Public Invited to Nominate Native & Culturally Important Trees to Compete in the National Big Trees Competition

The Department of Land and Natural Resources invites the public to help Hawai‘i compete in American Forests’ National Big Tree Program. The Big Tree Program seeks the largest trees of their species in the United States – called National Champions. American Forests’ Fall 2012 National Register of Big Trees represents 780 National Champion trees.

There are currently 870 tree species eligible for nomination in the national program and over 200 species without champions.

A Koa in Kona Hema Preserve, Hawai‘i

A Koa in Kona Hema Preserve, Hawai‘i

Last year, six trees from Hawai‘i gained national titles, including the following:

  • A Koa in Kona Hema Preserve, Hawai‘i
  • Two Coconut trees* in Kapuaiwa Coconut Beach Park, Molokai
  • A Hau at Hulihe`e Palace, Hawaii
  • An `A`ali`i at Maui Nui Botanical Gardens, Maui
  • A Mānele at Kipuka Puaulu, Volcano National Park, Hawai‘i

“These trees form the uniquely Hawaiian rainforest, an essential part of Hawaii’s biological and cultural heritage. Because these native trees absorb rainfall and cloud water, protecting these forests is the most cost effective and efficient way to secure Hawaii’s water supply,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR Chairperson.

A Hau at Hulihe`e Palace, Hawaii

A Hau at Hulihe`e Palace, Hawaii

The State of Hawai‘i is looking forward to taking part in the Big Tree Program and is inviting the public to submit nominations for candidates of the following species:

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

To nominate a tree, you need to provide three measurements: Trunk Circumference (inches), Height (feet), and Average Crown Spread (feet). These are combined to assign the tree a score. We also need to know the exact location to verify any candidates. If you have photographs of the tree, please include those in your submission.

American Forests, the oldest national nonprofit conservation organization in the country, advocates for the protection and expansion of America’s forests. Since 1990, they have planted more than 40 million trees. They work to restore watersheds to help provide clean drinking water, and replant forests destroyed by human action and by natural disasters.

To learn more about the specific measuring requirements please review the guidelines at the American Forests website

Please send your measurements by February 1, 2012 along with GPS coordinates or specific directions to a candidate big tree to:

Hannah Bergemann
DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife
1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 325
Honolulu, HI 96813


The 50th Merrie Monarch Announces the Participants for the 2013 Merrie Monarch Festival

The 50th Merrie Monarch announced its participants in the 2013 Merrie Monarch Festival.

