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Planning a visit to Kauai? We regularly add news and information about events, activities, and places to see on The Garden Isle.

About The Author

Sheila Heathcote has lived in Hawaii since 1986. She's a published author on the topic of Kauai and the owner of Hale O Nanakai Bed & Breakfast.

Kauai's Sights, Activities, & Events


Ancient Hawaiian Village to Become "Cultural Center” at the Gateway to Poipu Beach

Over the summer months, many have been watching closely as the restoration project, involving a significant ancient Hawaiian village, got under way at the corner of Poipu and Hoowili Roads. Many believed it was simply a capital improvement project along the roadside, but as the new perimeter wall took shape and culminated with the installation of four beautifully carved Kii, clearly this project was something much more.

Completely encompassed by roadways and encroaching development, the site is largely intact, but in desperate need of rehabilitation. The ancient kahua has suffered instances of flooding, disturbance and theft of sacred rocks. The complex has also succumbed to dense vegetation overgrowth, and its rock walls are deteriorating and partially collapsed. Without the current preservation and repair work, this rare and remarkable heritage site would have been lost.

Kaneiolouma is considered sacred to the Hawaiian culture as well as an important historic landmark for the residents of Kauai. Within the complex, an intricate system of walls and terraces trace the architecture of an ancient way of life. Remnants of house sites, fishponds, taro fields, above ground irrigation channels, shrines, altars and idol sites lie relatively undisturbed near the scene of epic battles and legends spanning a millennium. Near its center, the complex contains what may be the only intact Makahiki (ancient Hawaiian sporting arena) in the state as well as the sacred spring of Waiohai.

Members of the Native Hawaiian group Hui Malama O Kaneiolouma have unofficially cared for Kaneiolouma for more than a decade. The group has an enduring vision and mission to protect, restore, interpret and share Kaneiolouma as a public cultural preserve. Under a Stewardship Agreement signed in August 2010, the County of Kauai has granted formal custodianship of the complex to the group and it is through their leadership and hard work that their vision is now being realized.

The restoration has been planned in four phases and is expected to span the next seven years. Phase One, which commenced earlier this year, involves the completion of the security wall, followed by hurricane debris removal and a comprehensive 3D survey and documentation.

Phase Two, spanning years two and three of the seven year plan, involves wall restoration, the completion of a drainage and flood mitigation plan, creation of interpretive signage and a traffic plan.

Phase Three will begin with the reconstruction of the fishpond, restoration of taro fields and selected house sites connected by pathways, viewing points and interpretive signage will be installed. Upon the completion of Phase Three, the site will be officially opened to the public.

The project will be completed in Phase Four. The final work involves the design and completion of the visitor learning center and integration into the larger Poipu Beach Park complex.

As we watch the day-to-day work, we all realize what a significant project this is not only for the Hawaiian community but for all of us who love and care for Kauai and its special history. Through the passion and dedication of a community working together, Kahua O Kaneiolouma will emerge from hiding as a shining example of what divergent people can accomplish when they work together towards a common goal with Aloha and Lokahi (unity).

Thanks to Makai Properties (www.makaiproperties.com) for the article and great real estate options.


Kaua`i Festivals Continue Throughout October

Article by Pam Woolway from http://www.forkauaionline.com/

Photo by Michael Drake

Three weekends of October are dedicated to the final celebrations of the Kaua`i Aloha Festival season that began the end of August. September and October are the traditional time of Makahiki, a time of peace and celebration.

Oct. 9 is the Auli`i Luau that connects with Kaua`i’s rich history and culture with an ocean front setting at Sheraton Kauai. Enjoy tributes paid to Kaua’i Aloha Festivals and the Royal Court with a procession and offering of ho’okupu (gifts).

Oct. 18 is Na Lima Hana Day. “Na Lima Hana” translates as “many hands working.” There will be cultural and health practitioners offering activities, demonstrations, entertainment and learning experiences, directly following Kaua’i's Royal Court procession and ho’okupu ceremony. Enjoy a “chopped box” food competition too. Located at the Grand Hyatt Kaua’i Resort and Spa.Oct. 19 is Na Mele O Kaumuali’i, a celebration that will show case the legacy of Kaua`i’s last ruling monarch, King Kaumuali`i, through original compositions of songs, chants and poems, complemented with ethnic foods provided by West Kaua`i food establishments. Held in the center of Waimea town.

October 20 is Hale Pule at Kupa’a I Loko Konalima Hawaiian Church in Kekaha, where the West Side community honors Kaua’i's Royal Court with pule (prayers) and mele (songs) to wrap up the Kaua’i Aloha Festivals season. The Kupa’a I Loko Konalima Hawaiian Church is part of the United Congregational Church of Christ. Traditional hymns are sung in English and Hawaiian. For more information, visit kauaialohafestivals.net.

