“Ola Nā Papa i Pūlama ‘ia:  A Tribute to Maui’s Living Coral Reefs” To Be Presented on November 6 by Maui Nui Marine Resource Council

KAHULUI, HI — An event titled “Ola Nā Papa i Pūlama ‘ia:  A Tribute to Maui’s Living Coral Reefs” will be presented by Maui Nui Marine Resource Council on Wednesday, November 6 at 6 pm at ‘Iao Theater in Wailuku. The purpose of the event is to bring together Hawaiian culture and science to celebrate Hawaiʻiʻs coral reefs and promote better understanding of these remarkable undersea communities. It will feature presentations by three of Hawaii’s most noted coral scientists, Dr. Mark Hixon, Dr. Bob Richmond and Russell Sparks, plus a presentation on the significance of coral reefs in Hawaiian culture by Rhiannon ‘Chandler-‘Īao and a hula performance by local Maui hulau, Hula Alapa’i i Malu’ulolele of Ka ‘imi Na’auao o Hawai’i Nei.

“The evening will feature hula plus four short presentations, each by an expert on coral reefs or Hawaiian culture,” said Christina Lizzi, Executive Director of Maui Nui Marine Resource Council. “This event is part of Maui Nui Marine Resource Council’s new ‘Know Your Ocean’ speaker series which kicked off in October with a presentation by Nainoa Thompson.”

This event is funded in part by the County of Maui Mayorʻs Office of Economic Development. Tickets are $5 (all inclusive) and are available at MauiOnstage.com. Complimentary tickets for students and teachers can be obtained by emailing [email protected].

Doors open at 5:30 pm and the presentations will begin at 6:00 pm.

The Tribute to Maui’s Living Coral Reefs will feature these presentations:

Performance by Hula Alapa’i i Malu’ulolele of Ka ‘imi Na’auao o Hawai’i Nei
This 20 minute performance will feature dances related to the themes of kumulipo, limu, fish, rains and the ocean.  The performance will close with Mo’olele, which was composed Lahaina’s doublehull sailing canoe (Mo’olele) and starts with “let’s go holoholo…take us into our voyage of the night.”




The value of Hawaiiʻs coral reefs as natural and cultural  resources
Rhiannon “Rae” Renee Tereari’i Chandler-‘Īao

The Kumulipo, the creation chant of the Hawaiian people, tells us that ʻuku koʻakoʻa or the coral polyp, was the first living organism. Discover the immeasurable value of our coral reefs to the Native Hawaiian culture and as a natural resource through this talk by Rhiannon “Rae” Renee Tereari’i Chandler-‘Īao.

Chandler-‘Īao is the Executive Director of Waterkeepers Hawaiian Islands. Chandler-‘Īao earned a B.A. in Ethnic Studies from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa in 2004 and graduated from the William S. Richardson School of Law in 2016 with certificates in both Native Hawaiian Rights Law and Environmental Law.  After graduating, she worked as a Post-JD Research & Teaching Fellow at Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law.  Prior to attending law school, Rhiannon served as the Executive Director of the environmental non-profit organization Community Work Day Program, d.b.a. Mālama Maui Nui.  While on Maui, Chandler-‘Īao served as a member of the Maui Nui Marine Resource Council, Maui County Cultural Resources Commission, a board member of the Maui Non-Profit Directors Association and a Steering Committee member of Ka Ipu Kukui Fellows Leadership Program.

Saving the Uhu (Parrotfishes) Can Help Save Our Reefs
Dr. Mark Hixon

Brilliantly colored with big “smiles” created by their fused upper teeth, uhu are not only beautiful, but are also very important in helping to save both our reefs and our beaches during this time of climate disruption. Dr. Mark Hixon will explore the essential role of uhu in Hawai‘i’s coral reef ecosystem.

Dr. Hixon has been recognized as the “most cited American scientific author on coral reefs” (2003, ISI Citation Index). He is a Fulbright Senior Scholar, an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow, and a Fellow of the International Coral Reef Society. Dr. Hixon is the Hsiao Endowed Chair in Marine Biology at the Department of Biology, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, and he serves on the scientific advisory committee for the Sustainable Hawai‘i Initiative plan for effectively managing nearshore ocean waters. Dr. Hixon has given TEDx talks about coral reefs and has published scientific studies of reefs in Hawaiʻi, Australia, French Polynesia, the Bahamas, and the Virgin Islands.

Cockroach Corals and the Sounds of our Reefs
Dr. Bob Richmond

You know how hard it can be to kill a cockroach? Some corals are just as resilient, thriving in impaired, sediment-laden ocean water – conditions that normally undermine coral reef health. Dr. Bob Richmond has been studying these “cockroach corals” in Ma’alaea Harbor and Olowalu. He’ll share theories about how these corals are so resilient and their possible role in replenishing reefs harmed by climate change. Dr. Richmond will also bring examples of the sounds emitted by coral reefs and help us understand why these sounds are a useful diagnostic tool to evaluate reef health.

A Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation, a Leopold Fellow in Environmental Leadership and Past President of the International Society for Reef Studies, Dr. Richmond is the chair of the Maui Coral Recovery Team convened by Maui Nui Marine Resource Council and is a co-author of the Maui Coral Recovery Plan.

Coral Bleaching Off Maui: How Bad? And What’s Next?
Russell Sparks

Hawaiʻi is facing an unprecedented coral bleaching event, caused by overly warm ocean waters. What happened to our reefs during the last major bleaching event in 2015 and what did we learn about coral survival rates? What can we theorize about this current bleaching event and bleaching events of the future?

Russell Sparks is the Aquatic Biologist of the Division of Aquatic Resources of the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources. Sparks received his B.S. in Biology from Oregon State University. He received his M.S. in Marine Biology from University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in 1996. Since 1998, Russell has worked for the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Aquatic Resources as an education specialist and more recently as an aquatic biologist. He is currently responsible for leading the design, implementation, and overall management of the Maui marine monitoring program, and for working with stakeholders and communities to develop marine management programs aimed at adaptively managing nearshore fisheries and coral reef resources.

About Maui Nui Marine Resource Council
Maui Nui Marine Resource Council is a community-based nonprofit organization celebrating 11 years of working for healthy coral reefs, clean ocean water and abundant native fish throughout Maui County. Our work includes co-managing the Hui O Ka Wai Ola Ocean Water Quality Monitoring Program at 41 sites in South and West Maui, efforts to reduce pollution in Ma‘alaea Bay (through erosion-control efforts in the Pohakea watershed and using oysters to filter sediment and pollutants from ocean water), coral reef research, visitor education programs and more. Learn more at www.mauireefs.org.


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