Nu'upia Ponds

Nu'upia Ponds

Nu'upia Ponds, Oahu

The Nu'upia Ponds are located on the Mokapu Peninsula on Oahu's southwestern shore. Many ancient legends tell of this peninsula and the ponds. One of the legends says that it was here where the first man was created out of the red and bluish-black soil by the Hawaiian gods Kane, Kaneloa, Ku and Lono. In the Hawaiian language, mokapu means “sacred district.” Many old Hawaiian sand burial sites have been excavated here.

Another legend tells of a boy named Puniakai'a (“devoted to fish”) who often times went fishing for parrotfish here. One of the fish he caught and tamed was Uhumaka'ika'i, meaning “the parent of all fish.” This fish was home here at the Nu'upia fishpond and it became the boy's companion.

In the old Hawaii, there were three ponds here that separated the peninsula from the island. They were Nu'upia, Halekou and Kaluapuhi. Some of their old dividing walls still remain their shape, but today, there are eight ponds: Nu'upia Ekahi, Nu'upia Elua, Nu'upia Ekolu, Nu'upia Eha, Halekou, Heleloa, Pa'akai and Kaluapuhi.

The three original ponds are believed to date back to between 1300-1600 A.D. The ponds were later subdivided by Chinese fishermen who leased the ponds to raise mullet and milkfish here. Today, the ponds are part of the 482-acre Nu'upia Ponds Wildlife Management Area. Since the ponds are located within the Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station, one has to get permission first to access the site.

Nu'upia Ponds Overview

  • Eight enclosed ponds on the Mokapu Peninsula
  • Ancient Hawaiians collected salt deposits here
  • Ponds serve as a habitat for the endangered Hawaiian black-necked stilt (kukuluae'o)

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Reviews and Comments:
it is almost on the northwest section of the island. but in any case the place is a mess and you don't want to go too deep into it. it is not stable.
Vincent Eblacas, Sun Feb 18, 2018
Cave is right before Ka'ena State Park sign. Still a great place to see.
Mango808, Wed Sep 13, 2017
I don't know what the other reviews are talking about. There is absolutely no cave there. I have ran, walked, hiked, and even swam in the ponds and there is no cave at all. They must be thinking of some other place.
David Ghramm , Sat Feb 18, 2017
This is a sacred site but has been badly desecrated; graffiti on the walls, bad urine smell, and rubbish abound. The opening to the cave is huge though and you can't miss it if you're going in the town-bound direction (or looking in the rear view mirror when going out there) because the cave is on the north western face of the hillside right off the road. Please show respect people
G P, Wed Feb 03, 2016
In 1994 my then boyfriend (a local boy) and I went into the cave. I had no clue of it's history. About 1/2 way in we heard a child talking in a different language, further in there were two conversing, we were alone. He said, "do you hear that"?! I said knock it off I'm sure there are kids on top of the cliff or outside. We began walking out, at 1/2 way out it was only the one child's voice again. He exclaimed, " You hear that right, see I told you"! We got outside the cave, it was a sheer mountain, no cliff and ABSOLUTLEY no one near. I was a true believer in all the spirits and legands after that experience and many more that followed during the 8 years of living on the island.
Tammy Pearce, Fri Nov 07, 2014
"Southwestern" shore- NO!!! on the windward side, more like northeastern in direction, but north-south-east-west directions do not work here!

The Sierra Club of Oahu joins with Marine Environmental Dept the second Saturday of each even-numbered month to perform service projects to maintain a welcoming habitat for migrating native birds
Joanna Alexander, Sat Aug 11, 2012