Who We Are

Mission

Our Mission

To preserve and perpetuate the history, native culture and environment of Hawai’i through education and stewarship of Kamananui Valley and celebration of the annual Prince Lot Hula Festival.

Our Vision

By preserving and protecting this wahi pana, and perpetuating the native culture of Hawaiʻi, we hope to continue building a thriving community empowered through a vibrant watershed.

Our History

Founded in 1970, Moanalua Gardens Foundation (MGF) has served as a vital link in preserving and protecting the environment and cultural resources of Hawai’i. A non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, our mission is

“To preserve and perpetuate the history, native culture and environment of Hawai’i through education and stewardship of Kamananui Valley and celebration of the annual Prince Lot Hula Festival.”

For over five decades, MGF has pioneered programs to help people understand and appreciate the unique environmental and cultural resources of our islands. This knowledge is essential to developing informed stewards who will protect and preserve our fragile and vulnerable ‘Āina.

In recent years, MGF has focused on educational and stewardship activities for Kamananui Valley. Our Mālama Kamananui Environmental Education Program includes experiential learning activities for all grade levels and we are developing a comprehensive Management Plan for the protection, preservation and management of Kamananui Valley.

Our Origins

In 1970 Frances “Patches” Damon Holt and her sister Harriet “Haku” Damon Baldwin, founded Moanalua Gardens Foundation (MGF) to prevent Kamananui (Moanalua) Valley, the last undeveloped valley in urban Honolulu, from being overtaken by a major freeway.  The great granddaughters of Samuel Mills Damon who inherited the entire ahupua’a of Moanalua (land to sea district) from Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, Patches and Haku fought to maintain this precious wahi pana (storied place) whose history dates back to the 1100s.

Part of the Moanalua ahupua’a that sustained life and the cultural practices of hula and chanting in ancient times, Kamananui Valley was the intended pathway for the construction of the H-3 freeway until MGF stepped in to stop construction and effectively preserved 3,700 acres of this historic site for future generations.

Since then, MGF, a nonprofit organization, has continued the sisters’ legacy of conservation in its work and mission to preserve and perpetuate the precious cultural and natural resources of our islands through education and stewardship of Kamananui Valley and celebration of the annual Prince Lot Hula Festival.

Nalani Olds, founder, originated the festival concept. In 1977, she envisioned Moanalua Gardens as a venue for expressing Hawaiian culture through hula. Nalani’s Moanalua upbringing also gave her the inspiration for creating a pā hula (hula mound) for the festival. In ancient times, hula mounds were prevalent in the area. And so, the Prince Lot Hula mound, Kama`ipu`upa`a was born. Its dedication in the Spring of 1980 was a true community effort involving all of Hawai`i nei, as Kaha`i Topolinski and his hālau honored us with their artistic expressions of oli (chant) and kahiko (ancient) hula. Ferns for the enormous lei of palapalai that ringed the mound came from the original pu`u pa`a at Volcano on Hawai`i Island.

Over the years, the Prince Lot Hula Festival has developed into a powerful Hawaiian statement, defining our traditions, culture and language, and providing opportunities for new and experienced hālau to share their style of hula with the community. MGF is committed to ensuring the integrity of the Festival as it was conceived by its founders, Nalani Olds and Wendell Silva.

After several decades of holding the Prince Lot Hula Festival on the Pā Hula we moved the Festival to ʻIolani Palace. Several years later, and because of the Pandemic, we transformed into a Virtual Festival and moved to Queen Emma Summer Palace for a few more years. But next year we hope to have a Live In-Person Festival again an are exicited about sharing together the Art of Hula in our new home.

In 1970 Frances “Patches” Damon Holt and her sister Harriet “Haku” Damon Baldwin, founded Moanalua Gardens Foundation (MGF) to prevent Kamananui (Moanalua) Valley, the last undeveloped valley in urban Honolulu, from being overtaken by a major freeway.  The great granddaughters of Samuel Mills Damon who inherited the entire ahupua’a of Moanalua (land to sea district) from Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, Patches and Haku fought to maintain this precious wahi pana (storied place) whose history dates back to the 1100s.

Part of the Moanalua ahupua’a that sustained life and the cultural practices of hula and chanting in ancient times, Kamananui Valley was the intended pathway for the construction of the H-3 freeway until MGF stepped in to stop construction and effectively preserved 3,700 acres of this historic site for future generations.

Since then, MGF, a nonprofit organization, has continued the sisters’ legacy of conservation in its work and mission to preserve and perpetuate the precious cultural and natural resources of our islands through education and stewardship of Kamananui Valley and celebration of the annual Prince Lot Hula Festival.

Nalani Olds, founder, originated the festival concept. In 1977, she envisioned Moanalua Gardens as a venue for expressing Hawaiian culture through hula. Nalani’s Moanalua upbringing also gave her the inspiration for creating a pā hula (hula mound) for the festival. In ancient times, hula mounds were prevalent in the area. And so, the Prince Lot Hula mound, Kama`ipu`upa`a was born. Its dedication in the Spring of 1980 was a true community effort involving all of Hawai`i nei, as Kaha`i Topolinski and his hālau honored us with their artistic expressions of oli (chant) and kahiko (ancient) hula. Ferns for the enormous lei of palapalai that ringed the mound came from the original pu`u pa`a at Volcano on Hawai`i Island.

