Free Presentation to Discuss Redefining the Definition of a Public Aquarium – and What it Means to Our Local Community

KIHEI— A free Zoom presentation on Wednesday, January 12 at 5:30 pm by Tapani Vuori, Maui Ocean Center’s General Manager and founder and president of the Maui Ocean Center Marine Institute (MOCMI) will discuss “Redefining the definition of a public aquarium and what it means to our local community.”

Vuoriʻs presentation is part of Maui Nui Marine Resource Council’s monthly “Know Your Ocean Speaker Series.” His talk will look at the history of Maui Ocean Center, its operational details and its journey of transformation over the past few years, driven by Maui Ocean Centerʻs vision and mission.

Reservations are required. To reserve, visit

Vuori will discuss Maui Ocean Centerʻs role in the community in Māʻalaea and its stated responsibility first and foremost to add value to the community every day.

“I will discuss topics such as aquarium and zoo industry in general, plastic marine debris, shark finning, climate change, tourism, and environmental threats to nearshore marine ecosystems,” says Vuori. “I’ll share with the audience what Maui Ocean Center is doing about all of these issues — and why our aquarium and others around the world need to take action on the problems impacting our planetʻs oceans.”

Vuori draws inspiration from world-renowned scientist and ocean protector Dr. Sylvia Earle, who said, “the oceans deserve our respect and care, but you have to know something before you can care about it.” Vuori notes that Earleʻs powerful message is the driving force behind the energy he brings to Maui Ocean Center each day, and his goal to educate people and get them to care about the creatures beneath the oceanʻs surface.

Vuori grew up in Finland, where he formed a powerful connection with nature and the ocean — a bond he has carried throughout his life. He got his diving license as a young child and as a boy experienced the wonder of diving in winter beneath an ice-covered surface. As a young adult, Vuori moved to the U.S. to attend college, starting at Brigham Young University in Utah and graduating from UCLA in 1987.

When Vuori accepted the position as Maui Ocean Center’s general manager, he had one request — to build an on-property nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization to support conservation efforts further. Through his efforts and vision, Vuori became the founder and president of the Maui Ocean Center Marine Institute (MOCMI), which serves to restore Hawaiʻiʻs coral reefs and rehabilitate injured Hawaiian green sea turtles.

Today, Vuori works from all angles to protect marine life and is deeply involved in Mauiʻs island community. In addition to his contribution at MOCMI, Vuori is an active board member of Māʻalaea Triangle Association, vice president of the Māʻalaea Village Community Association, and president of the advisory council for Maui County on Civil Rights. Vuori is also working to establish a regional wastewater treatment center for Māʻalaea Bay to replace the nutrient leaching injection wells that have caused widespread loss of coral reef and limu in the bay.

“My hope is that this talk will inspire our audience to become more active in their community, where ever it may be,” says Vuori.

Maui Nui Marine Resource Council’s monthly “Know Your Ocean Speaker Series” events are supported by the County of Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development.

To learn more about Maui Ocean Center, visit

To learn more about Maui Nui Marine Resource Council, visit

Reserve your spot for this presentation at

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