For the first time, an aerial show is coming to Hilo town! “Take Flight: An Evening of Aerial” will show for one-night only at the historic Hilo Palace Theater on Friday, May 12. Produced by Mirabilia Aerial Co. and Puna Aerialists, the 90-minute show features 10 artists performing 15 different acts on aerial silks, lyra, rope, hammock, and pole. The show spotlights an international lineup with artists from Columbia, Germany, Italy and Sweden, as well as several Big Island-born aerialists. While the Palace Theater has featured singular aerial acts at various events in the past, never before has it housed an aerial-only show.
“Our aerial group has been dreaming of doing a show at the Palace Theater for over four years, and we’re very excited it’s finally happening,” says show producer Zoe Eisenberg, who is co-producing the event alongside Bella O’Toole, an aerial instructor who teaches aerial classes twice a week at Pacific Gymnastics’ facility in Hilo.
This is not the first show put on by Eisenberg and O’Toole. The pair, who will appear in a duo lyra act, produced a 2015 show at Kalani Retreat Center in Kalapana.
“We encourage all our artists to choreograph their own routines, which inspires more creativity and diversity in the show,” explains O’Toole, founder of Mirabilia Aerial Co. Acts will range in emotion from dramatic to soulful and even comedic.
Starting this month through July, Hawaiian Airlines will air a special short film, “The ʻŌhiʻa, the Story of Hawaiʻi’s Tree,” as part of its Hawaiian Skies domestic in-flight programming. In partnership with Kupu, Hawai‘i’s leading conservation and youth education organization, USDA Forest Service and Hālau ʻŌhiʻa – Hawaiʻi Stewardship Training program on Hawai‘i Island, the video highlights the cultural and ecological significance of ʻōhiʻa and the impact of Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death (ROD).
ʻŌhiʻa are the most abundant native tree species throughout the state of Hawaiʻi and hold significant biological, cultural and economic value. (Photo by JB Friday)
“This video project presented an opportunity not only to address a major conservation issue, but also share the important work that is being done by our partners, program participants and the community on Hawai‘i Island,” said John Leong, Kupu CEO. “We need to continue to work together to increase awareness about these types of issues, while empowering the next generation of environmental stewards and leaders who will continue to protect our environment and develop more resilient and sustainable communities in Hawai‘i.”
The short film features scientists, conservationists, kumu hula, dancers and families of Hawai‘i Island’s community, who are bound by their aloha for and commitment to ʻōhiʻa. Each share personal stories about ʻōhiʻa and the vital role this tree plays in the environment, Hawaiian culture and community. Featured speakers include: USDA Forest Service Research Ecologists Christian Giardina and Flint Hughes, and Natural Resource Specialist Kainana Francisco; USDA Agricultural Research Service Plant Pathologist Lisa Keith; Hālau ‘Ōhiʻa – Hawaiʻi Stewardship Training Founder and Trainer Kekuhi Keali‘ikanaka‘oleohaililani; Kupu Interns Ardena Saarinen and Kawehi Lopez, and Program Coordinator Malia Heimuli; and Lahela Camara and her daughter Hāwelelani.
“As a destination carrier, we strive to provide our guests with warm hospitality and unique in-flight offerings,” said Renee Awana, senior manager of product development at Hawaiian Airlines. “As part of that, we also understand the importance of educating visitors about our pristine and fragile island habitat. Together with Kupu, we believe this film will shine a light on an important issue that all travelers should be aware of.”
Five species of ʻōhiʻa are endemic to Hawai‘i, one of which, Metrosideros polymorpha, is the most abundant native species in Hawai‘i, making up 80 percent of native forests. As one of the first plants to colonize an area after a lava flow, ʻōhiʻa trees are instrumental in developing soil and forming new ecosystems. They dominate old soil and most everything in between, providing critical habitats for countless native species throughout the Hawaiian Islands.
Not only is ʻōhiʻa considered one of the most ecologically significant plants in Hawai‘i, it is deeply rooted in Hawaiian culture through moʻolelo (stories), mele (song), ʻoli (chant) and hula (dance).