Na Lima Hana Festival 

Hawaiian Culture Celebration Festival in Poipu at Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa on October 17, 18 and 19 from 9 - 5 at the grand Hyatt Hotel in Poipu.

Learn about Hawaiian cultural practices, participate in workshops and enjoying outstanding entertainment, music, dance and food! Na Lima Hana means many hands working.

This three-day festival, at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa, presents a host of Hawaiian cultural practitioners offering activities, demonstrations, entertainment and learning experiences. Literally, many hands are working to teach and learn fascinating skills.

Learn all about lei-making, weaving with endemic plants, uses of medicinal plants, salt-making, drum-making, lomilomi (traditional massage), lau hala weaving, kapa (tapa) making, carving, ancient chants, hula kahiko, the uses of kalo (taro) and stone carving. Enjoy Hawaiian food and entertainment too.

Many events are free of charge to the public. As part of the festival the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association Kauai Chapter will be hosting a day-long conference, titled, "The Bones of our Ancestors", including a cultural field trip, discussions and demonstrations. In addition the Administration for Native Americans (ANA) will hold a grant-writing workshop October 15, 16 and 17.

The theme, kumuhonua, means "learning by going back to the source." All cultural practitioners convey the original sources of their knowledge, explaining how a particular cultural skill, craft, practice or tradition was taught to them; what was their source.

For more information, contact: Stella Burgess    Phone: (808) 240-6369    http://nalimahana.net1571 Poipu Road, Koloa, HI 96756


Sunday, Oct. 6 Lawai International Center comes alive

It's time for hearts to unite on the sacred grounds of Lawai International Center. The Center welcomes all to the dedication of the Hall of Compassion at the 13th annual Pilgrimage of Compassion on Sunday, October 6th from 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The program will start at 2:30 p.m. celebrating the timeless spiritual vision of a valley long recognized as a healing sanctuary.

After 23 years of preparation, the Hall of Compassion, a hand carved structure true to 13th century architecture, will be unveiled. Buildings similar to the Hall of Compassion have been known to remain standing for a minimum of 1,000 years. For the past 9 months over 400 volunteers and supporters have dedicated time and support to the creation of this extraordinary structure. Through their caring hearts, they are the embodiment of the spirit of Lawai.

Grandmaster Riley Lee, world-renowned shakuhachi flutist will issue a call to the pilgrims of the world. Carried by the wind through the trees, the soothing sounds of Grandmaster Lee's shakuhachi are the voice of Lawai International Center. Riley Lee's Grandmaster designation did not come easily. He attained the rank 30 years ago after rigorous training that included practicing barefoot in the snow, blowing his flute while standing under a waterfall, and playing in blizzards until icicles formed at the tip of his flute. He has performed extensively throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.

The rarely seen children of Ni`ihau will chant and the members of Taiko Kaua`i will add their drumbeats to the celebration of birth of the Hall of Compassion. There will also be a bonsai exhibit, ikebana demos, bake sale, silent auction, as well as mochi and taro pounding and cultural culinary demos along with Keiki Land for the children.

Lawai International Center is a nonprofit , nondenominational community project driven by its volunteers, whose earnest efforts are bringing the valley back to prominence as an international center of compassion, education, and cultural understanding.

Please bring an umbrella and wear comfortable shoes for this hillside walk. And if possible, please car pool and arrive early to facilitate parking. The gates open at 1:00 p.m. with demonstrations and exhibits open. The program starts at 2:30 p.m.

Donations are gratefully accepted. For more information contact LM@hawaii.rr.com, call 639-5952 or visit www.lawaicenter.org


Lighten Up, Seven Ways to Kick the Suffering Habit by Deborah Duda

Need a new book to read? Well, here is one that is sure to get you thinking!

A practical guide to increasing the joy in our daily lives by healing the suffering habit.


KAUA’I, Hawai’i: Ask yourself, “When was the last time I felt joyful?” If the answer is not “Today”, reading Lighten Up, Seven Ways to Kick the Suffering Habit will open a door in your life. 

Part memoir, part exposé, Lighten Up is not a book for sissies. It takes courage to acknowledge the sadness and losses in our lives, let them go, and reclaim our joy.

Suffering is the least recognized, most widespread, most pernicious addiction of our time, according to the author. We live in a world where angst is prevalent and, for many, even fashionable.

Most of humanity believes suffering is inevitable. While feeling emotional pain is unavoidable as we make peace with the often-profound changes in our lives, suffering –- pain prolonged -- is optional. Lighten Up exposes the severity of the suffering habit and shares practical, and often fun, options for changing our limiting ideas and behaviors so we can live more light-heartedly.

“We are hardwired for bliss, both physical and divine,” concluded Candice Pert, Ph.D., after thirty years of research as a Georgetown University School of Medicine research professor and a National Institute for Mental Health section chief.

