Opening Night and Continuing Events at the Hui!

We had a beautiful opening of Mālama Wao Akua 2017 last Friday at the Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center!  We had 188 artists enter, with 88 artists selected to be on display, exhibiting 89 pieces of art from all ages.  It was a great evening with food donations from Old Lahaina Luau, Flatbread Pizza, Mana Foods, Gypsy Maui and Pukalani Superette.  Halau Wehiwehi O Leilehua danced throughout the evening providing us with a stunning and elegant show.  Mahalo to Bryan Berkowitz for his talents in photography for the opening night event. If you were not able to join us on the opening night, the exhibit will be on display daily at the Hui from 9am-4pm through Nov. 7th with FREE admission.  A portion of all sales benefit EMWP.

Join us for more excitement with our Talk Story Thursdays being held throughout the exhibit from 5-6pm at the Hui.  Each environmental expert will take you on a journey through species on display while discussing the latest concerns and programs protecting Maui’s environment.

Sept. 21st: Dr. Fern Duvall II – Maui Nui Program Manager, DLNR/DOFAW Native Ecosystems Protection and Management
Oct. 5th: Dan Eisenberg – EMWP Program Manager, PCSU
Oct. 19th: Pat Bily – Science Specialist II for The Nature Conservancy, Maui Office
Nov. 2nd: Dr. Art Medeiros – Auwahi Forest Restoration Project, PCSU

We also would like to thank Judy McCorkle and Tom Reed of Aloha Recycling INC for sponsoring this event and all of the wonderful staff at Hui Noʻeau Visual Arts Center.

click on any of the photos for a larger view

Selected Art for MWA 2017!

Jurors Tamara Sherrill and Mike Takemoto

Jurors Tamara Sherrill and Mike Takemoto

We want to thank the 188 artists who worked and researched Maui Nui’s native species to enter the exhibit this year!  Whether your piece was selected or not, your dedication to use your talent to help raise awareness about our unique flora and fauna means so much to us.  We sincerely hope you enjoyed the process and possibly found out something new about our beautiful home.  With  257 entries it took the jurors Tamara Sherrill and Mike Takemoto several hours to decide which 89 pieces made it into the exhibit. We hope that you will continue this educational journey by joining us at all the events throughout the exhibit.


Selected Artwork


Jurors Walk Through: Friday, Sept. 15th 4-4:45pm

Blessing and Opening: Friday, Sept. 15th 5-8pm

Talk Story Thursdays: 5-6pm at the Hui

Join us to listen to some of Maui’s most notable environmental experts as they discuss the species in the exhibit and about conservation work being done on Maui.

 Sept 21st: Dr. Fern Duvall II, Maui Nui Program Manager, DLNR/DOFAW Native Ecosystems Protection and Management

Oct. 5th: Dan Eisenberg, EMWP Program Manager, PCSU

Oct. 19th: Pat Bily, Science Specialist II for The Nature Conservancy – Maui Office

Nov. 2nd: Dr. Art Medeiros, Auwahi Forest Restoration Project, PCSU

New Education Opportunities for Artists!

We are excited to announce partnerships with other conservation organizations that will be holding special events for artists to find inspiration for this exhibit.  Please contact the respective organization to register unless otherwise noted.


Maui Nui Botanical GardensMNBG Front Entrance 2

Maui Nui Botanical Gardens welcomes all Malama Wao Akua participants to come and explore the Gardens, FREE of charge, to learn about the cherished plants of Maui Nui  and get inspired to create a masterpiece to be entered into Maui’s only annual native species juried exhibition: Mālama Wao Akua 2017.  The Gardens are located at 150 Kanalo Avenue in Kahului, Maui. Signs at the garden depict which plants are native to Hawaiʻi, but not specifically to Maui Nui.

