Free Floral Design Event to Celebrate the Centennial of Lili`uokalani Gardens

Hitomi Gilliam, an award winning floral artist, author and educator, will lead a floral design event in Hilo August 19, 20, and 21 to celebrate the centennial of Lili`uokalani Gardens.

Hitomi Gilliam

Registration is free through the Hawaii Floriculture & Nursery Association. Request a registration form from Judy Schilling at HFNAJUDY@gmail.com

Hitomi is a member of the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) and is one of a very few recipients of AIFD’s Design Influence Award. In 2006, Hitomi was the recipient of the American Horticultural Society’s Frances Poetker Award that recognizes outstanding contributions as designer, author, and lecturer in the art and science of American horticulture. In 2008 she won Gold and Best of Show at the invitation only international entry at Singapore Garden Festival .She is the author of seven books including Neotropica: Hawaii Tropical Flower and Plant Guide.

“Flowers enhance every occasion,” said Hitomi on a recent visit to Lili`uokalani Gardens. “This is such a big space with so many different viewpoints. Floral designers will be given a site and do their magic here.”

The theme of the three-day event is “Celebrate with Local Flowers – Joy in Lili`uokalani Gardens.” Sixteen different floral designers or teams will be provided a bamboo structural base plus flowers and foliage in order to create designs that carry out that theme on Saturday afternoon. The exhibition will be open to the public on Sunday with voting for People’s Choice. The installation in the Gardens will come down Monday afternoon.

The program is presented by the Hawaii Floriculture & Nursery Association and Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens with sponsorship from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture and Hawaii County Department of Research & Development.

Lili`uokalani Gardens Teams With Na Makua Designs

Nelson Makua and Na Makua Designs created a centennial design for Lili`uokalani Gardens that brings the Queen to the gardens named for her.

Shirts designed by Nelson Makua

“For quite a while time, some of us have visualized what it might have been like for the Queen to visit the gardens in Hilo, a place she visited often through 1913,” said garden enthusiast K.T. Cannon-Eger. “We know she considered having a home built for her in Hilo and corresponded with John T. Baker about those plans. Illness prevented her travel to Hilo after 1913. Although she knew the garden acreage was set aside in early 1917, her death on November 11, 1917, precluded her ever seeing the gardens completed.

“The board of directors of Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens is thrilled with Nelson Makua’s design which shortly will appear on tee shirts and tote bags among other centennial celebration uses.”

Makua has been an artist and designer on the Big Island for more than 40 years. Born and raised in Kailua, Oahu, he and his ‘ohana moved to the Big Island in 1975, where they reside in Puna, the original home of the Makua ‘ohana.

“My ancestors were part of the migration from Tahiti to Hawaii who settled in Kalapana in the district of Puna,” Makua said. “Living here gave me the opportunity to connect with ‘ohana, it was like coming home.”

He is best known for his design work, with clients in Hawai‘i, the mainland and Japan. He is a two time Na Hoku Hanohano award winner for graphic design and is the only artist to have created six years of Merrie Monarch Festival posters with his limited edition “Pele” series.

Makua’s first 2003 poster has now become a collectors’ item.  His 2008 Merrie Monarch poster received the prestigious Pele Award for best illustration by the Hawaii Advertising Federation.

Last year, Nelson was honored as a MAMo Awardee for 2016 in recognition for his artistic contribution as a Native Hawaiian artist.

In 1999 Nelson and his son Kainoa, created a line of casual Hawaiian wear under the brand of Nä Mäkua. “Na Makua gives us a visual voice to express our views and feelings as native Hawaiians, creating images that speak out to other Hawaiians and honor our rich heritage.” They retail their apparel and art on their website www.namakua.com.

As well as being an artist and designer, Nelson has been the director of the annual Merrie Monarch Invitational Hawaiian Arts Fair for the Merrie Monarch Festival for the past 14 years. He is also the director of the Moku O Keawe Marketplace at the Moku O Keawe International Hula Festival and along with his son Kainoa, they produce their annual Na Mäkua Invitational Christmas Gift fair in Hilo.

Though Nelson was classically trained in drawing, painting and photography, he has been a digital artist for more than 20 years. “The digital age has opened up a whole new world of creating for the artist, with countless possibilities. Guided by my kupuna before me, I consider myself a Hawaiian living in my own time, creating images that reflect my time and place.”