Lightening up is the greatest gift we can give to our families, our communities, and our world.  Being a profoundly contented person who feels a joyful kinship with all of life is the major work of a lifetime. 

Lighten Up is available on Amazon and Kindle, at http://www.amazon.com/Lighten-Up-Seven-Suffering-Habit/dp/1475263783


Jim Denny -- For the love of Kauai's Birds

Jim Denny, an avid bird watcher and photographer has been hiking into the Alakai Swamp for more than 30 years  to get the award-winning photos of native bird featured on a multitude of media about Kauai. 

I worked with him at Kauai Veteran's Memorial Hospital, when I was a traveling nurse and he was a lab technologist. In fact I burned up the brakes of his old station wagon on one of my first trips down the mountain coming from Koke'e State Park.

Denny offers birding tours of Kauai that are unsurpassed, and I can not recommend anyone better to take the avid bird enthusiast to the far corners of the island.


Excerpted from Jim Denny's website http://www.kauaibirds.com/index.htm  ALL PHOTOS BY JIM DENNY

The Hawaiian island of Kauai offers the visiting birder many opportunites to add species to his or her life list. More than 80 species of birds are present on this Garden Island. In addition to Hawaii's famous native forest birds and wetland birds, there is a great variety of easily seen introduced birds and seabirds.

This site (http://www.kauaibirds.com/index.htm) is designed to help you identify the birds of Kaua'i as well as birds you may encounter on visits to other Hawaiian islands. The images on this site were photographed with a Nikon D2H and D300. The video on this site was filmed with a Canon GL2 and XHA1. All are the work of videographer & photographer Jim Denny and may not be used without permission.

Jim has been photographing the birds of Hawaii for more than 35 years. His articles and images have appeared in many outstanding publications, including Audubon, Smithsonian, and National Geographic magazines.

Jim is available to guide small groups (4 or less) in search of endemic forest birds. He is a 40 year resident of the island. In addition to numerous birding groups, he has served as a guide for BBC London, NHK Japan, and National Geographic photographers/videographers. He has a 4x4 vehicle for easier access to trail heads that comfortably seats 4 passengers. Please contact for availability and tour details. For those not interested in securing his services, he is happy to give birding suggestions.

Jim has written two books and produced two videos about Kauai's birds.

For tours and additional information, contact Jim Denny at 









Couples Massage --On the Beach or at location of your choice!

KAUAI -- "Assisting in Your Wellness", the brain child of Licensed Massage Therapists, Kate and Andrea Slaski is a unique way to celebrate a Honeymoon, Anniversary, Engagement, Vow Renewal or just plain love and pleasure.

"We specialize in couples beach massages on the beautiful island of Kauai," says Kate who earned her certification under top flight Kauai Community College Massage Instructor, Virginia Dunas.

Relax, enjoy and embrace the magic of Kauai  by joining the husband and wife team on a secluded beach of your choice!

"It is a tropical massage experience that will enlighten and refresh your body and mind," Andrea promises.

Kauai Couples Massage is a traveling service and will come to your vacation rental if you'd prefer, working with your needs and what makes you the most comfortable.

Just imagine listening  to the waves roll in on the beach and the tropical palms sway in the breeze while enjoying a relaxing massage with the one you love on the sand or on the lanai of your vacation spot.

Rates are $90 per hours; $180 per couple. Custom anniversary/honeymoon or any special add ons are welcome. "We love to aid in surprises," said Kate.

Massage and dinner packages or massage and brunch packages include a healhthy and yummy chef-prepared brunch or dinner after completing your massage at your vacation rental.

Hawaiian lomilomi, Swedish, Shiatzu, Hand and Foot Reflexology, Prenatal, Deep Tissue, Trigger Point therapy and extensive orthoppedic medical massage are the variety of techniques the couple excels in, and a Hawaiian sand and sea salt hand and foot scrub is only a small additional charge. 

Call or email for an appointment: Andrea MAT# 9667 (808) 651-9080 or Kate MAT # 9841 at (808) 346-1733. Or explore their website for details and extras at www.KauaiCouplesMassage.com


Gift of the Ancestors - Hawaiian Slack Key Festival

Concert - Performance in Kapaa at Children of the Land Cultural Center Sat. June 8, 2013

Selected Best Slack Key Music in Hawaii 2012.

 Traditional Hawaiian slack key guitar & ukulele concert featuring songs & stories telling its history. Free Gift Drawing. Tickets $20 ($15 keiki & seniors). Audience rating over 14 years is 99.3% "Highlight of our trip!".

This concert will 'tune your world to Aloha'! Award winning concert artists Doug & Sandy McMaster have 10 CDs to perpetuate the knowledge and experience of the endangered artform of traditional Hawaiian slack key guitar and ukulele.

