Ahu Lani Sanctuary Welcomes the Polynesian Voyaging Society to its Forestry and Education Center June 6-7

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Ahu Lani Sanctuary hosts the Polynesian Voyaging Society

Selecting Native Hawaiian Plants for Grove

Ahu Lani represents the mauka, or upper mountain section of the ahupua'a. The Polynesian Voyaging Society represents the makai, or ocean part.

Ahu Lani Sanctuary, a forestry and education center located on the slopes of Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii, will host the Polynesian Voyaging Society June 6-7 as the Society continues the Hawaii leg of its world-wide canoe voyage dubbed Malama Honua, or "helping the Earth".

Navigators, educators, scientists and crew members of the Polynesian Voyaging Society will plant a grove of koa trees (Acacia Koa) and other native Hawaiian forest plants at Ahu Lani Sanctuary, emblematic of both the central role that Mauna Kea plays in Hawaiian navigation, and the key historical role that koa played in the construction of voyaging canoes.

For canoes approaching Hawai‘i from Tahiti to the south, Mauna Kea is often the first point of land visible to voyagers. Ahu Lani Sanctuary is situated at 3000' elevation on these slopes. The Polynesian Voyaging Society's canoes Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia are currently touring the Big Island on the Hawaii portion of their World Wide Voyage, which will take them around the world over the next several years.

Ancient Hawaiian canoes were made of koa logs that may have been harvested from the vast koa forest that once thrived here. After 200 years of cattle grazing, most of the original forest here has been replaced by grasslands.

Ahu Lani Sanctuary is reviving a native Hawaiian forest by planting koa, ‘ōhi‘a lehua, and 24 other native trees and plants. "What we’re doing is a simple step toward the recovery of this watershed," explained John Lindelow, co-owner of the sanctuary. "Ahu Lani represents the mauka, or upper mountain section of the ahupua'a. The Polynesian Voyaging Society represents the makai, or ocean part."

The ahupua'a is a Hawaiian land sub-division usually consisting of a "slice" of island from mountains to sea. Reflecting the modern understanding of watersheds, the health of the coastal area depends on the health of the forests above, which hold, filter, and regulate rain water and streams, preventing catastrophic runoff which destroys coral reefs.

For more information:

Ahu Lani Sanctuary: http://ahulani.com

The Polynesian Voyaging Society Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia: http://hokulea.org
Press contact for Ahu Lani Sanctuary:
John Lindelow

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