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‘Imiloa’s 8th Annual Wayfinding and Navigation Festival

by Brea Aamoth on September 29th, 2015

Honoring the Spirit of the Waʻa and the ʻĀina

Experience the “Spirit of the Wayfinder” at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center’s 8th Annual Wayfinding & Navigation Festival sponsored by the Ama OluKai Foundation. This annual community festival explores the art and science of oceanic wayfinding, the traditional Polynesian system of navigating the open ocean without the use of modern instrumentation. Themed He Waʻa He Moku, Honoring the Spirit of the Waʻa and the ʻĀina, this full-day event takes place on Saturday, October 24, 2015 at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center, from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm. Thanks to generous sponsorship from the Ama OluKai Foundation, the event is free and open to the public.

Special keynote presentations will focus on the ‘āina (land) and the waʻa (canoe) as interconnected symbols of cultural identity and pride. Presenters will explore how the ‘āina gives life and spirit to the waʻa, and how the waʻa in turn inspires us to care for ourselves, each other, and our natural and cultural environments.
Under the simulated night sky of the ‘Imiloa planetarium, experienced navigators from the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage will unlock the secrets of the stars that guide them along their journey. Activity stations set up throughout the ‘Imiloa Exhibit Hall will focus on critical aspects of open ocean sailing that all crew members are required to complete—packing gear, calibrating your body to become a measuring tool, tying knots, etc.—to challenge attendees to see if they have what it takes to be a deep-sea voyager. Each participant who successfully completes all crew requirements will receive a prize for becoming an “‘Imiloa Crew Member”! Rounding out the day will be climb onboard tours of Hilo’s own inter-island voyaging canoe, Kiakahi, on the ‘Imiloa lawn.
Mahalo to the Ama OluKai Foundation for sponsorship of the 2015 ʻImiloa Wayfinding & Navigation Festival.

Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication or a modification of policies and procedures to participate in this event should contact Roxanne Ching at or 969-9704, as soon as possible, but no later than 10 days before the scheduled event. For more information on the festival, please visit the website at or call 808-969-9703.

‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai‘i is a world-class informal science education center located on the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo campus. ‘Imiloa is a place of life-long learning where the power of Hawai‘i’s cultural traditions, its legacy of exploration and the wonders of astronomy come together to provide inspiration and hope for generations. The Center’s interactive exhibits, 3D full dome planetarium, native landscape, and programs and events engage children, families and the local community in the wonders of science and technology found in Hawai‘i. It is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday (closed Mondays). For more information, visit the website at or call (808) 969-9703.

The Ama OluKai Foundation honors those who preserve and celebrate the cultural heritage and Aloha spirit of Hawaiʻi. Founded in 2014, the Ama OluKai Foundation is a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) located in the State of Hawaiʻi. The Foundation seeks partnerships with organizations that are also located in Hawaiʻi and who have a deep understanding of the Hawaiian culture. The Ama OluKai Foundation targets programs that are directly designed to educate and serve Hawaiian communities. Its goal is to partner with organizations that promote the Hawaiian culture and heritage from its ancestral past to present day, and it encourages those who benefit from partnership to carry forward the tradition and spirit of giving for future generations. Given its focus on cultural development in Hawaiʻi, the Ama OluKai Foundation’s primary funding interests include: supporting endemic organizations whose efforts are directed towards the development of quality communities and individuals in Hawaiʻi; preserving the rich traditions and lessons from the past, with emphasis on the arts, sciences, language, customs, morals, physical activities and educational outreach; and supporting organizations that perpetuate the Aloha spirit of Hawaiʻi.
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