Guided by the kupuna (elders), they have dedicated their lives to continuing the family tradition of slack key music. Typical comments:?"Awesome music & talent!" - Kathy?"Soothing to the soul and spirit." - David & Dianne?"To really feel Hawaii, you must hear slack key. It embodies Aloha!" - Bill

Easy to find in Kapaa, at the Kauai Village Shopping Center (Safeway/Longs). The cultural center is beneath the Whale Clock Tower. For a Google map, use 4-831 Kuhio Hwy #332, Kapaa, HI 96746 Tickets and more information can be found at www.McMasterSlackKey.com/liveshows.html or call (808) 826-1469.


What guests are saying about Hale O Nanakai B&B

I have never posted an actual review about the B&B on my website, but the review below was so incredibly special and uplifting to me, I decided to share it with the world.

A million thanks to my guests, my employees, my website readers and everyone who has had a hand in helping me make Hale O Nanakai what it is today!

"The perfect place to get away!”

5 of 5 stars
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 27, 2013 on Trip Advisor

"We took a two day hiatus from our resort up in Pinceville to stay at the Hale O Nanakai B&B. Located on the south side of the island in a neighborhood with sweeping views of the coastline, it doesn't get any better or closer to home than this! If you're looking to tour the National Tropical Botanic Gardens, the Waimea canyon, take advantage of the unique, artisan shopping in Hanapepe, or spend some time at the south's incredible beaches, Hale O Nanakai is ideally situated in the middle of the goings on. You can even zip up to Lihue very easily. 

Sheila is a fantastic hostess - prepared for anything and has all the knowledge you need to do any of the magnificent activities on the island. She promptly greeted us when we arrived, and showed us our rooms on the second floor - explaining the breakfast spread, and all of the amenities available to us such as umbrellas, beach toys and really, anything that you could ever possibly imagine you would need for an outing on the island - rain or shine, beach or rainforest. She also spent some time with us, offering us a hiking book and some really great maps, with personal advice as to the activities we had planned. Going further, she even printed out the menu for both The Beach House restaurant which we had expressed interest in, as well as a local gluten-free bakery for my Mom. Personal attention to the details? Check!

As I mentioned, we stayed on the top floor and booked the Kahili Suite and the adjoining Maile Room. We were fortunate enough to have the entire floor to ourselves which included an extra bathroom in the main area, beautiful living room, dining room and kitchen, as well as a huge porch with lots of places to view the fantastic view of the sea. The Kahili Suite is an intimate room with incredibly soft linens and pillows - plenty of room to stretch out. With a private bath and vanity, it was perfect for my husband and I. The adjoining Maile Room was perfect for my Mom - a single bedroom, also with plenty of room to stretch out, very comfortable. We were all very happy to finally have great showers, as our resort up north did not have the greatest showers with water pressure - no problems here, though! The main areas of the top floor are stunning, with many unique and interesting accents such as trinkets, fresh flowers, (heliconias) and local books galore. We really enjoyed sitting at the couch and flipping through the many books Sheila has - from botanical books to Hawaiian history, to hiking, to Hawaiian inspired comics. We also enjoyed eating breakfast with the fabulous view, and playing cards in the evening at the dining room table. I would also like to mention a very important point, free internet access. Not just free internet access, but GOOD internet access. Yay!

The morning breakfasts were more than ample for the three of us - offering almost everything you can imagine or ever want. Bagels, bread, cream cheese, butter, juice, milk, *amazing* coffee, teas, 3 different kinds of cereal, fresh fruit accented with flowers, (white plumerias) yogurt...I could go on. As an added touch, because it was noted that we were staying for our anniversary, Sheila and her staff provided champagne and a very nice card to my husband and I, it was wonderful! We also really loved the dishes - very Hawaiian, featuring red Anthuriums and bamboo accents. Neat!

There is a reason that Hale O Nanakai is rated highly not only on Yelp, but on Trip Advisor as well. Sheila has created a simple, elegant, comfortable balance of accommodations that are truly a pleasure to enjoy. I can only hope that one day I will come back to
Kauai, and if I do, I will certainly spend some time here again, as it was one of the highlights of our vacation. Thank you for everything Sheila!





Upper photos show the Upstairs Traditional B&B; last two photos depict lower level "Laka's Garden" 2 room apartment with full kitchen and Welcome Basket 


A few great reasons to visit Kauai in MAY!!

Honeymooners—Elvis fans—shouldn't miss a trip to the Fern Grotto
If thoughts of Kauai have you picturing scenes of The King in Blue Hawaii, the Fern Grotto is a spot you shouldn't miss. Entry to the grotto used to be forbidden to all except Hawaiian royalty, but nowaways anyone can catch a 40-minute cruise down the Wailua River to the site for about $20 per person ($10 for children ages 3-12) and take in views of one of Kauai's greatest natural wonders. Folks have been known to get married or renew their vows here, and if you're engaged, newlyweds, or celebrating a wedding anniversary, be prepared to come forward for a slow dance to Elvis Presley's Hawaiian Wedding Song—the Hawaiian lyrics in it were sung here long before the film.Although the Coco Palms is going to be torn down, you still have a chance to see the remmnants! (And maybe the ghost of Elvis!)

