"The Fish-Attracting Stone" Discussion
The legend of Kahaloa is an example of how someone not taught by his father could still become a great lawai'a. Kahaloa was chosen by his particular fish stone to provide his community with fish. Although Kahaloa was not described as being a well-trained lawai'a he still followed traditional beliefs and guidelines. Strict guidelines always followed by lawai'a were those concerning kapu (restrictions). In "The Fish-Attracting Stone," the stone told Kahaloa where to find a school of 'ōpelu, a fish placed under strict kapu. 'Ōpelu along with aku, were two fish that led one of Hawai'i's first great priests to the islands from Tahiti. To fish for them while they were spawning was highly illegal and punishment was often death. The fish spawned at different times of the year and only the species that was not spawning could be caught at any time of the year. This protected the 'ōpelu and aku stocks from being fished while they were using all of their energy to made and produce young. Kapu was perhaps the most significant form of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) held by the Hawaiians. The practice of placing kapu on different species of fish during certain seasons of the year kept their stocks plentiful for all to enjoy.
Also, Kahaloa was sure to present the first fish from his catch to the akua and provide everyone with food. Thus keeping with traditional religious beliefs and feeding everyone so nothing went to waste.