Welina Mānoa


The back of Mānoa Valley is famous for the wai ua, the rain water. The misty ua near the mountain is called Kauanoe. When the ua begins to move with the Haukani wind, it is called Tuahine. This wai ua fills the waterfalls throughout the valley and also feeds the plants that grow in the valley. Long ago, when only Hawaiians lived in Hawai‘i, they farmed kalo throughout the valley and the wai ua was very important for the life of the lo‘i kalo. The wai ua also helped to feed the Hawaiian forests in the area, with trees like koa, ‘ohi‘a, and ‘iliahi. But later, foreigners allowed cattle to run through Mānoa and the cattle stomped on all the baby Hawaiian plants so they couldn’t grow tall. With no trees or lo‘i anymore, the wai ua couldn’t be absorbed back into the earth. So, later on, big trees were planted to catch the wai ua so that it could trickle back into the ground. But these big trees took over the valley and no Hawaiian plants could be grown. So, today, people are now taking out the big invasive trees and re-planting Hawaiian plants in Mānoa which help to capture the wai ua and also are useful in many different ways. Let’s go find some of these plants!