Over the years, the Prince Lot Hula Festival has developed into a powerful Hawaiian statement, defining our traditions, culture and language, and providing opportunities for new and experienced hālau to share their style of hula with the community. MGF is committed to ensuring the integrity of the Festival as it was conceived by its founders, Nalani Olds and Wendell Silva.

After several decades of holding the Prince Lot Hula Festival on the Pā Hula we moved the Festival to ʻIolani Palace. Several years later, and because of the Pandemic, we transformed into a Virtual Festival and moved to Queen Emma Summer Palace for a few more years. But next year we hope to have a Live In-Person Festival again an are exicited about sharing together the Art of Hula in our new home.

Ahupuaʻa

This was the basic land structure in ancient times. When people asked you where you came from it was your Ahupuaʻa you declared. The varied climatic conditions gave them wet environments on windward sides, and dry on leeward sides. Most were shaped by the mountain valleys that spilled onto the plains until reaching the seashore. Moanalua is unique as it contains two valleys, a large plain and a very large seashore reef. Hawaiians were able to survive completely sustained by their ahupuaʻa so that some inhabitants lived their entire lives without ever leaving the boundaries.

Moku - Kona

The Hawaiian structure for island regions is based on the Ahupuaʻa. All islands, Mokupuni, follow this basic principle, with a collection of ʻIli and Lele. Oʻahu was organized into six Moku districts. Kona – which is southern, and Moanalua is the northern most ahupuaʻa. ‘Ewa, Wai’anae, Waialua, Koʻolauloa, and Ko’olaupoko made the six Moku.

Ahupuaʻa were generally wedge shaped and usually began at the crest of the mountain running down to the sea but sometimes reaching over the mountain into another region. (Wai’anae) Each Ahupuaʻa provided farming, fishing, gathering and water access. During the annual Makahiki Pilgrimage, this clockwise island-circuit, kaʻapuni, of the Mokupuni, was one of the routes.

Ahupuaʻa comes from the ʻAltar of the Pigʻ. At the border between these land sections an altar was created adorned with the head of a pig, sometimes a carved image from Kukui tree trunk to symbolize Akua Lono and his farming icon Kamapua’a.

Ahupuaʻa - Moanalua

Our Ahupuaʻa sits at the center edge of Oʻahu island and the beginning of the southern district of Kona. It is a large section including two valleys Uka flowing to the wide Kula plain rimmed by the reef of Keʻehi. Moanalua refers to these two wide expanses of ʻĀina(land) and Kai(seashore), a poetic reference to an ocean of fresh water and sea water. Historically Moanalua was an important food resource. filled with taro patches, fishponds, koa iʻa, ulu and maiʻa groves all supported by a fresh water delta. Most of these near shore areas have been filled in, what is now known as Māpunapuna industrial district and the Daniel K Inouye Honolulu International Airport. Māpunapuna literally means bubbling spring.

Awāwa - Kamananui-Kamanaiki

These twin valleys are the nurturing arms of our watershed. They have been sheltered from development and where we focus most of our education and stewardship activities. Protecting, preserving and perpetuating a vibrant environment ensures our ability to thrive.

  • Kamananui – the large empowering spirit
  • Kamanaiki – the small empowering spirit

Moku - Kona

The Hawaiian structure for island regions is based on the Ahupuaʻa. All islands, Mokupuni, follow this basic principle, with a collection of ʻIli and Lele. Oʻahu was organized into six Moku districts. Kona – which is southern, and Moanalua is the northern most ahupuaʻa. ‘Ewa, Wai’anae, Waialua, Koʻolauloa, and Ko’olaupoko made the six Moku.

Ahupuaʻa were generally wedge shaped and usually began at the crest of the mountain running down to the sea but sometimes reaching over the mountain into another region. (Wai’anae) Each Ahupuaʻa provided farming, fishing, gathering and water access. During the annual Makahiki Pilgrimage, this clockwise island-circuit, kaʻapuni, of the Mokupuni, was one of the routes.

Ahupuaʻa comes from the ʻAltar of the Pigʻ. At the border between these land sections an altar was created adorned with the head of a pig, sometimes a carved image from Kukui tree trunk to symbolize Akua Lono and his farming icon Kamapua’a.

Ahupuaʻa - Moanalua

Our Ahupuaʻa sits at the center edge of Oʻahu island and the beginning of the southern district of Kona. It is a large section including two valleys Uka flowing to the wide Kula plain rimmed by the reef of Keʻehi. Moanalua refers to these two wide expanses of ʻĀina(land) and Kai(seashore), a poetic reference to an ocean of fresh water and sea water. Historically Moanalua was an important food resource. filled with taro patches, fishponds, koa iʻa, ulu and maiʻa groves all supported by a fresh water delta. Most of these near shore areas have been filled in, what is now known as Māpunapuna industrial district and the Daniel K Inouye Honolulu International Airport. Māpunapuna literally means bubbling spring.

Awāwa - Kamananui-Kamanaiki

These twin valleys are the nurturing arms of our watershed. They have been sheltered from development and where we focus most of our education and stewardship activities. Protecting, preserving and perpetuating a vibrant environment ensures our ability to thrive.

  • Kamananui – the large empowering spirit
  • Kamanaiki – the small empowering spirit

Kōkua Aloha

E Kōkua i nā hana ma Kamananui.
Support the efforts at Kamananui.

Donate to

Mālama
Kamananui

Donate to

Prince Lot
Hula Festival

Donate to

Hanauna
Library

Aloha Aku, Aloha Mai

Send Love out, and Love returns