This program explores the issues surrounding the allocation of water that flows in the Waiāhole Ditch on the island of O‘ahu. The title comes from an old saying referring to the stubbornness of the people of Waiāhole valley. This program documents their determination to regain the water that was taken from windward streams in the early 1900's to irrigate sugar plantations on the drier leeward side.
Stream ecosystems are seen close up during a visit to Waiāhole stream with two young Hawaiians who discover ‘ōpae, a native shrimp. The special qualities of the ‘o‘opu (goby) are studied by aquatic biologists at Hakalau stream on Hawai‘i island, while ocean fishermen describe the important connection between the health of the streams and that of the surrounding coastal areas.
The link between water and the cultivation of taro, the staple food of Native Hawaiians, is brought out through a historical look at what happened to the windward valleys, streams and communities in 1916 when the Waiāhole Ditch first began to transport water to leeward sugar plantations. Today’s taro growers call for returning the water so that the extensive agricultural systems developed by earlier Hawaiians can once again produce food for local residents.
But developers want the ditch water for golf courses and commercial and resort development. Issues such as limits to growth, sewage recycling and preserving family-based agriculture are addressed by community members and public officials alike.
Native Hawaiian tradition regarding the use of water are presented as a background to understanding contemporary law and recent court rulings.
Kia Fronda, Calvin Hoe, Charlene Hoe, Liko Hoe, Kaipo Faris, Charlie Reppun, Robert Nishimoto, Bryson Fernandez, Albert Badiyo, Marion Kelly, Nohealani Wallace, Kalani Apuakehau, Katherine Vandemoer, Jim Anthony.
Kawai Hoe, Kala Hoe, Kamaehu Apuakehau, Tommy Young, Kinau Kamali’i, Lilikala Kame‘eleihiwa, Ipo Tano, Eric Enos, Guy Nakamoto, Herbert Hoe, Meala Bishop, George Hudes, John Reppun, Denise Antolini, Ira Rohter, David Martin, Robert Nakata, John Kilbey, Jimmy Todd, Zun Ibaca, Consortia Basan, Arlene Eaton, Rodolfo Ramos, Yukio Kitagawa, Bruce Anderson, Jack Keppeler, Chester Lao, William Paty, Herman Lemke, George Hiu, Rae Loui, Kanamu Kanekoa, Nicole McInerny, Bert Hatton, Ron Albu, Ed Sakoda, James Nakatani, Michael Wilson, Jade Moon, Angela Keen, Marvin Buenconsejo.
Produced by Nā Maka o ka ‘Āina
in association with the Native Hawaiian Advisory Council.
Executive Producer: Elizabeth Ho’oipo Pa
Music by Peter Medeiros
Still photographs: Anne Kapulani Landgraf
Length: 59 minutes
Silver Maile Award
Hawai’i International Film Festival, 1996
“Best Global Indigenous" category
"Alanis Obomsawin" category
Dreamspeakers Festival • Alberta, Canada
Free Speech TV
public access channels on all islands
Media study collection, National Museum of the American Indian