Maui Arts & Entertainment

Photo Exhibit for 20th Anniversary of Kahoʻolawe’s Return

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He Moku Poina 'Ole, An Island Not Forgotten. Event poster.

He Moku Poina ‘Ole, An Island Not Forgotten. Event poster.

By Maui Now Staff

A photo exhibit celebrating the 20 year anniversary of the return of the Island of Kahoʻolawe to the people of Hawaiʻi will open to the public on Friday, Oct. 10, 2014, at the Bailey House Museum in Wailuku.

The exhibit, entitled “He Moku Poina ʻOle, An Island Not Forgotten” shares photos that document the critical moment when the island was returned.

It will remain open through Nov. 3, 2014, and will accompany a month of information and outreach events held in conjunction with the exhibit.

The showing features images by acclaimed photographers Wayne Levin, Franco Salmoiraghi, David Ulrich, and writer and archaeologist Rowland Reeve.


The exhibit, presented by the Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission, includes a selection of material from two collections: the Bishop Museum’s 1996 collection, Kahoʻolawe: Rebirth of a Sacred Hawaiian Island; and the Smithsonian Institution’s 2002 collection, Ke Aloha Kūpaʻa I Ka ʻĀina – Steadfast Love for the Land.


“We see hosting this exhibition as a great way to strengthen our relationship with the KIRC, with whom we share many volunteers and informational resources, as well as to voice to locals and visitors that we are a viable and valuable resource to our community,” said Sissy Lake-Farm, Maui Historical Society/Bailey House Museum executive director in a joint press release announcing the exhibit. “This event supports our mission to collect, preserve, study, interpret, and share the history and heritage of Maui while letting our audience know that we are here to be a platform for community exchange,” she said.

KIRC public information specialist Kelly McHugh said the exhibit is an important outreach event. “With a 2+ (year) volunteer wait-list and a rapidly developing community cleanup program at our Kīhei Boat House property — where we are developing an educational walking trail, native plant nursery and traditional hale for community-based programs — there is a clear demand for Kahoʻolawe information and involvement.”

As part of the exhibit, there will be a free opening reception with the artists, talk story sessions, and opportunities for schools and community groups to participate.


In explaining the significance of the exhibit theme “He Moku Poina ʻOle, An Island Not Forgotten,” Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission cultural resources project coordinator Kui Gapero said, “The idea is not to approach the name as a translation, but instead as two separate statements; one is that the island never forgets (personifying the island in the context of Kanaloa, Hawaiian deity of the ocean) versus people not forgetting the island (as in “He aliʻi ka ʻāina; he kauwā ke kanaka” — the land is a chief; man is its servant). Land has no need for man — but man needs the land and works it for a livelihood. The island never forgets AND it’s an island not forgotten. This is Kahoʻolawe.”

According to executives at the Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission, the island of Kahoʻolawe is considered sacred to Hawaiians as the embodiment of the ocean deity, Kanaloa. It has traditionally been revered as a wahi pana (legendary place) and a puʻuhonua (place of refuge), as well as a navigational center for voyaging.

KIRC executives also say the island is the site of the state’s second largest adze quarry, and also served as an agricultural center and a place for religious and cultural ceremonies.

The KIRC was formed in 1994 as the US Navy conveyed the island to the state. It was tasked with restoring the island and its waters, as well as providing a meaningful and safe use of the island for traditional and cultural practices.

On another note, there are two public discussions regarding the future of Kahoʻolawe have been scheduled for tonight and next week Thursday on Maui. The public meetings are scheduled at the following times and locations:

  • Thursday, Sept. 11 (6 to 8:30 p.m.): at Lihikai Elementary School, 335 South Papa Avenue in Kahului. Hosted by the Kahoʻolawe: 2026 Working Group
  • Thursday, Sept. 18 (6 to 8:30 p.m.): at the Lahaina Civic Center, 1840 Honoapiʻilani Hwy in West Maui. Hosted by the Kahoʻolawe: 2026 Working Group

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