Friday, May 1, 2015

Announcing Our First Mahinaʻai Night

The Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission (KIRC) will be presenting its (first) Mahinaʻai Night on Saturday, May 9, 2015 at its Kihei boat house property; an 8-acre parcel designated to them in 2002 as the future site of a Kahoʻolawe learning center.

The first in a series of full moon events geared to raise awareness of and access to Kahoʻolawe, the event offers a guided tour of our new walking trail, live music by UH Maui College's Institute of Hawaiian Music, food vendors, an opportunity to talk story with experts in Kahoʻolawe history, restoration and culture and the unveiling of a 40-foot mural; a collaboration between Kihei Charter School and Maui artist Valentin Miro-Quesada. This program is made possible by a new grant made through the Maui County Product Enrichment Program (CPEP).

Our Kihei site is the first point of contact for all community volunteers accessing Kahoʻolawe, as it is where our vessel - the ʻOhua, the primary means of Kahoʻolawe transport - is housed. Cultivating the area responds to a strong demand for information and shared experiences for those that cannot commit to the 4-day volunteer restoration access trips on-island. We see this as an important step in strengthening understanding of and connection to Kahoʻolawe for all residents and visitors.

With grant support through the Atherton Family Foundation, Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority and Hawaiʻi Community Foundation, hundreds of Maui residents and visitors have volunteered their time during monthly Kākoʻo iā Kahoʻolawe work days to create the Kahoʻolawe educational walking trail, a native plant nursery that will propagate plants for both the Kihei site and for Kahoʻolawe and a traditional hale for Kahoʻolawe education and outreach activities - all of which will be unveiled at the Mahinaʻai Night event. Upon hearing about these opportunities to support Kahoʻolawe projects right here on Maui, independent groups such as Haleakalā National Park's Pōhai Maile High School Internship Program, the Kamehameha Schools Ipukukui program and the staff of Four Seasons Resort Maui have scheduled additional work days at the site - a testament to the value of sharing the Kahoʻolawe experience with the larger community.

A standout amongst these groups is the 7th & 8th grade classes of Kihei Charter School, who have adopted the Mālama Kahoʻolawe curriculum, developed by the Pacific American Foundation in partnership with the Protect Kahoʻolawe Ohana, the Polynesian Voyaging Society, and the Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission, and have spent 2 mornings each week over the last year applying their lessons at the KIRC's Kihei site.

"For the seventh and eighth graders at Kihei Charter School, this is an opportunity to work with real scientists, historians, and preservationists in the field, getting their hands dirty, and making meaningful connections between the things they learn in class and the world around them," stated former director Jen Fordyce, "For some of our kids, it is the best part of coming to school (and the kind of experience that will hopefully keep them from dropping out in the future).  I have seen boys who are completely unable to focus and keep their hands to themselves in class proudly carrying the heaviest branches and digging the biggest holes to make a contribution to this project.  They give tours of the site as if it were their own home."

Mahina`ai Night: Saturday, May 9, 2015 (6 - 8 PM) / Free & open to the public / Park at the Kihei Boat Ramp and follow signs for The Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission (KIRC) to their boat house site (2780 South Kihei Road). RSVP's are requested, but not required at or

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