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.

Opening Night at the Hui

We had a beautiful opening of Mālama Wao Akua 2016 last Friday at the Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center!  We had 168 artists enter, with 85 artists selected to be on display, exhibiting 94 pieces of art from all ages.  It was a great evening with food donations from Old Lahaina Luau, Flatbread Pizza, Mana Foods and Pukalani Superette.  Halau Wehiwehi O Leilehua danced, played music and sang!  Mahalo to Bryan Berkowitz for his talents in photography for the opening night event.  Join us for more excitement with our Talk Story Thursdays being held throughout the exhibit.  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. 10th with FREE admission.  A portion of all sales benefit EMWP.

We also would like to thank Judy McCorkle and Tom Reed of Aloha Recycling INC and Pacific Biodiesel 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 pieces for MWA 2016!


Jurors Pat Bily & Melissa Chimera

We want to thank the 167 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 217 entries the jurors Pat Bily and Melissa Chimera took over 6 hours deciding which 94 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.


Jurors Walk Through: Friday, Sept. 9th 4-4:45pm

Blessing and Opening: Friday, Sept. 9th 5-8pm

Talk Story Thursdays: 5-6pm click here for schedule of speakers

Mālama Wao Akua 2016—Accepted Works in order of last name:



Juring in process

Allan, George
Anderman, Gabrielle
The Silversword
Arens, Tania
Into The Koa Forest
Arkin, Gwen

Read More»

Talk Story Thursdays at the Hui 2016

Join us Thursdays throughout Mālama Wao Akua to listen to what experts have to say about conservation on Maui!  Talks are at the Hui Noʻeau Visual Arts Center in Makawao from 5pm-6pm.

Date Who Affiliation
Sept. 15th Dr. Art Medeiros Auwahi Forest Restoration Project, PCSU
Oct. 6th Dr. Fern Duvall Maui Nui Program Manager, DLNR/DOFAW Native Ecosystems Protection and Management
Oct. 20th Joy Tamayose Wildlife Biologist, HNP Endangered Wildlife Management Division
Nov. 3rd (NEW Date) Dan Eisenberg East Maui Watershed Partnership, PCSU

 Learn more about our speakers!

ArtMDr. Art Medeiros- Auwahi Forest Restoration Project, PCSU

Dr. Arthur Medeiros began his career at Haleakalā National Park working there for over a decade as botanist and researcher. Subsequently, he founded both the Auwahi Forest Restoration Project and the Leeward Haleakalā Watershed Restoration Partnership, sister organization to EMWP.  Art has authored over 80 scientific articles and currently works as a Research Biologist with the Pacific Islands Ecosystem Research Center of the US Geological Survey.

Join Dr. Medeiros as he walks through the gallery and shares inspiring stories of the forest and the species on display Sept. 15th.

FernDuvall_FBDr. Fern Duvall II – DLNR/DOFAW Native Ecosystems Protection and Management-Maui Nui Program Manager

Fern works closely with conservation agency’s to enhance and conserve biodiversity and preservation of the most unique and pristine lands in the State.  Prior to his current position, he was the State Wildlife Biologist for almost 20 years and has worked closely with Maui’s water birds and forest birds and monitored native threatened and endangered plant status.  He is also vice-chair of the Maui Nui Invasive Species Committee.

Dr. Duvall II will walk through the gallery answering questions and pointing out unique characteristic of the species on display.  Delve deeper in your knowledge and you may be inspired for a new species to enter next year! Oct. 6th.

Joy_WaoAkuaJoy Tamayose- Wildlife biologist, Endangered Wildlife Management Program, Resources Management Division at Haleakalā National Park.

Born and raised in Haiku, Maui.  Obtained a B.A. in biology from Grinnell College and M.S. in wildlife science from Oregon State University.  Have been privileged to work with nene and ‘ua’u at Haleakala since 1992.

Mrs. Tamayose knows Haleakalā and the history of its species. Come on Oct. 20th to gain from her expertise.


Dan Eisenberg- EMWP Program Manager

Since 2008 Dan has been involved in on the ground natural resource management in East Maui.  He came to EMWP with a lifelong experience of extended trips to rugged environments including geologic field work, lightweight backpacking, and competitive rock climbing.

Mr. Eisenberg is knowledgeable on all things with East Maui Watershed.  Learn about what EMWP does to help protect and preserve our native species on Nov. 3rd.