“ʻŌhiʻa is as old as the volcanic islands,” said Kekuhi Kealiʻikanakaʻoleohaililani of Hālau ʻŌhiʻa. “When we talk about their significance, we may talk about objects of the culture. But, what we need to begin talking about seriously, is if the ʻōhiʻa were not here, what about our lifeway might change.”
Rapid ‘Ōhiʻa Death (ROD) is a disease caused by the fungus Ceratocystis Fimbriata. Since it was discovered in 2014, ROD has wiped out ʻōhiʻa trees across 50,000 acres on Hawai‘i Island, at an average loss of 10 percent per year.
“It’s impossible for me to imagine a Hawaiʻi without ʻōhiʻa,” said Kainana Francisco of the USDA Forest Service. “Losing ʻōhiʻa would have devastating ripple effects on our forest landscapes and watersheds, the health of our islands and our communities, and Hawaiʻi culture and lifeways. So it’s important for everyone, Hawai‘i stewardship agencies and organizations, our communities, and even our visitors to our islands, to continue to work together to prevent the disease from spreading, and protect Hawai‘i’s precious natural resources and unique ecosystems.”
While the disease is currently isolated to Hawai‘i Island, it has the potential to spread to other islands and affect ʻōhiʻa and the health of ecosystems statewide. Simple ways that anyone can prevent the spread of ROD include:
Not moving any parts of the ʻōhiʻa plant;
Not transporting ʻōhiʻa interisland per the State Department of Agriculture’s quarantine rule preventing ROD from reaching other islands;
Avoid wounding or pruning ʻōhiʻa plants, which make them vulnerable to the fungus;
Decontaminate gear and tools (including shoes and clothes) before and after entering forests; and
Wash tires and undercarriages of vehicles when traveling off-road and to any areas affected by ROD.
For more information about ʻōhiʻa, ROD,and other updates on the work that needs to be done about ROD, visit www.rapidohiadeath.org.
“I prefer not to say Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death,” added Kealiʻikanakaʻoleohaililani. “That’s not what we want. What we want is Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Health. Without them, there is no life in the Hawaiʻi Islands.”
Expert panel to discuss online privacy following loss of federal protections
Rep. Matt LoPresti will host a teach-in to discuss personal internet privacy on both the federal and state levels following the recent loss of government protections by the Trump Administration.
The Teach-in will be held on Sunday, April 30 from 10:30 a.m. to noon at Box Jelly, 301 A Kamani Street in Honolulu.
With internet protections rules repealed, internet service providers are now allowed to track, package and sell your personal internet browsing history without your knowledge or consent.
Rep. LoPresti and a panel of internet security experts will explain attempts during the current legislative session to protect personal privacy, what steps are now being planned and, most importantly, what residents can do now to protect themselves.
Todd Nacapuy, Chief Information Officer of the state Office of Enterprise Technology Services will attend the event along with internet security experts.
Residents can bring their laptops to learn how to install a VPN (virtual private network) and ‘HTTPS everywhere’ add ons to their browsers.
The gap in privacy protections left by the federal actions require individual states to take action to protect consumers’ data. One of the most troubling aspects is that telecom companies are no longer responsible for protecting your data, even though they will be collecting it, according to Rep. LoPresti.
“The problem is multi-faceted and there are currently no government protections from companies selling your personal data to the highest bidder,” said LoPresti. “You need to know how to protect yourself until we can create state laws to make this kind of abuse illegal.”
LoPresti said it is now clear from the large amount of money donated to Congress members who voted to repeal these rules, that internet service providers have a huge invested interest in our private data including Social Security numbers, geo-locations, and browsing history.
“Even if telecom companies do not actually package and sell the browsing histories for individuals, they are compiling and packaging that data for sale as part of larger aggregates, and – thanks to Congress and President Trump signing the bill – these companies are not even incentivized to legally protect this data,” he said.
LoPresti said that everyone is vulnerable and should take action on their own to protect internet privacy.
Seating is limited. Call 808 769-6921 to RSVP for the event.