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Ethnobotany of the Ahupua'a

Abstract:
Ancient Hawaiian land division consisted of "mokopuni" (larger islands) divided into "moku" (districts). Each district was further divided into "ahupua'a" (a section of the land from the mountain to the sea that contained nearly all the resources the Hawaiians required for survival). The name ahupua`a originated from "ahu" (an altar of stones) upon which was placed an image of the head of a "pua`a" (pig). These stone altars marked the boundaries between each ahupua`a. Sharing of resources and "malama `aina" were the bases of "ahupua`a" living.

Flora of the Ahupua`a describes the plant species introduced by the first Polynesian settlers. It explains how they used their plants to maintain their lifestyles and how they used their skills to manage their "`aina" (land). Most of the plants introduced were those species that provided for their basic survival necessities: food plants, fiber plants, medicinal and other plants of economic values (dyes, light source, containers, utensils, wood, etc.).

- Nelda K. Quensell

 

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Last Modified: 14-Dec-2010 13:30 HST