planted, and seperated by banks
taken at Punalu‘u loi on Oahu during dorm service
kalo are ponds for wetland kalo that are enclosed
by banks of earth. They are constructed near kahawai
(streams) because they are irrigated with stream water.
The Hawaiians used a system that allowed water
from the stream to run through an ‘auwai
(ditch) into the uppermost loi kalo and flow
through the openings in the terraces to each lower loi
kalo. The water is eventually discharged back into
the stream. Many steps went into making a loi kalo.
Fishermen also take advantage of the loi kalo
and use them as fishponds.
The Flying Taro
chief of Kona had a taro patch in which the plants
grew tall and green. The two tallest and greenest taro plants
were friends and they both grew in the upper corner of the loi
kalo. One day the two friends heard chopping and knew the
imu was being prepared. One of the chief’s friendly
servants came and warned to the two taro plants that another
servant was going to come pull them soon. The two taro plants
didn’t want to be made into poi so they hid close
to the bank of the loi next to a banana tree. One of the
other servant’s came to pick the two big taro plants and
couldn’t find them. He picked another two plants instead
and then left. After many days, the chief found them and told
a one of his servants that those two taro plants must be picked
the next day. Once again, the two friends hid, this time among
long cane leaves. More days passed and finally, the chief found
them. The chief then called one of his servants to pull up the
taro plants right then. Not wanting to be turned into poi
and eaten, the two friends used their leaves as wings and flew
to a common farmer’s patch. Again, the two taro plants
remained unnoticed for a while. Then, the servant who had warned
them before told to them that he had been sent by the chief
to pull them up and they should fly away while he went to get
his digging stick. The two friendly taro plants flew once again
to a new loi. This happened again and again until
one day the chief himself came to pull them with his digging
stick in hand. The two friendly taro plants took flight with
the king right behind them. When they became tired, they went
to rest in a friendly field but other taro plants warned them
that they had to reach kaū in order to be
safe. So, taking the advice of the other plants, they flew and
were barely ahead of the chief when they passed the border into
the district of kaū where the chief couldn’t
touch them. The friendly taro plants rested in the taro patch
of a nice chief and live to a good old age. This legend means
that in the old days, men had the right to leave the land of
a cruel chief to live unharmed in the district of a good one.
Life in Early Hawaii; The Ahupua‘a the 3rd edition.
Kamehameha Schools Press. Honolulu, Hawaii, 1994
H. Plants in Hawaiian Culture. Honolulu: University of Hawaii
Kawena. Tales of the Menehune. Honolulu: Kamehameha Schools