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News from Hui o Laka ~ Koke`e Museum

Spring/Summer 2014

Come Up and Round Up!

The Banana Poka RoundUp, the plucky mountain event that celebrates Kauai's natural environment, is set to celebrate 25 years of forest fun for the whole family on Sunday, May 25, 2104, in Kōke`e State Park's lush Kanaloahuluhulu Meadow.

The free and colorful event "rounds up" visitors, families and residents for a cool day of mountain music, workshops, exhibits, and family activities that has become a tradition on Kauai's west side. Hui o Laka, the non-profit organization that operates Kōke`e Natural History Museum, has sponsored the event since 1989, with support from community volunteers, local businesses, and Hawaii Tourism Authority - County of Kaua`i.

The Big Tent at the 25th Annual Banana Poka RoundUp is the traditional Banana Poka Basket Workshop. Small mountains of the aggressive South American vine are "rounded up" the week before, ready for those who would like to learn how to fashion it into attractive rustic baskets. Volunteer instructors include Billi Smith, Wai Kuapahi, Linda Oshiro, and Diane Sumida. To sign up for the basket workshop (the $20 fee makes you a member of Hui o Laka), call 335-9975, Ext. 0.

Starting at 10 a.m., live music by Darryl Gonzales, Shiloh Pa, Westside Smitty, and Wailoa will float through the mountain air.

The core message of the RoundUp is in its array of educational exhibits, displayed by a variety of environmental organizations, with lively hands-on exhibits attended by volunteers and agency representatives who can answer questions.

The festival serves as the finish line for the 5th annual Pedal to the Meadow bicycle race, that begins at 8 a.m. in Kekaha and climbs up the canyon rim to Koke`e. The first finishers are expected at about 9 a.m. Drivers are urged to use the Waimea side road up the mountain and drive with extreme caution.

At about 12:30 pm, youngsters will join "Russell da Rooster" of Storybook Theatre of Hawaii for the annual children’s parade and rooster Crowing Contest. For Memorial Day, participants can make miniature floral arrangements, starting with a recycled tuna or cat food can, and using mountain foliage.


Mieko Lowe, whose arrangements and fiber crafts made from natural materials always impress and delight, will lead the floral arrangement session. Materials are provided for all workshops, though participants are encouraged to bring their own garden clippers.

The Parade of Birds and a Rooster Crowing Contest are favorite activities of Kaua`i kids at the Banana Poka RoundUp.

Exhibitors include DLNR Conservation & Resources Enforcement, Storybook Theatre of Hawaii, Garden Island RC&D, Kauai Invasive Species Committee, Kokee Resource Conservation Program, DLNR-DOFAW Na Ala Hele, Hui o Laka - Kōkua Kōke`e, Kaua`i Forest Bird Recovery Project, Save Our Shearwaters, Kōke`e Leaseholders Association, and U.S. Fish & Wildlife - Pacific Islands.

The Banana Poka RoundUp is supported by Lapperts, The Blue Orchid, Ishihara Market, The Sound Man, Wranglers Steakhouse, RSI Roofing, TYRI, West Kauai Business & Professional Association, Walmart, Waimea Plantation Cottages, TYRI Inc, Namahana II Catering, Hopaco, Ventures Associates, Garden Island Security, Flowers Forever, The Waimea Theatre, Esaki’s Produce, Kauai Producers, Koa Trading, Kauai Fruit & Flower Company, Aunty Lilikoi, Kauai Kookie Kompany, Kikiaola Construction, and Chris Faye Designs.

The "festival with the funny name" is free and begins at 10 a.m. and winds down at 4 p.m. Please carpool, as parking is limited. Animals are not allowed in the Meadow; please leave pets at home. For more information or to arrange auxiliary aid to participate, call Kōke`e Museum at 335-9975, ext. 0, ten working days before the event.

banana poka logo


8 am Start Pedal to the Meadow bicycle race, Kekaha
9 am First finishers of race
10 am Banana Poka RoundUp Starts
  Banana Poka Basket-Making
  Live Music
Noon Memorial Moment
12:15 pm Pedal to the Meadow awards
12:35 pm Crowing Contest
1-3 pm Music and Basket-Making
4 pm Pau
All Day Ikebana flower arranging, hiking stick whittling
Directions: Take Highway 50 west to Waimea. Turn right and follow the road up the canyon rim for 16 miles.
Drive with caution: bicycle race 8-11am.

