Maui Ocean Center exhibits explore connection between Hawaiians and the sea (HI Now)

Jobeth Devera of HI Now tours the Aquarium with Kahu Dane Maxwell, Maui Ocean Center’s Hawaiian Cultural Advisor, to learn about the connection between Hawaiians and the sea.

From interactive exhibits to its groundbreaking humpback whale experience, there’s so much to see and learn at the newly renovated Maui Ocean Center. The aquarium also features two unique exhibits highlighting the relationship between Hawaiians and the sea. HI Now host Jobeth Devera met up with Kahu Dane Maxwell to talk more about these exhibits and his unique role as the aquarium’s Hawaiian cultural advisor.

Maui Ocean Center’s “Hawaiians & The Sea” exhibit is where people can learn about the history, culture, and unique traditions that permeated early Hawaiian villages. Guests can also explore their special connection with the sea and appreciate the great understanding they exhibited in their care for both land and marine environments.

To commemorate the past, present, and future of Kaho’olawe, Maui Ocean Center unveiled, “Kaho’olawe: A Story of History and Healing.” An island steeped in cultural reverence and historical significance, Kaho’olawe has long been a sacred and storied place for Native Hawaiians. A center for celestial navigation training, cultural and religious practices, and agriculture, Kaho’olawe’s history is marked by a controversial era of intense U.S. military target practice and operation training that brought forth a movement to end military activity and restore Kaho’olawe.

Created in collaboration with the Kaho’olawe Island Reserve Commission (KIRC), Maui Ocean Center has supplemented KIRC’s previously exhibited content from the Smithsonian and Bishop Museum with additional insight into Kaho’olawe’s role in navigation, the marine life that inhabit its waters, and the role and progress generated by KIRC and volunteers. Designed to show the power of change, both good and bad, the exhibit follows the timeline of Kaho’olawe’s development from the first settlement to current restoration projects.

About Maui Ocean Center:
Since 1998, Maui Ocean Center has fostered understanding, wonder, and respect for Hawaii’s marine life, drawing thousands of visitors from across the globe. The three acre marine park, located in Wailuku, Maui, faithfully replicates the natural ocean ecosystem featuring only animals who are native to Hawaii. The center features the largest collection of live Pacific corals in the world, over 60 exhibits, 20 daily presentations by marine naturalists, outdoor tide pools and a 750,000-gallon Open Ocean exhibit with a 240-degree view acrylic tunnel. Maui Ocean Center operates in compliance with a County of Maui ordinance prohibiting the exhibit of cetaceans (whales and dolphins), and offers exploration of these creatures through interpretive displays.

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