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Nā Kilo ‘Āina refers to the watchers and observers of our sustenance. Kilo were people that made detailed observations of the nuances of their surroundings in relation to their cultural practice and livelihood. They were extremely conscious of the activities of their environment influenced by location, season, and lunar phase. Kilo were residents of the community looked to for advice and direction because of their understanding of cycles, characteristics, and happenings of place. They were recognized by their communities because of their expertise and knowledge and were looked to for guidance when communities would work together in sustaining themselves. ‘Āina refers to our source of sustenance - the places and things that feed us, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. These are comprised of our lands and oceans. Nā Kilo ‘Āina supports the evolution of how we live and interact with our natural environment. Nā Kilo ‘Āina supports community in re-establishing traditional relationships and understandings of place and assists in defining what and who a contemporary mauka/makai dweller/steward is and their role within the community.


The overall goal of the Nā Kilo ‘Āina is to promote a more holistic approach to management and to empower our communities to take an active, familial role in the health and balance of their environment. This is achieved through providing access to multiple tools such as this online knowledgebase, and through supporting a community of observers. It is founded on traditional Hawaiian knowledge systems and incorporates modern science to address questions of cultural importance from community. One of the main questions is, how do we understand our ‘āina well enough that we can foster a healthy, sustainable relationship with it? Rooted in holistic Hawaiian worldview, Nā Kilo ‘Āina addresses this question through coupling indigenous Hawaiian and modern scientific styles of research, monitoring and practice to build a baseline of holistic environmental health and associated changes over time. This network is part of a concept developed by Nā Maka o Papahānaumokuākea to help initiate an evolution of change for research and management and support Nā Kilo ‘Āina (observers of our sustenance). Nā Kilo ‘Āina represent the strengthening of our community watchers and observers who understand the needs of our community (people and place) and provide direction to ensure that ‘āina sustains us into the future.

Who can use Nā Kilo ‘Āina?

Everyone is encouraged to join our community of observers. You can either join as an individual documenting observations in specific geographic communities or create a group to do the same. After you register, you will have the option to develop relationships and share your observations with other groups within your geographic communities and beyond.

As an observer or group, your observations are only visible to yourself and those you allow access to view your observations. Each community may have sensitive information they may not want public (i.e. schools of highly prized fish, rare and endangered plants, etc) or may only want to share with specific people and/or communities. This privacy/sharing setting will allow individuals/communities to pick and choose who, what, where, how, and when that will happen.

*groups are encouraged to discuss their observations and have one person input the observations of the entire group in one dated record. This allows the sharing of perspectives, observations, and experience rapidly increasing individual growth.

How can I register?

Go to the "sign up" above and fill in the form.

History of Nā Kilo ‘Āina

Nā Kilo ʻĀina online observation network and knowledge-base is based on the ideas, research, and activities of Nā Maka O Papahānaumokuākea. We also acknowledge those who contributed to the conversation, concept, and design: University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Ethnobotany Program, Kaʻūpūlehu Dryland Forest Restoration and Education Project, University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant, University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, SAND Camp, Kaʻūpūlehu community, and Kamehameha Schools. Technical support from the Joseph F. Rock Herbarium. Funding is from the Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative.

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