Maui News

Annual ʻŌhiʻa Love Fest to Go Virtual on Nov. 16

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‘Ōhi’a are the backbone of our native rainforest; they feed the honeycreepers, they protect the watershed. Photo credit: DLNR.

Hilo’s annual ʻŌhiʻa Love Fest will be celebrating its fourth year virtually from Monday, Nov. 16 through Saturday, Nov. 21. The week-long virtual event will celebrate Hawai‘i’s most ecologically and culturally important tree species, ‘ōhi‘a lehua.

The full schedule and links for workshop registrations are available online.

‘Ōhi‘a lovers of all ages will be treated to a fun-filled and educational week of workshops, videos, arts, crafts and cultural sharing. All activities are free, but some do require advance registration.


‘Ōhi‘a is critical to providing the water communities drink, keeping ocean reefs clean and is important to the native Hawaiian culture.

‘Ōhi‘a is currently under threat from two deadly fungal pathogens, resulting in a disease known as Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death. Included in the week’s activities will be information about how ROD spreads and the actions needed to protect remaining healthy ʻōhiʻa.

Below are just a few of the week’s events. Those marked with an asterisk require advanced registration here.

  • How to grow ‘ōhi‘a in residential yards and community gardens by JC Watson of ‘Ōhi‘a Legacy Initiative on Monday, Nov. 16 at 10 a.m.*
  • “A Day in the Life of the ‘Ōhi‘a Field Crew” by the Big Island Invasive Species Committee on Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 10 a.m.*
  • “Cultural Importance of ‘Ōhi‘a: Past and Present” from Bishop Museum’s cultural experts on Wednesday, Nov. 18 at 1p.m.*
  • How to identify ‘ōhi‘a by species and variety by Dr. JB Friday of the UH Cooperative Extension Service on Thursday, Nov. 19 at 10 a.m.*
  • How to collect ‘ōhi‘a seeds to help preserve these trees for future generations by Marian Chau of Kalehua Consulting on Friday, Nov. 20 at 10 a.m.*
  • How to grow your own lei garden with Lei Wann of Limahuli Garden National Tropical Botanical Garden on Saturday, Nov. 21 at 10 a.m.*
  • The three-time Emmy award-winning film “Saving ‘Ōhi‘a – Hawai‘i’s Sacred Tree,” a documentary about the fight against the ROD disease. Attendees are encouraged to engage with and ask questions to ROD scientists live.

Beginning today and while supplies last a free keiki crafts kit will be available at the following public libraries. The kits include a coloring book, field guide, crafts and a sticker.

Hawai‘i Island

  • Hilo Public Library


  • Wailuku Public Library and Hawai‘i State Library


  • Hanapēpē Public Library
  • Kapa‘a Public Library
  • Kōloa Public Library
  • Līhuʻe Public Library
  • Princeville Public Library
  • Waimea Public Library

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