Hawaiian Islands

Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) Cultural Representation at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park


This project addressed public responses to an interpretive exhibit developed in collaboration among a committee of Native Hawaiian elders, National Park staff, The Mountain Institute, the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, the Volcano Art Center, and the Ford Foundation. The exhibit included 67 paintings at three separate venues of the volcano goddess Pele selected by the committee of elders. The research utilized a sample of 217 quantitative and qualitative surveys to gauge public response. Results showed that the public is overwhelmingly supportive of indigenous-themed and governed interpretive exhibits and are interested in learning more. Kanaka Maoli visitors were also satisfied with the project and are interested in having more representation in Park interpretive programs through this participatory approach. These findings were presented back to the Park and informed on the development of future exhibits.

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Spoon, 2007: The “Visions of Pele” Competition and Exhibit at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park