Hike, kayak, camp, and explore Kauai's secluded Na Pali Coast
If you're an outdoorsy person, nature lover, or just want to see some of the best views on the island without dealing with the tourist crowds, make sure you visit Kauai's beautiful Na Pali Coast. There are no roads on the westernmost side of the island, making it one of the last isolated, untouched, natural places in the Hawaiian Islands. Determined travelers can view the rocky terrain from the ocean with any number of catamaran or boat tours, or view the coastline from the air or guided kayak trip, while more adventurous types can try hiking the 11-mile Kalalau Trail from Kee Beach to Kalalau Beach—the full hike is best broken up into a two-day trip, and camping permits are available for $20 per person per night (with a five night maximim stay) thorugh the Hawaii State Parks Department. Kokee State Parkoffers more challenging hiking trails, like Awaawapuhi Trail, that lead to scenic overlooks while other hikes like Cliff Canyon and Black Pipe Trail are better suited for family hiking trips.

Drive up to a beautiful waterfall
Kauai is home to a number of impressive waterfalls, two of which are accessible by car alone. Wailua Falls is located just a few miles from downtown Lihue and can be viewed from the road, so there's no need to hike for a great view. Just drive north from Lihue to Ma'alo Road in Halamaulu, and follow the road uphill for another three miles. Another beautiful waterfall, Opaeka'a Falls, is viewable from Kuamo'o Road, but those wanting a closer look can brave the tough half-hour hike from the two-mile marker past the lookout point on Highway 580.

Get a slice of Hawaiian history
Hanapepe Town on Kauai's southwest coast is home to a bustling Hawaiian art scene, with an art celebration every Friday night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. when the town's painters, sculptors, and other artists open their gallery and studio doors to showcase their work. Those seeking an authentic trip into Hawaii's past should visit the museums and historic sites along the Koloa Heritage Trail—visit the Kihaha'ouna Heiau (an ancient Hawaiian temple), Poipu Beach Park (home to the island's endangered Hawaiian monk seals), and other sites dating back to Kauai's former days as a sugar plantation hotspot. The Kilohana Plantation in Lihue is a 16,000 square-foot restored plantation estate that offers a chance to see what life was like in Kauai during the 1930s—also on-site is the Koloa Rum Company, where you can sample the island's best rum every half hour on the half hour beginning at 10 a.m. daily. Located on Kauai's North Shore about a 45 minute drive north of Lihue is the historic Kilauea Lighthouse, great for stunning views of the Pacific and access to the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge, a safehaven for a number of native bird species found on the island including the endangered state bird, the nene goose.


Ni'ihau Day at the Makauwahi Cave, April 6

A treasure trove of science, ecology, discovery and wonder on Kauai's South Shore

Some of the greatest living artisans of the fabled Ni`ihau shell lei will be at the cave Saturday, April 6, including Mama Ane Kanahele and her many descendants.

If you’re on Kaua`i, plan to spend Saturday 9-2 at the cave with our friends from Ni`ihau. In support of the Makauwahi Jobs Program, the Ni`ihau community on Kaua`i will mahalo the volunteers and visitors to Makauwahi Cave with a day of traditional music, crafts, and food. Come learn how to make a lauhala mat with the people who make some of the best in the world!

Proceeds from the event will go to support the jobs program for unemployed Native Hawaiians at Makauwahi Cave Reserve. Bring your lunch and picnic with the staff, volunteers, and visitors at this unique site that combines research into the past with futuristic restoration strategies.

The Makauwahi Cave is located on Kauai's South Shore , accessible throughn CJM Country Stables on the dirt road past the Hyatt.Tours of the Cave are conducted every Sunday from 9 AM - 2 PM.

At the center of its many attractions is Hawaii`s largest limestone cave, the richest fossil site in the islands, and a uniquely preserved archaeological site.

It's a living museum dedicated not just to the past, but also to experiments in native species conservation. On abandoned farms and quarry lands surrounding the cave, native plants and animals have returned in response to innovative restoration techniques. Acres of restored forest land, dune vegetation, and wetland habitat feature almost 100 species of native plants, including many endangered species, as well as endangered waterbirds and even an underground ecosystem of blind cave invertebrates.

Field School Has a Few Openings

We have been receiving applications for this summer’s field school at the cave, slated for June 15-July 14. There are still a few slots left, so get in your application for 9 units of UH credit in Archaeological Methods and Natural History of the Hawaiian Islands.

