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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Parks Stewardship Forum

UC Berkeley

Nā Wa‘a Mauō Marine Stewardship Program: Perpetuating the practices of our Kūpuna to care for our oceans and strengthen our next generation of marine stewards


Nā Wa‘a Mauō means the canoes that sustain us. The Nā Wa‘a Mauō Marine Stewardship Program uses wa‘a (outrigger canoes) as vehicles to care for our oceans. The mission of Nā Wa‘a Mauō is to perpetuate the practices of our Kūpuna (ancestors) by using our Native tools and language to care for our oceans with a vision of ‘āina momona (fruitful and productive lands) through Kanaka ‘Ōiwi (Native Hawaiian) stewardship. Our program hosts monthly community workdays on Hawai‘i Island, inter-island exchanges across the state, and the Honuaiākea Voyaging program for Kānaka ‘Ōiwi youths transitioning into adulthood. The Nā Wa‘a Mauō program blends Indigenous and institutional sciences to create community-driven marine stewardship efforts that are scientifically rigorous and culturally rooted. As Kānaka ‘Ōiwi, we have generational ties to our lands and intimate connections to our environment that gift us with the kuleana (responsibility) to care for our islands.

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