MWA Info Session


Join us at the Hui Noʻeau Visual Arts Center along with artist Mike Neal where we will explain what it means to enter MWA.  We will share ideas on how to research species “Native to Maui Nui” along with what the eligibility requirements are for the exhibit.  EMWP and Hui staff will be on hand to answer questions about the exhibit and confirm any species you might already have in mind. Resources will be available if you still need to find inspiration.

 Tuesday, July 5th


Hui Noʻeau Visual Arts Center


Mike Neal2 Artist Mike Neal is a self pronounced “jack of all trades”. He has worked in restaurants, commercial painting, ministry, and construction.  But it was not until he turned fifty that he decided to explore his interest in woodworking and photography.  In them he found a passion and expression of the things that excite him about Hawaiʻi. His nature photography and woodwork focus on endangered rare birds, sea life and the breathtaking land and seascapes. He has been entering MWA since 2008 and has experience on how to research, as an artist, for this exhibit.

Meet the Jurors for MWA ’16

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.

We are lucky to have two jurors this year that not only have quality expertise in their field of art or science, but BOTH share a passionate love and understanding for our native forested watersheds!  They both have fun loving personalities and are some of EMWP’s favorite people.  Read their bios below to learn more about them.


Ainahou cliffs_AdjustedPat Bily- Science Specialist II for The Nature Conservancy – Maui Office

Working with plants on Maui for the last 40 years, Pat Bily has experience in farming, landscape, propagation, and watershed conservation.  Employed by The Nature Conservancy as a Science Specialist for 26 years has allowed him to see many of Maui Nui’s most remote natural areas, with his expertise focused on nurturing the unique native plants while punishing the nasty invasive plants.  An appreciator of the many forms of art since his youth, he’s followed the impressive evolution of the Mālama Wao Akua competition since its inception.





Melissa_WEBMelissa Chimera – Artist
Melissa Chimera studied Natural Resources Management and painting at the University of Hawai`i, the world’s epicenter of plant and animal extinction. In 2009, Chimera was commissioned with her mother and poet Adele Ne Jame to paint rare Hawaiian species for Inheritance: Reclaiming Land and Spirit, for the Sharjah Biennial 9, United Arab Emirates. Most recently, Chimera was a featured solo artist at the Hui No`eau and in a nationwide exhibition celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, Flora of the National Parks, in Washington D.C.


Guided TNC Waikamoi Preserve Hikes

Boardwalk_JennaSzerlag_WEBBoardwalk Hike

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.

Time: 8am-3pm.

Offered:  Friday, July 8th & Tuesday, August 2nd






BirdBird Loop Hike

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.


Time: 8am-1:30pm

Offered: Wednesday, June 29th & Wednesday, July 20th


Contact EMWP to sign up at 573-6999 or

  • Hikes meet in Pukalani.
  • Limited transportation is available.
  • Approx. 30min will be given on your own to photograph and sketch.
  • Hikers must bring: water, sunglasses/hat, sunscreen, rain gear, snacks or lunch, backpack to carry it in, and wear sturdy close toed shoes.
  • Space is limited
  • Hikes may be changed or canceled at any time due to changes in the threat of an invasive fungus called Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death.



Get Excited about Mālama Wao Akua 2016!

We are thrilled to again be partnering with the Hui Noʻeau Visual Arts Center and we want YOU to get excited about Maui Nui native species!! It is time to research, visit places, and create for the love of our ʻāina.

This is an especially important year as East Maui Watershed Partnership is proud to be celebrating it’s 25th year as the FIRST watershed partnership in the State.  We invite you to learn about Maui’s native species by:

  • Visit our website to learn about the important work we do
  • Teachers, get your class involved. See ʻTips for Teachers” on the artist resources page.
  • Take a hike with us into the TNC’s Waikamoi Preserve. More info on the blog page.
  • Spark your artistic ideas by taking a class at the Hui
  • Attend the info session on entering MWA on July 5th at the Hui from 5pm-6pm

More ideas for inspiration can be found on the artists resources page.  Read the prospectus for more detailed eligibility criteria.  Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center is located at 2841 Baldwin Ave. Makawao, HI 96768


Joseph Imhoff and his son Henry

Joseph Imhoff and his son Henry

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