Makauwahi Cave Reserve is a non-profit organization with Garden Island Resource Conservation and Development, Inc. as a fiscal sponsor. The property is owned by Grove Farm Company, and managed by Lida Pigott Burney and Dr. David A. Burney, with the help and support of thousands of volunteers, students, and visitors from the local community and around the world.

Makauwahi Cave Reserve P.O. Box 1277, Kalaheo, HI 96741
(808) 482-1059


"Around the World of Plants"; NTBG Spring Lecture series

Around the World of Plants

A public lecture series by the National Tropical Botanical Garden and Kaua‘i Community College

• Tuesday, March 5, 2013 5:30 pm: The relationships between plants and indigenous people are not only about how they use them, but also how they protect them. Professor Prance will discuss the intimate relationship this group has with its environment, describing the challenges they face, and the lessons we can learn.

Professor Sir Ghillean Prance:

Professor Sir Ghillean Prance FRS VMH was born in Suffolk, England in 1937 and was educated at Malvern College, Worcestershire and Keble College, Oxford where he obtained a BA in Botany and a D.Phil.

Sir Ghillean’s career began at the New York Botanical Garden in 1963. Firstly he was a research assistant and subsequently B A Krukoff Curator of Amazonian Botany, Director and Vice-President of Research and finally Senior Vice President for Science. His exploration of Amazonia included 15 expeditions in which he collected over 350 new species of plants.

He was Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London from 1988 to 1999. He was McBryde Professor at theNational Tropical Botanical Garden in Hawaii 2001-02 and is currently McBryde Senior Fellow there. He is Scientific Director and a Trustee of the Eden Project in Cornwall, U.K. and Visiting Professor at Reading University, U.K.

Professor Sir Ghillian Prance is author of nineteen books. He has also published over 520 scientific and general papers in taxonomy, ethnobotany, economic botany, conservation and ecology. He holds fifteen honorary doctorates. In 1993 he received the International Comos Prize and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Sir Ghillean was awarded his knighthood in July 1995 and received the Victoria Medal of Honour from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1999.


• Tuesday, April 23, 2013 5:30 pm

Chipper Wichman

Chipper has worked to to preserve the precious natural and cultural 
resources of Hawai`i where he was born and raised. The National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) in 1976 where he worked with well-known botanists to conduct botanical surveys of Limahuli valley and the Nā Pali coast where he discovered new species of plants and helped to pioneer methods of rappelling down cliffs to hand pollinate the species threatened with extinction. 

Chipper will present the film showing of "A King in China: The Life of Joseph Francis Rock"

From  Hawaii to China, Joseph Francis Rock was on of the last classic explorers of the 20th Century. He was born in Vienna, Austria, but emigrated to the United States in 1905 and moved to Honolulu in 1907, where he eventually became an authority on the flora there. As the Territory of Hawaiii's first official botanist, he joined the faculty of the University of Hawaii in 1911, established its first herbarium and served as its first curator from 1911 until 1920, when he left the university to spend the next few decades exploring the botany of Asia.

"This carefully crafterd and ostensibly crafted documentary, about a lonely man who finally found his paradise" -- The Sydney Herald 


• Tuesday, May 21, 2013 5:30 pm

Richard Hanna

An illustrator of many publications including the Masterpieces of Botanical Illustration : the Loy McCandless Marks Botanical Library

Presents: Captain Cook's Artists in the Pacific


The artists who traveled with the famed 18th-century explorer brought back tales of exotic plants and people through their beautiful and fascinating illustrations. Learn about these men, who traveled the Pacific working fervently to keep up during these intense expeditions.



Thank you to Margaret Clark, Program Presentation Coordinator, for providing the information about these important lectures provided by the National Tropical Botanical Garden, Kauai.

Mahalo for this fine lecture series.

All talks will be presented in the Cafeteria in the KCC Campus Center
(to the left & behind the Performing Arts Center) 3-1901 Kaumuali‘i Hwy, Līhu‘e

National Tropical Botanical Garden & Kaua‘i Community College: "Sharing a common goal of quality education to change lives."


For more information, please contact: Margaret Clark,NTBG, 3530 Papalina Rd.Kalaheo, HI 96741  Office: (808) 332-7324 x 22:  Cellphone: 808-346-2471;  Fax: 1-800-694-1942

"The mission of the National Tropical Botanical Garden is to enrich life through discovery, scientific research, conservation, and education by perpetuating the survival of plants, ecosystems, and cultural knowledge of tropical regions."



Winter in the Paradise: Subtle, delightful seasonal changes

Waking up to crystal clear skies with crisp morning temperatures in the low 70s (Fahrenheit)-- after a long night of low and chilly 50 degrees -- is what winter in Hawaii is like. Two blankets, cats curled upon and alongside, and the a desire to linger under the covers after the winter sun has greeted the day, are the hallmarks of a Hawaiian winter for me.

