About Moli’i Pond
Located near Kualoa Ranch, the Molii Pond is an ancient Hawaiian fishpond dating back some 900 years. Surrounded by the ocean and the Koolau Mountains, the Molii Pond is home to a variety of fish species. Built pre-contact with Westerners, the fishpond is an ingenious invention to capture and raise fish as a food source.
Hawaiians built rock walls to allowed sea water to flow into the ponds. In these walls, Hawaiians constructed special gates that circulate new seawater and allowed small fish in. These young fish would then feed and grow in the pond, becoming too large to exit through the small holes in the wall. Thus, the fish were trapped and continued to breed, giving Hawaiian chiefs a source of delicious food.
The Molii Pond is one of the largest fishponds in Hawaii: covering approximately 125 acres and between 4 to 30 feet deep. Molii Pond is also, thanks to the ownership of Kualoa Ranch, one of the most well preserved ancient fishponds in Hawaii.
The fish from the ponds was primarily reserved for the alii (chiefs). Fishponds were a sign of the chiefs wealth (per mauifishpond.com). If you were a commoner who was caught eating fish out of the fishpond, you were subject to death.
Dr. Gerritt P. Judd purchased the Kualoa land division from King Kamehameha III in 1850. His newly acquired land included the fishpond, along with a huge area in the Kaawa Valley and where Kualoa Ranch currently resides. Today Judd’s descendants, the Morgan family, own and operate the Kualoa Ranch properties. Moi (threadfish), ‘ama’ama (mullet) and awa (milkfish) are raised in it.Contrary to Google Maps, the neighboring pond (due east) is actually Apua Pond, which has not been in use for over 100 years. The Apua fishpond is accessible via the Kualoa Regional Park, where the Chinamans Hat (MokoliI Island) is located.
Facts & Trivia
- Island: Oahu
- Duration: If youre on a circle island tour, this is near our lunch stop: about 30-60 minutes. If youve booked an activity at Kualoa Ranch, time varies.
- Amenities: Picnic tables, portable toilets.
- Insider Tip: Book our outdoor eco-adventure tour (Tour E18) and youll enjoy a boat ride across MoliI Pond to Secret Beach.
- Fun Fact: Fish continue to thrive in the waters of Molii Pond, some 900 years after the fishpond was built by ancient Hawaiians.
- What to Expect: A serene, peaceful body of water surround by green trees and brush, with the blue skies and Koolau mountain cliffs as a backdrop.
- Pop Culture: Television series LOST used Molii Pond extensively as a backdrop for several episodes, including Season 1 Episode 17 In Translation.