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Hana 'I'o - Dive & Fish

Ulu Aʻe Learning Center

Kalaeloa, O'ahu

K-2, 3-5, 6-8

Spring 2023

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Hana ‘I‘o has changed the way I think about food systems. Before, I ate a lot of fast food. Now, I try to eat less fast food and more locally sourced food.
Being up close and personal with death, animal death, its traumatizing – not in a bad way – but in an awakening way to the process involved in our food systems.
- Nakili Enos Tamanaha


Ulu A‘e Learning Center (UALC) served 17 learners through the Hana ‘I‘o Program. All 17 learners are Native Hawaiian and all 17 learners completed program requirements.


The outcomes achieved are that: 

1) 17 learners developed their skills in diving and pig processing

2) these 17 learners increased their skills in accuracy and endurance 

and 3) each of the 17 learners returned in the summer to continue their learning and expand their knowledge and skill sets.


The program was initially planned as a Dive and Fish Program. With poor weather and choppy ocean conditions, we opted to err on the side of safety and we modified the program to a hybrid model that incorporated elements of our pua‘a program with the fish and dive experience.


The first few days of the program were held on Pālehua mountain where the ‘ōpio trapped, killed and processed a pig. They then cooked and prepared meals for their families and our community. The last two days were spent in the ocean diving and learning to spear fish.


Hana ‘I‘o was developed in 2020 as a hunting program where youth would learn to be sustainable hunters in our mountains and ocean. The decision to move to a hybrid model for the Spring was a sensible move and in the end the achievements of our ‘ōpio exceeded our expectations.


A new skill we taught was archery. Archery taught ‘ōpio to focus and keep their attention on the goal while removing all external and internal distractions from their mind. The skill of archery trains the shooter to be calm and balance their body and mind. All learners increased their accuracy in archery.


Since Fall of 2020 this is the ninth Hana ‘Iʻo program which has served 85 students in total. This is the first hybrid program that incorporated elements of our pua‘a component with the fish and dive experience.


We intend to continue this program and serve a cohort of 18 middle school students each year. Students will meet year-round for a minimum of 18 sessions per year to explore the role their mountain and ocean play in food production. They’ll get the opportunity to learn from experts like our mountain ranger, hunters, ocean lifeguards, watermen and Native Hawaiian healers. They’ll learn ocean skills like diving, spear fishing, and netting. And they’ll learn how to prepare and cook fish and heʻe. Students will also learn mountain skills like hunting and pig trapping. They’ll also take part in the respectful and humane process of killing a pig and preparing it for food production.

By taking part in this program, students begin to think critically about waste and humane animal practices. They gain a deeper understanding of food abundance and begin to evaluate what they put in their bodies.


Skills taught include:


Ability to set and bait a pig trap and to snare a pig using a rope.


Ability to shoot a bow using safe shooting techniques.

Knife handling

Ability to sharpen, use and adhere to safe knife handling methods.

Pig processing

Ability to kill, skin and field dress a pig. Able to sequence this process from live pig to the cooler.

Food prep and cooking

Ability to prepare and cook food using safe food handling skills.


Ability to prepare gear and self before entering the ocean.

Swim Endurance

Ability to swim long distances without resting.

Breath Holding

Ability to hold your breath.

Deep Diving

Ability to dive deeper.

He‘e Detection and Catching

Ability to spot a he‘e, draw him out and capture him.

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