‘Āina Momona is a Native Hawaiian 501(c)(3) organization founded by Walter Ritte for the purpose of achieving environmental health and sustainability through restoring social justice and Hawaiian sovereignty. ʻĀina Momona is not affiliated with any religious institution. We are led by a board of exceptional Native Hawaiians that support the critical work of our talented staff who work in grassroots communities to restore fragile ecosystems, promote cultural rights and practices, enhance community well-being, and advocate for native rights and social justice.
Keawanui Fishpond and Cultural Learning Center
‘Āina Momona is based out of Keawanui Fishpond and Cultural Learning Center on the east end of Moloka‘i in the Ka‘amola ahupua‘a. In partnership with Kamehameha Schools, we manage a 55-acre ancestral Hawaiian fishpond and 8 acres of agricultural land.
Our community-led efforts are focused on erosion mitigation and traditional food system revitalization. It is our primary goal to conduct full-scale ahupua‘a restoration led by community members, to transform degraded environments into places of momona, of bounty, once again.
Due to the ongoing effects of colonization, land development, and climate change there are few fishponds in Hawaiʻi today that are still operable, though many in the community are working to revitalize these crucial, mariculture practices.
Our executive director, Walter Ritte, has spent over 25 years working to restore loko iʻa (Hawaiian fishponds) and has spent decades at Keawanui educating the community on the value and ingenuity of these systems. As we work towards building a sustainable, climate change resistant future in Hawaiʻi, the traditional loko iʻa system will be a vital part of local food production efforts and crucial to our survival as kānaka. It is paramount that we revitalize and reinvigorate these practices to create a just, equitable, and pono future.
ʻĀina Momona's staff work year round to maintain and restore Keawanui, engaging with the wisdom left to us by our kūpuna and carrying it forward for future generations.