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This Kauaʻi family has been harvesting and sharing salt for generations

Hanapēpē salt flats
Kuʻulei Gaisoa
Hanapēpē salt flats

Salt, or paʻakai, has held a significant place in Hawaiʻi’s history for decades. Native Hawaiians used sea salt to season and preserve food not just for storage on land, but also to provide nourishment during ocean voyages. It was also used for religious and ceremonial purposes and as medicine.

This week, The Conversation is highlighting salt stories and how salt is produced around the state. We kicked off the series with a taste of the old school on Kauaʻi.

Ku’ulei Gaisoa and her family have been harvesting paʻakai for generations from the Hanapēpē salt flats. They sit on a clay field along Kauaʻi's southern coast near the runway for Port Allen Airport. Gaisoa shared the process of harvesting the salt and what makes it so unique.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Dec. 5, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Russell Subiono is the executive producer of The Conversation and host of HPR's This Is Our Hawaiʻi podcast. Born in Honolulu and raised on Hawaiʻi Island, he’s spent the last decade working in local film, television and radio. Contact him at talkback@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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