Episode 24: Miloli‘i fishing with Puanani Burgess

Feb 5, 2016

The ideals of reciprocity that were inherent in aloha ‘āina were not restricted to land—they extended to everything in the natural world, including the ocean. Puanani Burgess remembers learning about aloha ‘āina from Walter Paulo and ‘Anakala Eddie Ka‘anā‘anā, two traditional fisherman from Miloli‘i.

“They taught me by taking me out on the canoe. We would paddle to the ko‘a, and they would pound the side of the canoe, And then they laid their net and then they put the food, the palu, into it. And they thought I’m not trying to throw bait into my net to catch you, I’m throwing food to feed you, my honorable ancestors. I feed you first and then you, will feed me and my family.”

At the ko‘a, the shrine they’d created, Paulo and Ka‘anā‘anā offered palu made from the finest kalo to the fish they sought: ‘ōpelu, or scad mackerel. Burgess says when they pulled up the net, it was always full. They would search through it for the oldest fish and return those to the sea.

“They would say, ‘You see that old one? He’s going to bring the next generation to this ko‘a and he’ll tell them, “This is our place.'"