The island of Maui is comprised of 12-moku (districts,) that are made up of a number of ahupuaʻa. The moku of Wailuku makes up an area known as Nā Wai ʻEhā ("The Four Great Waters") – Waiheʻe River, Waiehu Stream, Wailuku (ʻĪao) Stream and Waikapū Stream. (Waikapū Stream is the only Nā Wai ‘Ehā stream that drains to the southern coast of Maui.)
The fertile kalo terraces, complex system of irrigation ʻauwai (ditches) and abundant fresh water from this area sustained Hawaiian culture for 1,000-years. Due to abundant water and fertile lands, there was substantial settlement between the 300- and 600-foot elevation at Waikapū. By 1866, a letter published in the Hawaiian language newspaper Nūpepa Kūʻokoʻa lamented “the current condition of once cultivated taro patches being dried up by the foreigners, where they are now planting sugar cane”.