Maui Arts & Entertainment

Maui Botanical Gardens is site of two-day ʻawa workshop

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The cultivation, harvesting and processing of awa will be demonstrated this weekend at Maui Botanical Gardens from visiting expert Ka’iana Runnells of The Kohala Center.

A two-day workshop about how to plant, harvest and process ʻawa into a drink will take place at the Maui Botanical Gardens this weekend.

The workshop occurs Saturday, May 7, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sunday, May 8, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

ʻAwa, also known as kava, or by its scientific name Piper methysticum, was an important medicine and ceremonial beverage in early Hawaiʻi.

A bag is used to strewn awa into a ceremonial bowl.

It has been used as a sacred offering within traditional Hawaiian religious ceremonies, and can be made into a ceremonial drink.

It continues to be used as a sedative and to induce relaxation and sleep, especially when combined with lomi lomi or Hawaiian massage.


The workshops will be taught by Kaʻiana Runnels, farming supervisor for The Kohala Center on Hawaiʻi Island.


The first day, “Growing Hawaiian ʻAwa,” will explore the heritage Hawaiian varieties of ʻawa by covering variety identification, planting methods, pest and disease control, and plant uses. On the second day, “ʻAwa Harvesting & Preparation,” participants will dig up a two-year-old ʻawa plant and learn to clean, cut, and process the rootstock for consumption.

For more information about the price of the workshops, go to or call 808-249-2798.

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