June – Kaʻaōna/Ka’elo


June is known as the month with the calmest weather. With plentiful food and little storms, June has commonly been the best time for Hawaiians to build a hale (house), surfboard, or canoe. This is also the month when fishermen fish closer to shore, as the waves are calmer. Ulu (breadfruit) and he’e (octopus) are most abundant in June, so many will fish for them near the shore along steep cliffs. 

Hua ka ‘ulu ku mai ka he’e
When the breadfruit is ripe, the octopus comes in

Ulu, breadfruit. Source: HomesteadinHawaii.com

June is a good month for building surfboards, as the weather is calm and sunny. Pictured is a Hawaiian man carrying a alaia board (pre-20th century surfboard) made from the wood of a Koa Tree. Source: HAWAII Magazine, from the Bishop Museum

June is also the best month for deep-sea fishing for aku (Skipjack Tuna), also called “flowers of the lehua tree,” due to the fact the fish are seen as soon as lehua trees bloom. As it was considered bad luck for fishermen to explicitly say they were fishing or to directly refer to what fish they hoped to catch, many Hawaiians simply referred to the Aku fish as the “flower of the lehua tree.” The Kona region of Hawai’i island has a saying for June, connecting the blooming of the lehua trees with aku fishing, 

Ola aku la ka ʻāina kaha, ua pua ka lehua i kai
Life has come to the kaha lands, for the lehua blooms are seen at sea

Ohio Lehua Tree in Blossom. In Kona, Hawaii, when the lehua flower blossomed, it was a good time to catch the Aku fish. Source: Bishop Museum

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