T I G E R S H A R K S
BIG ISLAND, HAWAI'I
~ KULEANA ~
TO ENCOURAGE SHARK CONSERVATION AND OCEAN STEWARDSHIP WITH A PUBLIC ACCESS CATALOGUE IDENTIFYING THE INDIVIDUAL TIGER SHARKS SIGHTED ON THE BIG ISLAND.
~TO EVOKE KULEANA IN THOSE WHO VISIT~
Each island in Hawai‘i has its own unique land division known as moku (large districts) that are further broken down into smaller divisions known as ahupua‘a. Each ahupua‘a has enough resources to be self-sustaining for all inhabitants within its boundaries, from mauka to makai (mountain to ocean). It is the community's kuleana to mālama ʻāina, mālama i ke kai (responsibility to care for the land, responsilibility to care for the ocean), so everyone can benefit from its resources. Families are assigned particular ahupua’a which are handed down through the generations.
Hawaiians see the value of everything around them, from the ʻāina itself to the creatures they share it with. One of the most important animals in their culture is the manō (shark). A well known oleo no’eau (proverb) states, “He manō holo ‘āina ke ali’i.” (The Chief is a shark that travels on land). They know sharks keep a balance in the marine ecosystem and are taught from a young age to enter the water with respect for this beautiful apex predator. These sharks are so sacred to the Hawaiians that an underwater heiau (temple) was built and dedicated to the shark gods. This heiau is named Hale ō Kapuni and is marked with a pohakū (stone). While this heiau hasn’t been seen since the 1950’s, due to rising waters, modern shark activity is still very present at the location and respect for these creatures continues.
-Marina Praet (NOAA Fisheries)-
The catalogue is administered by Charlie Fasano - Hawaii Regional Director, Shark Research Institute