The mission of Maui Nui Botanical Gardens (MNBG) is to foster appreciation and understanding of Maui Nui’s plants and their role in Hawaiian cultural expression by providing a gathering place for discovery, education, and conservation. MNBG features more than 140 labeled native Hawaiian and Polynesian-introduced plants, and 112 unique Hawaiian cultivars of traditional crops such as taro, sugarcane and banana. Located on a County-owned site adjacent to Central Maui’s largest park and recreation area, Maui Nui Botanical Gardens provides an important educational and conservational resource that benefits local students, residents, various community organizations and conservation groups, and tourist visitors.

MNBG has also developed partnerships with cultural practitioners and local educators to provide workshops for Maui students and members of several Hawaiian culture-based organizations on an ongoing basis. All emphasize the connection between plants in our collection and their role in Hawaiian culture, and we are proud to have accomplished practitioners and well respected researchers lead these classes. MNBG incorporates water conservation techniques like xeriscaping, and provides a place where people can learn about money saving water conservation methods.

Merwin PalmsThe Merwin Conservancy

Tour 7 Species of Maui Native “Loulu” Palms & Other Native Plants at Historic Merwin Conservancy Property.  The Prichardia spp. of palms are the only native palm trees to Hawaiʻi.  These palms face many threats in today’s world and are not commonly seen. These two special tours will showcase these palms at various growth stages both big and small and even showcase some sprouting in the nursery. A Merwin Conservancy staff member will accompany Mālama Wao Akua artists and allow for the time and space to create during each three-hour period in this very special place, still the private residence of W.S. Merwin.

Tuesday, August 15th & Wednesday, August 16th   9am – 12 noon

Contact Sara Tekula to sign-up at or (808)871-5270 (e-mail preferred)

Maui Nui species on display include:

Pritchardia arecina (Maui)
Pritchardia forbesiana (Maui & Molokai)
Pritchardia monroi (Maui & Molokai)
Pritchardia glabrata (Maui & Lanai)
Pritchardia woodii (Maui)
Prichardia hillebrandii (Molokai and perhaps Maui…)
Pritchardia lowreyana (Molokai)

The Marriage of Art & Nature comes to life at The Merwin Conservancy, where an artist has lived since 1977 imagining and creating some of the best poetry of our time while engaging in daily gardening practice and achieving an astonishing feat of land restoration. 

While The Merwin Conservancy is not a native forest, it is a living example of the stewardship and dedication of a very important person, U.S. Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin, who is considered one of the greatest poets of our time. Over the past 40 years, Mr. Merwin has painstakingly transformed a completely denuded, 19-acre former pineapple plantation into one of the world’s most important assemblages of rare palm species, including many examples of 14 of the 19 Pritchardia species native to the Hawaiian islands. Pritchardia is the native Hawaiian fan palm, known as loulu. In addition, there is a grove of native hala trees, native fern (moa) and native hibiscus, flourishing among nearly 3,000 individual palm trees from tropical regions around the world, many of which are near extinction in the wild.

Auwahi (83)

Auwahi Forest Restoration Project

Special tour for artists: Monday, August 7th

E-mail to request a spot.  Seating is extremely limited for artists only. All gear should be free of weed seeds, over the ankle boots required and must be in reasonable shape for short rambles.

Disproportionately impacted by grazing, wildfire, and displacement by agriculture and human settlements, tropical leeward forests are among the most critically threatened of ecosystems in Hawai’i and worldwide. Despite their degraded state, Hawaiian leeward forests remain important refugia harboring high numbers of threatened species including over 25% of Endangered Hawaiian plant species.

Auwahi leeward forest was previously known to be among the most diverse of Hawaiian ecosystems. Currently, Auwahi is among the world’s most endangered tropical dry forests with 9 species listed as Endangered with USFWS and 7 listed as endangered with IUCN Red List status. Culturally, leeward forests are highly valued by native Hawaiians for ethnobotanical source materials, especially durable hardwoods for tools and weapons, and species with utilitarian, medicinal or religious significance.


