ʻImiloa’s 18th Lā Hānau Celebration honors Hawaiʻi’s native forest birds. Free and open to the public, Feb. 25

Fun activities include crafts about Hawaiian manu, special live programs in the planetarium with natural resource experts, hula and mele, and interactive exhibits.

ʻImiloaʻs 18th FREE Lā Hānau Celebration, Sunday, Feb. 25, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.. Hanohano Nā Manu Maulukua, honoring native forest birds of Hawaiʻi.

ʻImiloa Astronomy Center will hold its annual Lā Hānau Celebration on Sunday, Feb. 25, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., marking the center’s 18th birthday. The “Hanohano Nā Manu Maulukua” event, honoring native forest birds of Hawaiʻi, is free and open to the public.

Fun activities include crafts about Hawaiian manu, special live programs in the planetarium with natural resource experts, hula and mele, and interactive exhibits. It will be a fun-filled day for all ʻohana while learning about native birds and the ecosystems they inhabit.

Planetarium Presentations


10:30 a.m. & 12:30 p.m.

Pat Hart pictured
Pat Hart

Learn about the world of Hawaiian birds focusing on the diversity and beauty of their song. Exploring the rise and fall of the dawn chorus of birds draw parallels to their speciation and extinction. Join Pat Hart, professor of biology and founder of the Hart Lab also known as the Listening Observatory for Hawaiian Ecosystems (LOHE) Laboratory, as he introduces “O Ka Lele a Nei Auna,” a Hawaiian bird creation oli (chant), composed collectively by Kekuhi Kealiʻikanakaʻoleohaililani and members of ʻAhuimanu, a recently hatched group of bird people from Hawaiʻi. This oli pairs threatened native birds with fish kiaʻi (guardians) from the sea and plant kiaʻi from the land to help guide the birds back into abundance.

In Search of ʻAkēʻakē

11:30 a.m.

Alex Wang pictured.
Alex Wang

Alex Wang, a wildlife biologist for the state Division of Forestry and Wildlife based in Hilo, will share his expertise for this twofold presentation on Hawaiian manu. Learn about some of Hawaiʻi’s most endangered forest birds and immediate efforts in place to save them from near extinction. Then stay tuned for an inspiring story about the endangered ʻAkēʻakē (also known as the band-rumped storm petrel) and the long road to discovering their burrows on Maunaloa.

Hawaiian Forest Birds in Story and Culture

1:30 p.m.

Noah Gomes pictured.
Noah Gomes

Humans have a long history with birds in Hawaiʻi that is simultaneously both beautiful and disheartening. Since the earliest voyagers first landed here, the ʻāina (land), including native birds, has shaped the identities and behaviors of residents of Hawaiʻi Island. In this presentation, Noah Gomes, an ethnographer from the state Historic Preservation Division, will introduce some of the many roles that native forest birds play in traditional stories, chants, and poetry on Hawaiʻi Island.

Struggle for Existence

2:30 p.m.

The film Struggle for Existence combines animation and graphics with documentary material to spin a compelling story of an endangered finch on the verge of extinction living in the Extinction Capital of the World — The Hawaiian Islands. The palila is a native forest bird that lives on the slopes of Maunakea Volcano on Hawaiʻi Island; fewer than 1,100 survive in the wild. In 2025, five palila finches remain, and a woman journeys to Hawaiʻi to see the last few birds.

The film, directed by Laurie Sumiye, questions how life is valued and preserved by man as a species nears extinction, through looking at past and present conservation efforts. Struggle for Existence contemplates Darwin’s theory of natural selection, inevitability of death for all living things, and our human instinct to “save nature.” The film won Best Documentary at the CUNY Asian American Film Festival; and Best Short Documentary, Student Category, at the American Conservation Film Festival. Screenings were held at Hawaiʻi International Film Festival, DOCUtah, and NY Asian American Film Festival.

Main Tent Entertainment


10:30 a.m.

Pele Kaio
Pele Kaio

Under the direction of Kumu Hula Pele Kaio, Unulau is a hālau hula whose name means, “The multitudes of UNU.” UNU is a name that is shared by all hālau born from Unukupukupu, their mother hālau. Anchored in the philosophy, pedagogy, and fire traditions of the hula ʻaihaʻa, the hālau promotes and perpetuates ʻike (knowledge) and education through hula, as it is the platform by which they engage, inspire, and inform their relationship to the environment and the spirit.

Pōkiʻi Seto

11:15 a.m.

Live music performance.

Kaleimaumaka Lorenzo

12:30 p.m.

Live music performance.

Kinohi, Nāmaka, & Bruce

1:45 p.m.

Live music performance.

ʻImiloa Astronomy Center

ʻImiloa Astronomy Center’s mission is to share the legacy of Hawaiʻi exploration in many fields through a wide range of exhibits, community outreach, programs, and other forms of informal science education. The center is distinctive in it’s architectural structures of conical-shaped buildings that house a welcoming lobby, exhibit hall, full-dome planetarium, café, and gift shop. The center is surrounded by nine acres of native gardens.

ʻImiloa is located at UH Hilo’s University Park of Science and Technology, 600 ʻImiloa Place, off Komohana and Nowelo streets.

Gardens at Imiloa

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