This is a picture of kula, or plains, which is one part of an ahupuaa

This is a picture of makai, or ocean. This was an important part of an ahupuaa
This is picture of mauka, or mountains, which is part of an ahupuaa
All photos taken by Kauila team


An ahupua‘a is a land division running from the mountains to the sea. They are usually separated into three sections- mountains, plains, and the sea. In Hawaiian they would call the three areas Mauka, Kula, and Makai. These ahupua‘a was useful for the Hawaiians. For example, when the rain ran down the mountain and into a stream or river they would us the water for drinking, bathing, and other common deeds. When an ahupua‘a ends and a new one begins, they put an altar. The altar is usually a pig’s heads on top a heap of rocks. They used a pig as a sign of tax to the chief. If Hawaiians were to enter into an ahupua‘a they usually put a gift, or ho’okupu, on the altar for the chief of the ahupua‘a. The person usually in charge of an ahupua‘a is a Konohiki or tax chief. His job was to collect the offerings that the Hawaiians left for them. The pictures above show the three different parts of an ahupua'a . As you can see, each part is unique. Each part had different uses for the Hawaiians.


Here is an ‘ōlelo no‘eau about the ahupua‘a:

He hānai ali‘i, he ‘ai ahupua‘a.
The rearing of a chief is the ruling of an ahupua‘a.
A person in whose care a young chief was placed often rewarded with a large tract of land.



Pukui, Mary Kawena. ‘Ōlelo No‘eau. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1983.