One of the great achievements of the ancient Hawaiians in this region is evidenced in the agricultural Kōloa Field System. Its makeup and design tells us much of the pre‐contact world and the ingenuity of the ancient’s planning, architecture, and their agricultural and social systems.
This agricultural system which at its peak covered over 1,000 acres extends from the present Kōloa town to the shoreline and includes a complex of wet and dryland agricultural fields and associated habitation sites. Although soil deposits are thin and the land is rocky, plentiful irrigation water was available from several upper streams.
Its elements include parallel and branching ʻauwai (irrigation ditches,) terraced loʻi (taro growing ponds,) and dryland plots. Later intensification includes aqueducted ʻauwai, irrigated mound fields, and subdivision of lo’i and kula plots.
The Kōloa System, at its apex in the early 19th century (probably due to the opportunity for provisioning of the whaling ships,) represents one of the most intensive cultural landscapes in Hawaiʻi.