Hawaiian Culture & Mauna Kea

Mauna Kea, or known by its original name Mauna a Wakea is a sacred place for Hawaiians. Wakea, sometimes translated as "Sky Father" is considered the father of the Hawaiian people.

While it is the dwelling place of the goddess Poliahu it is also associated with the Hawaiian dieties Lilinoe and Waiau. The summit was considered realm of the gods and in ancient times kapu (forbidden) to all but the highest chiefs and priests. Occassionally Hawaiian alii (royalty) would make the long trek to the top, the last royal visitor being Queen Emma in 1881 who lead her companions on the arduous 6 hour journey to the top to see the summit and rejuvinate herself in sacred Lake Waiau.

While today Mauna Kea is home to 13 international observatories and recieves thousands of visitors every year it remains a sacred place for the people of Hawaii. On the the third Saturday of every month MKVIS hosts community speakers who will speak about Mauna O Wakea from a cultural perspective. Learn more »


Free Nightly Stargazing

FREE Nightly Stargazing & Star Tours

Open to everyone! Every night of the year from 6pm - 10pm MKVIS conducts star tours and operates several telescopes for public viewing by our knowledgeable guides.
Learn More about our Stargazing Program »

Escorted Summit Tours

Every Sat. & Sun. Bring your 4WD vehicle and join our free summit tour caravan. Tours will go into at least one of the observatories.
Details of Escorted Summit Tours »

Volunteer Program

Learn about astronomy and Mauna Kea as a volunteer. No experience required.
Volunteer Positions at MKVIS »

First Light E-Store - Apparel, Souvenirs, DVDs and Books MaunaKeaAstronomyJobs.org - Employment, internships and volunteer opportunities on Mauna Kea

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