Birdloop_AMW_ArtHike_SmallEast Maui Watershed Partnership Hikes for Artists

EMWP is leading hikes for artists into The Nature Conservancy’s Waikamoi Preserve and on Haleakala Ranch’s Puʻu Pahu Reserve.  Go to this event page for detail information




More information on places to visit, volunteer and books and websites to read to learn about native species at


Meet the Jurors!

Mālama Wao Akua is a unique exhibit that hosts two jurors from different backgrounds.  One that is based in art and looks at entries from an artistic standpoint and one that is based in science and focuses on the conservation and native species elements. This allows pieces chosen for the exhibit to be a true blend of both art and science!


TamaraSherrill_MNBGTamara Sherrill, Executive Director at Maui Nui Botanical Gardens
Tamara Sherrill has worked 14 years with Maui Nui Botanical Gardens, a public native plant garden in Kahului. She was instrumental in building the MNBG plant collection which features coastal and low elevation plants of Maui County, and pre-European contact cultivars of kalo and other food plants. She holds a Natural Resources Management BS from UH Manoa and was a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife while attending college. She first became interested in native plants while working as a landscaper in Wailea, and learned by hiking with the Native Hawaiian Plant Society.





Mike Takemoto, Visual Artist and Associate Professor of Art at UH Maui College

Takemoto graduated from Baldwin High School and received a BFA in Drawing, Painting and Printmaking from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa.  He earned an MA and an MFA in Drawing and Painting from Northern Illinois University.

Takemoto has exhibited his paintings, murals, sculpture, and installations at various locations in Hawai’i, including the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, and the Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center.  In 2003, his work was featured in the 6th Biennial of Hawai’i Artists at the Contemporary Museum in Honolulu.

At UHMC, Takemoto teaches courses in art appreciation, drawing, painting, and printmaking.  He has also worked as a teaching artist with the Maui Arts and Cultural Center education program; the Artists-in-the-Schools Program, and the Art Exploratory.

Guided Hikes for Artists

Photographer WaikamoiLet East Maui Watershed Partnership take you into Maui’s natural environment and introduce you to Maui’s native Species including plants, birds, and insects.  Find inspiration on one of these hikes to create you next masterpiece and enter it into Maui’s only annual native species juried exhibition Mālama Wao Akua 2017!

  • Registration is required by calling 573-6999 or e-mailing
  • Hikes will meet in Pukalani by Longs in the back parking lot
  • Extra time is made for photography and sketching, so bring your supplies!
  • Hikers must bring: Water, sunglasses/hat, sunscreen, rain gear, snacks or lunch, backpack to carry it all in  and sturdy closed toes shoes.


We will be leading 4 hikes on 3 different trails!

The Nature Conservancy’s Waikamoi Preserve

Boardwalk Trail 8am-4pm

Friday, July 28th & Monday, August 14thWaikamoi Boardwalk

Journey into Maui’s Native forest and end up immersed in a place that is the same as it was before the arrival of humans to this island. Hike is 3miles round trip, moderate-strenuous with about 700ft elevation change on uneven terrain.


Birdloop Trail 8am-2pm

Tuesday, August 1st`Apapane (Himatione sanguinea) - Haleakala N.P., Maui, Hawai`iv

Enter into a gulch filled with Native honeycreepers, Hawai‘i koa, ōhi‘a trees and ferns. Learn about this magical place and why native species hold such great importance to our way of life. Hike is easy-moderate, 1.25 mi roundtrip on uneven terrain.



Haleakala Ranch Puʻu Pahu Reserve (NEW)

Pohakuokala Gulch Scout 8am-2pm

Wednesday, August 9thHaleakala Ranch Gulch

After a brief hike through subalpine shrublands we will arrive at Pohakuokala Gulch inside Haleakala Ranch’s Puʻu Pahu Reserve.  As we make our way up the gulch on an intermittent-dry riverbed we will be treated with views of native species that have made this place their home like ōhiʻa, aʻaliʻi, and iliahi. Hike is moderate, 3mi round trip journey with no defined trail on uneven ground and rock at elevation.

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