To find out more about the garden centennial or to purchase fund raising tee shirts or tote bags, please go to the Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens page on Facebook or contact Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens at P.O. Box 5147, Hilo HI 96749.

Banyan Gallery near the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel is one retail outlet for people who live in the Hilo area.

“Obon in the Gardens” at Lili`uokalani Gardens

Keith Haugen will speak on the background and history of obon traditions during Sunday’s 5/28 “Obon in the Gardens.” The event is sponsored by Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens from 1 to 4 p.m. in the small parking lot near Shoroan, the Urasenke tea house in Lili`uokalani Gardens.

Haugen was a teenage soldier stationed in Japan in the 1950s. He recalls “donning a yukata, tying a tenugui around my head, and learning to dance the Tanko Bushi. Nobody seemed to mind that I was a foreigner or that my ancestral home was in Norway.

“Thousands of miles away, on the island of Maui, my future wife was learning the same song in the multi-cultural community where she was born and raised. Residents of Hawaii, just like the residents of Japan, take the summer obon dances for granted. But where did they originate, and why? What are all those folk songs used year after year?”

Keith wrote and produced an obon special for Hawaii Public Radio more than10 years ago dealing with the background, meaning, and history of obon dances. His continuing presentations state-wide are in demand.

“Obon began as a Buddhist tradition and evolved into a cultural and community event now held annually all over Japan, in Hawai`i, California, Canada, South America, and other places Japanese settled.

“There are perhaps more than a thousand of these traditional Japanese folk songs, called minyo. About 100 of them are extremely popular and have been since the 1800s,” Haugen explained. “There are songs about fishing and seagulls; pretty girls and flowers; even pride in great liquor stores. Some tell of rice and herbs, the moon and winds, and of men riding logs down the river. Others tell of drinking sake, and of courtship.”

Born in Minnesota and resident in Hawaii since 1968, Keith recently taught Hawaiian language and music at Star of the Sea School in Honolulu.

“My earlier education was in journalism and I worked for many years as a writer/reporter, editor, columnist, photographer, bureau chief at several daily newspapers including the Honolulu Star-Bulletin (1968-77), where I was State Editor when I was appointed by Gov. George Ariyoshi to be State Director of Information. For more than 10 years, I doubled as a lecturer and instructor, teaching Hawaiian music and language night classes at the UH College of Continuing Education, now called UH Outreach College.

“For most of my adult life, I maintained a second career as an entertainer, songwriter, recording artist, and record producer, radio producer and host. My wife Carmen and I performed together in Waikiki and all over the world for nearly 40 years.”

Keith and Carmen are familiar to HPR listeners as the hosts of Music of Hawai`i. Keith was the creator of Ke Aolama, the first Hawaiian language newscast on radio, and the Hawaiian Word of the Day.

For further information on Obon in the Gardens and other centennial events, please refer to the Friends of Lili`uokalani Gardens page on Facebook.

Lili‘uokalani Gardens in Hilo Featured on New U.S. Postage Stamp

The Postal Service announced more stamps to be issued in 2017 and one of them features Lili‘uokalani Gardens in Hilo, Hawai‘i.

“The new year is shaping up to be exceptional as the Postal Service continues to produce stamps that celebrate the people, events and cultural milestones that are unique to the history of our great nation,” said Mary-Anne Penner, U.S. Postal Service Director, Stamp Services. “We are very excited to showcase these miniature works of art to help continue telling America’s story as we add to the lineup of 2017 stamps announced earlier.”

Lili‘uokalani Gardens (Priority Mail)
This Priority Mail stamp is being issued to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Lili‘uokalani Gardens in Hilo, Hawai‘i. Built on land donated by Queen Lili‘uokalani (1838–1917), the last Hawaiian monarch to govern the islands, the gardens were dedicated in 1917 and named in her honor. Hilo’s Lili‘uokalani Gardens are Japanese in style with influences of Hawaiian remains of lava flows, plantings of tropical trees and flowers, and a view of the Mauna Kea volcano — Hawai‘i’s highest point. The stamp art features one of the gardens’ most iconic structures, the red wooden shelter on a stone bridge spanning a portion of the pond. The bridge is surrounded by three stone lanterns and lush tropical plants. Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamp with original art by Dan Cosgrove.