HONOLULU - From Mauka to Makai, the Kanewai Spring in Kuliouou has long been a treasured site.

Once a central area for ancient Hawaiians, the waters flow into the nearby fishpond and Paiko Lagoon Wildlife Sanctuary.

"This is where it all starts; all the magic happens. Comes out of the ground and flows out through the Makaha," said Maunalua Heritage Center worker, Chris Kramer.

Since 2010, the non-profit Maunalua Fishpond Heritage Center worked with community volunteers and school groups to care for the site, but once the property went up for sale, private investors showed interest to subdivide and re-develop the land.  The interest motivated The Trust for Public Land and Maunalua Fishpond Heritage Center to safeguard Kanewai Spring.  They teamed up with the city and state to buy it once and for all.

"No longer is this a place for a rich person to live. But for everyone to live and become richer because of it," said Honolulu Mayor, Kirk Caldwell.

The cost was a pretty even split. 1.3 million came from the State's Legacy and Conservation Program. One million from the City's Clean Water and Natural Lands Program. The purchase now restricts the property from further development, ensuring access to the community.

14-year-old Ella Gibson has been volunteering at Kanewai Spring for two years, she says it's a place with meaning. 

Gibson said, "it's like a feeling in your heart that you know you are doing what is right for your culture and your people."

The community wants others to join in this feeling to grow and replenish all things natural. This way the people are working together to serve the same purpose, helping keep properties like the Kanewai Spring Preservation center alive.  

"And so that's a really special experience that we don't want to end with our generation. We want everyone in the future to be able to have a chance to come and feel really a kind of peace that you have when you're here at Kanewai," said Laura Kaakua, Native Lands Project Manager for the Trust for Public Land.

There are no immediate plans to restore the lone structure on the property. The main focus is maintaining and preserving the fresh water spring.