Photos from the Merrie Monarch Site

Photos from the Merrie Monarch Site

Oʻahu Island

1.  Hālau Hula Olana  (Wahine)
Olana and Howard Ai
Puʻuloa, Oʻahu

2.  Hālau I Ka Wēkiu  (Kāne & Wahine)
Karl Veto Baker and Michael Casupang
Pauoa, Oʻahu

3.  Ka Pā Hula O Ka Lei Lehua  (Kāne)
Snowbird Bento
Honolulu, Oʻahu

4.  Ka Pā Hula ʻO Kauanoe ʻO Waʻahila  (Wahine)
Maelia Loebenstein Carter
Kaimukī, Oʻahu

5.  Hālau O Nā Pua Kukui (Kāne)
Ed Collier
Kalihi, Oʻahu

6.  Keolalaulani Hālau ʻŌlapa O Laka  (Kāne & Wahine)
Aloha Dalire
Heʻeia, Oʻahu and Hilo, Hawaiʻi

7. Hālau Mōhala ʻIlima  (Wahine)
Māpuana de Silva
Kaʻōhao, Hawaiʻi

8. Hālau Ke Kia‘i A O Hula (Wahine)
Kapiʻolani Haʻo
Kalihi and Kapālama, Oʻahu

9.  Keali‘ika‘apunihonua Ke‘ena A‘o Hula  (Wahine)
Leimomi Ho
Honolulu, Oʻahu

10.  Hula Hālau ʻO Kamuela  (Wahine)
Kauʻionalani Kamanaʻo and Kunewa Mook
Kalihi & Waimānalo, Hawaiʻi

11.  Ka Lā ʻŌnohi Mai O Haʻehaʻe  (Wahine)
Tracie and Keawe Lopes
Kahauiki, Oʻahu

12.  Kawailiʻula (Kāne)
Chinky Māhoe
Kailua, Oʻahu

13. Hālau Kekuaokalāʻauʻalaʻaʻiliahi (Kāne)
Laʻakea Perry
Wailuku, Maui

14. Ka Leo O Laka I Ka Hikina O Ka Lā (Kāne & Wahine)
Kaleo Trinidad
Honolulu, Oʻahu

15. Hālau Hula Ka Lehua Tuahine (Wahine)
Kaʻilihiwa Vaughn-Darval
Mānoa, Oʻahu

Hawaiʻi Island

16.  Hālau Hula ʻO Kahikilaulani  (Kāne & Wahine)
Nāhōkū Gaspang
Hilo, Hawaiʻi

17.  Hālau Hula Nā Pua Uʻi O Hawaiʻi  (Wahine)
Etua Lopes
Kailua Kona, Hawaiʻi

18. Hālau O Ka Ua Kani Lehua (Wahine)
Johnny Lum Ho
Hilo, Hawaiʻi

19. Hālau Kekuaokalāʻauʻalaʻaʻiliahi (Wahine)
Glenn Kelena Vasconcellos
Hilo, Hawaiʻi

Merrie Monarch Dance

Maui Island

20. Hālau O Ke Ānuenue (Wahine)
Nāpua Makua and Kahulu Maluo
Wailuku, Maui

21. Hālau Kekuaokalāʻauʻalaʻaʻiliahi (Kāne)
ʻIliahi and Haunani Paredes
Kula, Maui

Merrie Monarch Dance

Kauaʻi Island

22. Hālau Ka Lei Mokihana O Leināʻala (Wahine)
Leināʻala Pavao Jardin
Kalāheo, Kauaʻi

23. Healani’s Hula Hālau (Wahine)
Beverly Apana Muraoka
Kapaʻa, Kauaʻi

Merrie Monarch Dance


24.  Hālau Kealiʻi O Nālani (Wahine)
Kealiʻi Ceballos
Los Angeles, Caifornia

25. Academy of Hawaiian Arts (Kāne)
Mark Kealiʻi Hoʻomalu
Oakland, California

26. Hālau ʻO Lilinoe (Wahine)
Sissy and Lilinoe Kaio
Carson, California

Kumu and Judges for the 50th Annual 2013 Merrie Monarch (Click for larger image)

Kumu and Judges for the 50th Annual 2013 Merrie Monarch (Click for larger image)


  • Cy Bridges
  • Nālani Kanakaʻole
  • Mae Kamāmalu Klein
  • Joan S. Lindsey
  • Noenoelani Zuttermeister Lewis
  • Kealiʻi Reichel
  • Kalena Silva

For more information about the festival see here: 2013 Merrie Monarch
[vimeo 40343651 w=400 h=300]

County of Hawaii Improves Its Camping Permitting Process, the private company operating the Department of Parks and Recreation’s camping website, will begin offering a more user-friendly online permitting service on Monday, December 31.

That’s when people visiting will be able create a personalized account to make or cancel camping reservations, seek a permit refund and learn additional information about County of Hawai‘i campgrounds.


County benefits of the upgraded website will include improved accounting, along with the flexibility to post closure notices, marine warnings and other park updates online. Also, the new system will collect the names of all registered campers, enhancing campground security for park users.

To accommodate the website upgrade, no camping permits will be issued or reservations accepted on Saturday, December 29, or Sunday, December 30. The Department of Parks and Recreation apologizes for this temporary inconvenience and wishes to thank the public for its understanding.

Once the new system is activated, will start collecting online convenience fees for camping permits the Department of Parks and Recreation issues from its offices island-wide.

A nightly camping permit will be $6 for each adult, $2.25 for each teenager between the ages of 13 and 17 years old, and $1 for a child up to age 12.

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105, or

DLNR to Close Hapuna and Kekaha Kai State Park Early On New Year’s Eve

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) will close Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area and Kekaha Kai State Park early on New Year’s Eve, Monday, December 31, 2012.

Hapuna Beach

Hapuna Beach

Hapuna Beach SRA, including the Waialea Bay section, and Kekaha Kai State Park, including the Manini‘owali (Kua Bay) and Mahaiula sections, will both close at 5:00 p.m. “We are closing the park early to discourage use of fireworks, which is prohibited in state parks, and to protect the public and natural resources of the area,” said DLNR Chairperson, William J. Aila, Jr.

Normal park hours will resume on Tuesday, January 1, 2013 as follows: Kekaha Kai State Park – 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Hapuna Beach State Recreation Area – 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.


Big Island Police Searching for Man Wanted for Fraudulent Use of Credit Card

Big Island police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a man wanted for numerous instances of fraudulent use of a credit card and theft of more than $1,700 in Hilo, Waimea and Pāhoa.

Police are looking for this guy.

Police are looking for this guy.

The suspect is described as a local or Hispanic male in his late 20s to early 30s, about 5-foot-9, bald with a goatee, and tattoos on his neck and left arm. Police ask that anyone with information on his identity or his whereabouts call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Tipsters who prefer to remain anonymous may call Crime Stoppers at 961-8300 in Hilo or 329-8181 in Kona and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000. Crime Stoppers is a volunteer program run by ordinary citizens who want to keep their community safe. Crime Stoppers doesn’t record calls or subscribe to caller ID. All Crime Stoppers information is kept confidential.

Merchants are reminded to follow proper protocol when making credit card transactions and to be especially cautious when processing large purchases—especially if the credit card doesn’t swipe properly. When in doubt, check with the credit card company.


Pahoa Pool Getting $1.55 Million Upgrade – Warm Water on the Way

The Department of Parks and Recreation is investing $1.55 million to enhance the operation and usability of the Pāhoa Aquatic Center.

My son was so cold during his swim lessons, that he had to get out of the water and warm up despite wearing a rash guard!

My son was so cold during his swim lessons, that he had to get out of the water and warm up despite wearing a rash guard!

Isemoto Contracting Co. Ltd. will expand the pool’s equipment building; reconfigure the pool’s pumps, circulation piping, and filtration system; and address recurring leaks that have begun to severely impact the daily operation of the pool. Improved water quality, lower operational costs and the ability to prevent or mitigate pool closures following an electrical outage will be among the significant public benefits.

Contract terms also call for installing roof-mounted solar heating panels to help warm the pool water, a new variable frequency drive to manage the pump motors more efficiently, and performing various repairs and safety upgrades to the facility.


Construction work will require closing the Pāhoa Aquatic Center for approximately six months starting Monday, January 7. The Department of Parks and Recreation apologizes for this inconvenience, and thanks swimmers, other pool users and the general public for their patience and understanding while this critical work is performed.

During the closure, users of the Pāhoa Aquatic Center are encouraged to visit Hilo’s Kawamoto Swim Stadium or Pāhala Swimming Pool located on the grounds of Ka‘ū High and Pāhala Elementary School. Operating hours, contact information and a list of other County of Hawai‘i swimming pools are available at

For more information, please contact Jason Armstrong, Public Information Officer, at 345-9105, or