A dusting of snow atop Mauna Kea -- the Big Island's grand-daddy of monoliths at 13,000 feet above sea level -- is Winter's official calling card in the Hawaiian Islands. So much so, that the mountain's name, "Mauna Kea", is  Hawaiian for  "White Mountain,"  because of its propensity for an annual dusting of snow.

Similarly,  Maui's Hale'aka'la (translated "House of the Sun") is not immune to the cold, either.  Coupled with high wind advisories, huge surf hammering north and western shores, and winter storm warnings, "Winter" truly exists in Paradise, as evidenced by these typical, but short-lived, seasonal occurrences from late December until early April.

To us it is "chilly", especially on the beautiful, clear nights when the trade winds depart, and the accumulated cloud and sea-breeze, land-heating, late-day congestion above the interior mountains, dissipates into the last rays of the sunset.

Only then do skies blaze with stars that appear illuminated like a thousand, tiny, dancing torches, held in place by the cold and breathless stillness of the Hawaiian winter night.

On these nights temperatures can drop to the low 50s on the Fahrenheit scale. In the absence of wind, commonly the case with "Kona" conditions that precede a trade-wind-blocking cold front, locals pull out several blankets, pile on hoodies and socks, and drink hot Sake, while the family pets keep themselves warm by huddling close.

It is nights like these that the Milky Way appears as a great opalescent cloak flung across the sky, highlighted by a hundred million sparkling diamond-stars, of value only to the eye or the heart.

Shooting stars are not shy as they streak silently across the dark black canopy of the night.

Nights when the rising full moon illuminates the Waimea Canyon and the dwarfed uplands of the Alakai Swamp, the paths and ancient trails of the ancestors are bathed in an incandescent glow.

These scenes are of colors nearly neutral, but with the passing pale, prism-mist hues of a night time rainbow, or "moon bow." This ethereal circle around the moon, portends weather changes in the future.

Other coastal scenes, when a glittering, moon-illuminated path streams like a diamond-studded highway across the surface of the infinite sea, are as hypnotic and entrancing as the strongest witches brew.

In ancient times, natives here in Hawaii worshipped a plethora of "akua," or gods of nature, just as their counterparts in ancient Greece  worshipped Zeus and Neptune, or the Celts in Europe worshipped the mighty Oak, and native Americans on both Continents worshipped their gods of war and prosperity. 

Like ancient civilizations in the farthest corners of the globe, mankind has changed and evolved in similar ways.

Indigenous races in all corners of the world knew that the wheel of the seasons, the changing times of the year, represented death, rebirth, regeneration and reaping of the bounty of the land and their species. That these were closely associated with, and guided by, the moon, the stars and the ocean tides has become lost to many dwellers of modern times. 

Hawaii is a place where we all can reconnect with our ancestors, the old ways and the appreciation of the sun, moon, stars, tide, ocean and cycles of nature and life.

In Hawaii, in this year of our ancestors, 2013, I celebrate Winter.

It is one of the mildest, benevolent, coolest in temperature and psyche and most beautiful winters I have had the pleasure to  experience. So far we have escaped the decimation of global climate change.

We are triply blessed, living in this state, because of its beauty, lovely weather and the kindness and gentle nature of its people. May we remember our roots, one and all.

Mahalo Ke Akua 



Vog: Bad Air from a Beautiful Volcano

Notice a slight sulphuric tang to the air when the Tradewinds cease? A tickle in the throat, a runny nose? 

 It doesn’t happen often – thank goodness – but “vog” is a form of air pollution that results when sulfur dioxide and other gases and particles emitted by an erupting volcano react with oxygen and moisture in the presence of sunlight. 

The reason you are feeling vog some 400 miles distant from the actual eruption on the Big Island, is because of the wind pattern. 

Accounting for 70% of all winds in Hawaii, trade winds are the most common winds over Hawaiian waters. Tradewinds come from the direction of Alaska -- NE to ENE -- and are Hawaii’s natural air conditioning. 

When we don’t have Tradewinds, the wind pattern shifts to a southerly flow. Kona, a resort town on the leeward side of Hawaii's Big Island, is a Hawaiian term for winds that come from the SW or SSW -- the opposite direction of trade winds. 

Since the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island began erupting in 1983, Kona winds can bring vog up the island chain. This makes visibility poor and causes eye and respiratory irritation. Headaches, watery eyes, sore throat, breathing difficulties (including inducing asthma attacks) and flu-like symptoms are commonly reported. These effects are especially pronounced in people with respiratory conditions and children. 

On the Big Island, the gas plumes of Kilauea rise up from three locations: Halemaʻumaʻu Crater, Puʻu ʻŌʻō vent, and from along the coastline where lava flows from the East Rift zone enter the ocean. The plumes create a blanket of vog that can envelop the island.

