Beyond the Boundaries
Shaped by island geography, ahupuaʻa varied in shape and size (from as little as 100-acres to more than 100,000-acres.) The emphasis on economic self-sufficiency in Hawaiian ahupua‘a resonates in our modern world with concerns for environmental and economic sustainability.
Even though they were capable of being self-sufficient in stone resources, Hawaiians chose to import a significant quantity of high-quality volcanic rock, either as raw material or as finished adzes from areas beyond their ahupuaʻa. This exchange economy may also have consisted of perishable materials (ie, salt, fiber plants and cordage, lauhala matting, large hardwood logs for canoe hulls, and the red and yellow feathers of certain species of forest birds.)