Five Streams
Nawiliwili Bay once had five streams. Today, one only flows when it rains, and one has been redirected through a concrete channel. In this section we will look at the land that is the source of water for streams, the relationship between ahupua'a and 'ainakumuwai, and the name and location of each stream entering Nawiliwili Bay.
Most of the water in streams comes from the mountains. There, the rainfall either runs off the land into the stream, or percolates (slowly filters) through the soil into the groundwater. Groundwater discharge into the stream is the main source of a stream's flow during dry periods.(Sugar Water)
'Ainakumuwai means the land that is the source of the water, and this is what a watershed is. The land that drains or percolates its rainfall into a stream is the watershed, or 'ainakumuwai, for that stream.

An ahupua'a is a Hawaiian land division that runs from the mountains to the reef. It provided all the materials that Hawaiians needed to live. Often an ahupua'a might be the watershed for its stream, although they are not always the same.

To the right is a drawing of an ahupua'a and the resources that it provided.

Ahupua'a painting by Marilyn Kahalewai

A watershed takes its boundaries from the land that drains into a particular stream, while ahupua'a boundaries divide the resources among the people. Nawiliwili Bay is unusual, because only two of its five ahupua'a have boundaries vaguely similar to those of their stream's watershed. In other moku 'aina, the watersheds and ahupua'a are more similar.

Map Courtesy of Ho'okipa Network
Click to see which ahupua'a boundary matches that of its watershed

Hule'ia is the largest stream flowing into Nawiliwili Bay. It travels through the ahupua'a of Ha'iku and Kipu before it reaches the small boat harbor. Hule'ia's old name was Hula'ia, which means pushed through - this meaning is associated with a close encounter of Pele and Kamapua'a.
(Frederick B. Wichman)
Photo courtesy of Randy Wichman
Pu'ali Stream also enters the bay near the small boat harbor. Its path is through the ahupua'a of Ha'iku and Niumalu. While the literal meaning of Pu'ali is tied, this is said to refer to a warrior's habit of tying his malo (male's loincloth) at the waist so no flap would dangle for a foe to seize.
(Frederick B. Wichman)
This is what Pu'ali looked like around 1928. Notice the agricultural pond fields on both sides.
"We use to swim in Pu'ali Stream by Niumalu bridge....dive off the bridge kind. It had depth, not now! The water was clean. Right around coral pile was always clean, could see the crab walking in the net." (Cheryl Lovell -Obatake) Akoni McGee says he remembers swimming in a deep and clear Pu'ali Stream as late as the 1980's.
Photo courtesy of the Kaua'i Historical Society
X marks the beginning and end of the valley cut by Papalinahoa Stream. The Hale Kauai baseyard now occupies the area fronting Nawiliwili Bay in this photo When the jetty was built, Papalinahoa entered the bay beneath the pier. Papalinahoa no longer flows all year round - its ground water is tapped by a well, and its surface water is diverted for use on a golf course. Papalinahoa Stream traveled along the edge of the ahupua'a of Nawiliwili.

Papalinahoa Waterfall -
kind of dry these days.
Nawiliwili Stream enters Kalapaki Bay after flowing through the ahupua'a of Nawiliwili past the old sugar mill. This is a popular location for children to swim, although the microorganism Leptospirosis is always a potential threat to their health. Nawiliwili was named after the abundant wiliwili trees in the area. Another meaning of wiliwili is turning in all directions, and this well describes the stream's meandering path.

is the secret stream. It once entered Kalapaki Bay through the middle of the beach. Now it flows underground through concrete channels below the hotel. It flowed through the ahupua'a of Kalapaki. To the left, we can see where Koenaawanui entered Kalapaki Bay, next to the rock, Mokuweo.
Photo courtesy of Cheryl Lovell-Obatake
Photo courtesy of the Kaua'i Historical Society
X marks the beginning of the valleys cut by the two streams of Kalapaki, and their entrance into the ocean. Koenaawanui is on the left. According to Hobey Goodale, the stream on the right would flow as long as the cane was irrigated.
Nawiliwili has five streams. In a later section we will examine them as health indicators for our ahupua'a. Now, let's look at the noted places, or wahi pana, of Nawiliwili Bay.
Created June 2001