Malalo o Ka Po Lani

On the fourth Saturday of the month, the VIS hosts Malalo o ka Po Lani, a special presentation covering cultural components that surround Mauna O Wakea. The presentation begins at 6:00 PM and is followed by the regular evening stargazing program.

Each month features a different speaker from the community who will speak about Mauna O Wakea from a cultural perspective.


Upcoming Presentations


July 22, 2017 – Nānā i ka Lani; “Look the the heavens” explores the role of the kilohōkū, the experts who study the stars, in traditional Hawaiian culture. The music of an ʻohe hano ihu plays as the lights dim and a starfield appears on the screen. Kilohōkū, priest-astronomers, held knowledge crucial for planning daily life activities such as planting and fishing, travel, and state and religious functions. Information was encoded into chants which were highly formalized and sophisticated poetic mnemonic devices for organizing, storing, and transmitting large amounts of data. The guest presenter explains how the kilohōkū learned and applied this knowledge for the benefit of the community, and the protocols used for assuring continued accuracy as the oral tradition is handed down from generation to generation. Visitors will be encouraged to practice with the projected starfield, and then apply what they have learned at the starparty at the VIS.

August 27, 2017 – I ke Kanahele; The role of the forest in the Hawaiian watershed and ecology of Hawaiʻi, and how the different kinolau in the forest express a Hawaiian understanding of the ecological web. This presentation includes an update on Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death and its effect on the plants and animals which depend on this keystone species. Visual aids help visitors to identify forest species, while chant and hula express the Hawaiian relationship to them. Visitors will be led on an imaginary hike from the ocean to the summit, to experience the changing face of the forest as it rises through the various elevation zones.

September 23, 2017 – Myths and Legends of Maunakea; History, myths, and legends of Maunakea are presented in a whirlwind of storytelling which covers 1 million years in under an hour. Accompanied by music played by Manu Josiah on ancient and modern traditional Hawaiian instruments, storyteller Leilehua Yuen begins by chanting the moʻokūʻauhau of Kauikeaouli which describes Maunakea as the firstborn of Hawaiʻi. As it travels to modern times, the story weaves back and forth between legend and contemporaneous history as found in the geological record, juxtaposing poetry and science at the nexus of observation. The program ends with a prophetic chant and hula that describes the mountainous islands sinking back into the sea. The stories metaphorically explore the place of humanity in the cosmos.

October 28, 2017 – Ghouls and Goblins of HawaiʻiHawaiʻi has its own collection of scary stories. From tales of giant birds and sea creatures to modern ghost stories, the islands easily hold their own when it comes to tales of terror. Storyteller Leilehua Yuen shares some of the spookiest she knows, as her husband, Manu Josiah, enhances them with traditional Hawaiian instruments such as the ʻohe hano ihu, ʻulīʻulī, and oeoe. Get in the spirit and attend in a spooky costume!

November 25, 2017 – Makahiki, the Hawaiian New Year; Practices and purposes of the Hawaiian New Year celebrations are explored in this program. The lights dim as the ʻohe hano ihu plays, and a starfield appears on the screen. Nā Huihui o Makaliʻi rises, in a few days followed by the Hilo moon, and the Makahiki has begun. A brief discussion of the different Makahiki traditions practiced on different islands, and then the Makahiki as celebrated on Hawaiʻi Island in greater detail. Chants and hula pertaining to the season are presented. Some visitors may be selected to help demonstrate some Makahiki games. The visitors are encouraged to participate in the contemporary festivals of Makahiki which are celebrated throughout the islands.


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