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Pond construction
Shore ponds
Inland ponds

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Pond construction

Hawaiians built a variety of types of fishponds, ranging from family fishponds of less than an acre to large ponds of 500-600 acres. Even the largest remained part of an integrated farming system that encompassed the entire ahupua`a running from the shore to the uplands.

Larger ponds were built at the instigation of the ruling chief and designed by a kahuna kuhikuhipu`uone, or architect-priest who took into account the local geography, the natural flow of water, reefs, depressions, and the shoreline configuration. The konohiki supervised these major engineering projects with construction sometimes requiring as many as 10,000 men. Building materials – rocks, coral, timber – were passed along a human chain, sometimes extending for miles if the source was far away.

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