July – Hinaiaʻeleʻele/Ikiiki


July sees the rise of the Manaiakalani constellation (Scorpio), also called Maui’s fish hook, in the southeastern sky. This is also the month when pandanus fruit of the hala tree ripen, which marks sea urchins carrying eggs. This means uhu (parrotfish) start eating the sea urchins, meaning it is a good time to fish for uhu over 14 inches long. Those smaller than 14 inches must be released so the young can grow. Can you see how Hawaiians used one environmental indicator, the pandanus fruit ripening, to determine the best time for an action (fishing for uhu, parrotfish)?

Pala ka hala, momona ka hāʻukeʻuke
When the pandanus fruit ripens, the sea urchin is fat

Pandanus fruit from the Hala tree, which ripens in July and signals that (1) the urchins are carrying eggs and (2) uhu (parrotfish) fishing is good. Source: atlasobscura.com

Manaiakalani constellation (Scorpio). Can you see why Hawaiians call it Maui’s fish hook? Source: Jimmy Westlake, SteamboatPilot

July is also when pua awa (juvenile milkfish) are close to shore, and is the best month to stock fishponds with awa (also called kava) plants, which are used to make a psychoactive, non-alcoholic drink. 

There are more than 15 varieties of the awa (kava) drink in Hawaii, many of which have been consumed for centuries in all of Polynesia. Source: holualoa inn

Sources: Project Kāhea Loko – A Teacher’s Guide to Hawaiian Fishponds; 2016 Hawaiian Lunar Calendar (Classroom edition) by Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council