Na Aliʻi Leadership Volunteer at Kōʻieʻie Fishpond

November 4, 2017 No Comments

As part of Na Aliʻi’s Strategic Offsite meeting, held on Maui and focused on charting the path ahead for Na Aliʻi in 2018 and beyond, senior leadership participated in a day of volunteerism at the Kōʻieʻie Fishpond.

The Kōʻieʻie Fishpond was built by Native Hawaiians more than 400 years ago as a way to ensure the availability of fish for the community. These fishponds consist of volcanic rock piled up to enclose a shallow lagoon on the shoreline, with a number of sluice gates that allow small fish to enter the pond to feed. As these fish grow, they become too large to fit back through the gates’ gaps, allowing them to be easily caught with traditional nets.

The Kōʻieʻie Fishpond is now maintained by a nonprofit organization dedicated to maintaining the pond and sharing its history with the island, and Na Aliʻi’s leadership volunteered to help rebuild part of the rock wall that encompasses the fishpond. This involved taking stones from the bed of the pond, passing them along a “human chain” of our volunteers, and putting them back on top of the rock wall. Our guide for this activity explained that the human chain teamwork methodology was consistent with the approach that was used during the original formation of such fish ponds, as a leader’s ability to organize their people to work together to transport the rocks from the land into the water was symbolic of their status within their community.

In addition to being a workout, this helped connect our employees with Native Hawaiian culture and acted as a team building exercise. Over the course of our Strategic Offsite, this experience also served as a parallel to the work at hand for our leadership team – strengthening the foundation of Na Aliʻi through teamwork to continue to sustain, grow, and enrich the experience of our stakeholder community of customers, employees, and Native Hawaiian beneficiaries.