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Title: WRRCPR No.96-02 Water: Its Meaning and Management in Pre-Contact Hawaii 
Author: Franco, Robert W.
Date: 1995-08
Publisher: Water Resources Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Citation: Franco RW. 1995. Water: its meaning and management in pre-contact Hawaii. Honolulu (HI): Water Resources Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa. WRRC project report, 96-02.
Abstract: Since Wittfogel's controversial theory linking irrigation with "oriental despotism," western archaeologists
have focused a great deal of attention on early forms of irrigation and water management. During
the late prehistoric period in ancient Hawaii, irrigation and other water management practices supported
the sociopolitical evolution of a proto-state formation, and archaeological interpretations of these
developments have dominated the literature. This report uses the archaeological data as a point of
departure in an analysis of the meaning and management of water. Woven into the archaeological data
is an analysis of Hawaiian chants, legends, and proverbs in an attempt to better understand the meaning
of water to the indigenous people of the Hawaiian islands. This report is based on the premise that
intraisland (windward-leeward) and interisland (geological-hydrological) variation produced localized
meanings of water, particularly as they were related to the characters of Kane, Kanaloa, Lono, and Ku.
Further, these meanings changed over time, largely in relation to population growth, production
intensification, and increasing sociopolitical complexity.
Series/Report No.: WRRC Project Reports
Sponsorship: U.S. Department of the Interior Geological Survey Grant/Contract No. 14-08-0001-G1558
Pages/Duration: x + 76 pages
Keywords: water management, water use, irrigation ditches, water supply development, fish ponds, water rights, processual cultural ecology, ethnohistory, pondfield terraces, Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Kauai, Hawaii
LC Subject Headings: Hawaiian gods.
Water -- Mythology -- Hawaii.
Water rights -- Hawaii.
Water-supply -- Hawaii.

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