Prolonged periods of southerly Kona winds can affect islands across the entire state as well.  Lucky we live Kauai! By the time the vog reaches other islands, the sulfur dioxide has largely dissipated, leaving behind ash, smoke, sulfates, and ammonia.

Kona, or vog producing conditions are most prevalent in winter months when cold front move through. These months include October through March. 


Plumes of vog from Big Island volcanic eruptions as seen and photographed from the Space Shuttle "Atlantis".

Please see http://www.konaweb.com/vog/index.shtml



Mele Kalikimaka! Merry Christmas to all!

Hawaii is a special place at Christmas time. Balmy tradewinds and twinkling lights make this a very special holiday for locals and visitors alike.

While you won’t see snow except for rare occasions atop Mauna Kea (Hawaiian for "white mountain" -- for that very reason!), you will still see signs of Christmas on every island.

You may not experience frosty temperatures but who is going to complain about wearing a bikini or a pair of surf shorts on the holiday??

We may not have chestnuts roasting on an open fire,because few homes have fireplaces in the Aloha State! But we sure can roast some Macadamia nuts in the imu.

Christmas really can be Christmas in Hawaii. Hawaii residents begin putting up their holiday lights and Christmas trees as soon as the last piece of Thanksgiving turkey is devoured. There are joyous Christmas concerts, community parades and dazzling Festivals of Light throughout the state.


Christmas wasn’t formally introduced to Hawaii until after 1820, the year Protestant missionaries came to Hawaii from New England.

In ancient times, however, the holiday coincided with a traditional Hawaiian festival called Makahiki. This celebration lasted for four months and included great feasts and games. During this time, wars and conflicts were strictly forbidden. As far as the early Hawaiians were concerned, the Makahiki was their time for “peace on earth and goodwill toward men.”

The first Christmas celebration in Hawaii is believed to have occurred in 1786, when Captain George Dixon, docked aboard the Queen Charlotte in Waimea Bay on Kauai, commanded his crew to prepare a Christmas dinner that included roasted pig, pie and grog mixed with coconut milk. The English navigator then led his men in toasts to their families and friends back home.

In 1856, Alexander Liholiho (King Kamehameha IV) declared December 25 to be his kingdom’s national day of Thanksgiving.

Two years later, Santa Claus made his first appearance in Hawaii, arriving at Washington Place (now the governor’s residence) to deliver gifts for the children. Today, you may see Santa arrive on  surfboard, and witness his elves wearing aloha shirts. 

Today, there’s no bigger Christmas celebration than “Honolulu City Lights,” a favorite holiday spectacle put on by the City & County of Honolulu. Held at Honolulu Hale (City Hall), “Honolulu City Lights” features a 50-foot Norfolk pine Christmas tree, elaborate Christmas tree and wreath exhibits, giant Yuletide displays and live entertainment.

Whether you’re young or young at heart, there’s no better place to catch the Christmas spirit in the islands.

Mele Kalikimaka! Merry Christmas!


Slack Key Festival features "Masters" Nov. 18 on Kauai

A free 'ki'ho'alu" festival will grace the stage at the kauai Beach Resort near Lihue Airport on Kauai on Sunday, November 18 from 12 noon until 5 PM.

Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar (ki-ho'alu) is a truly one of the greatest acoustic guitar traditions in the world.  Ki-ho'alu, which literally means "loosen the key," is the Hawaiian language name for the solo finger picked style unique to Hawai'i.  In this tradition, the strings (or keys)" are "slacked" to produce major chord, or a chord with a major 7th note, or sometimes one with a 6th note in it.  Each tuning produces a lingering sound behind the melody and  has characteristic resonance and fingering.

Many Hawaiian songs and slack key guitar pieces reflect themes like stories of the past and present and people's lives.  But it is the tropical surroundings of  Hawai'i, with its oceans, volcanoes and mountains, waterfalls, forest, plants and animals, that provide the deepest source of inspiration for Hawaiian music.

2012 will mark the 30th anniversary of the festival in Honolulu on the island of Oahu, the 20th anniversary on Kauai and Hawaii and the 21st anniversary on the island of Maui. We continue to be focus and enthusiastic about the music and where we have been and where we are headed. The music is now part of genre known as "World Music" and someday we hope that through the efforts of all of the musicians that perform it, the producers, record companies, the many festivals produced throughout Hawaii and overseas and our loyal Hawaii based corporate sponsors as well as those on the mainland such as Taylor Guitars and Dancing Cat Productions that Ki-ho'alu will be recognized throughout the world as truly a great guitar tradition. Since 2005, a category for Hawaiian Music was created by NARAS or better known as the "Grammy Awards" and Slack Key Guitar has won the coveted award for 4 years straight over some of the best artists from Hawaii.