Haleakalā National Park’s First Commercial-Free Day Set for July 18

July 16, 2015, 8:20 AM HST · Updated July 16, 8:33 AM
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Sunrise at Haleakalā. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Sunrise at Haleakalā. Photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

The first of five commercial-free days at Haleakalā National Park will occur on Saturday, July 18, 2015.  The date is in observance of Lolopua, one of two days commonly known as zenith or Lahaina Noon.

According to information compiled by the Bishop Museum’s Jhamandas Watumull Planetarium, the sun passes directly overhead twice during the year, a phenomenon that occurs only in the tropics.  During this event, an upright object will have no shadow.

The last time the event occurred on Maui was on May 18, 2015.  The planetarium lists the upcoming times of Lahaina Noon in Maui County as: Kaunakakai, Molokaʻi, Thursday, July 16, 2015, 12:34 p.m.; Lānaʻi City, Lānaʻi, Saturday, July 18, 12:34 p.m.; Lahaina, Maui, Saturday, July 18, 2015, 12:33 p.m.; Kahului, Maui, Saturday, July 18, 2015, 12:32 p.m.; and Hāna, Maui, Saturday, July 18, 2015, 12:30 p.m.

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As specified in the park’s Commercial Services Plan, commercial-free days are opportunities for Kanaka Maoli to conduct traditional cultural practices in the park without commercial tours present.

Park staff note that although no commercial tours will be allowed on July 18, the park will remain open to all visitors.

Park officials say they sought input from Native Hawaiian staff, community members, and the park’s kūpuna group in determining the following commercial free dates:

  • Lolopua, July 18, 2015: one of the two days commonly known as zenith noon;
  • Makali’i, Hilo Moon, Nov. 12, 2015: Start of Makahiki as determined using Bishop Museum’s Planetarium calendar;
  • Ka’elo, Huna Moon, Dec. 22, 2015: Winter solstice;
  • Nana, Muku Moon, March 9, 2016: End of Makahiki as determined using Bishop Museum’s Planetarium calendar;
  • Iki’Iki, Akua Moon, June 21, 2016: Summer solstice.

“We are really hoping the community will take advantage of these commercial-free days to come to their park,” said Superintendent Natalie Gates in a NPS press release. “We are also looking for ways to improve the experience if possible,” she said.

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