 Dennis Kamakahi at Kalalau.  David Boynton photograph

Remembering a Friend of the Forest

It is with great sadness we remember Dennis Kamakahi, award-winning Hawaiian singer-songwriter and composer of our upland anthem, "Koke`e." On Memorial Weekend, at Sunday’s Banana Poka RoundUp, we will join in song.

by Dennis Kamakahi

Upu a`e, he mana`o

I ka wekiu o Koke`e

I ka nani, o ka `âina

O ka noe po`ai`ai

(hui: )

`O Kalalau, he `âina la`a

I ka ua li`i li`i

`O Waimea, ku`u lei aloha

Never more to say goodbye

Ho`i mai ana i kahikina

I ka la welawela

I ke kai hawanawana

I Po`ipu ma Koloa

Mele au, no ka beauty

I ka uka, `iu`iu

I Koke`e ua `ike au

I ka noe po`ai`ai

New in the Museum Store

"Wai Ola" is the latest release of soundscapes by Kaua`i sound master David Kuhn. The CD is "an aural celebration" of streams, waterfalls, showers, marshland, river and sea...and the native birds, seals, and whales sustained -- mauka to makai -- by the water of life. Learn more at

Other new products to check out are Waipo`o Falls luggage tags and Pedal to the Meadow water bottles, both exclusive to Koke`e Museum Shop. Shop associates Celeste Naleimaile, Carrie Newcombe, and Rita Peeters can help you choose the right gifts for dads and grads.

CCC Camp Hosts Young Botanists

Pictured: Evan Uy, Mark Ladao, Mio Shimada, Jack Pearson and Alex Spurr

33 University of Hawaii Botany  students stayed at the Civilian Conservation Corps Camp for their field experience week, March 22-29, 2014. The course, taught by Don "Quixote" Drake, PhD, combines lectures and lab work with intensive field experience in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems.

While the CCC Camp’s primary focus is to serve park volunteers and researchers, Hui o Laka also makes the camp available to members for private purposes, such as a reunion, conference or simply a week or weekend in the forest. Such rentals help support camp operations and minor repairs handled by Alby Schraefpfer. At least one person in each group must be a current Hui o Laka member. Bathroom and cooking facilities vary depending on type of cabin or bunkhouse, and rates vary by accommo-dation type.  To arrange a stay, please fill out the PDF forms in the CCC Camp section of our website,, and return via email to or fax to 1 (808) 335-6131.

More Camp Renovations Ahead

Hui o Laka members may reserve a stay at the Historic CCC Camp.

The 2013 Hawai`i State Legislature provided
Hui o Laka with two Grants in Aid that will begin this summer.  A $50,000 grant will help renovate the Administration Building, which serves as the Museum's office, and perform other work at the Camp.  A second grant for $10,000 was earmarked for Museum operations.  

In our 60 years serving as the main interpretive resource in the Koke'e and Waimea parks, this is the first time we’ve received money for operations. Many thanks to West Kaua`i Rep. Dee Morikawa and the Kaua`i delegation for their strong support.

Focusing our Vision

We are excited to report that Hui o Laka / Koke`e Natural History Museum is working through a strategic planning process. The board of trustees and the staff are together refreshing the organization’s vision, mission, values, and strategic priorities. A transition grant from the Hawai`i Community Foundation is supporting this thoughtful and time-intensive process. We’re working hard and will have more to share very soon!

Trout Season Opens June 14

Trout fishing season in the Koke`e Public Fishing Area opens Saturday, June 14 and runs through Sunday, September 28. The State of Hawai`i Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) says anglers may fish daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. with a daily bag limit of 12 rainbow trout.  

"Trout fishing at Pu`u Lua Reservoir in Koke‘e always has been a popular family activity, and anglers will have a chance to catch trout from last year’s stocking," said William Aila, DLNR chair.

Trout fishing this season is expected to be even better than last year, as more trout were stocked in Pu`u Lua Reservoir. Last year, 3,798 anglers caught 25,821 trout with the largest fish caught measuring 12.75 inches in length and weighing 1 pound, 1 ounce. Fishing in streams is expected to be poor because re-stocking was discontinued. 

Complete fishing rules can be found on the Division of Aquatic Resources website, Anglers must have a valid State of Hawai`i freshwater game fishing license, available online at the website above or from local agents. A four-wheel drive vehicle is recommended for all areas including Pu`u Lua Reservoir and the stream and ditch systems. Anglers may fish with only one pole and line, or one line using one lure or one baited hook attached to the single line. All anglers are required to check in and out at stations at Pu`u Lua, Koke`e Park headquarters, or Trail 2 for the lower ditch systems.  

For more information or a list of license agents, call the Division of Aquatic Resources on Kaua‘i at 274-3344.

Earth Day: We worked by day and dined by night

Hui o Laka held two Earth Day events this year, one at altitude and one at sea level.

On Saturday, April 19, a crew from Waimea High School Junior ROTC joined long-time Museum volunteers, staff, and board members to care for the forest. Armed with clippers and whippers, gloves and smiles, they beautified Kaluapuhi Trail, weeded the CCC Camp grounds, and spiffed the Museum surrounds. Boy do we have "curb appeal" now! Mahalo to all who helped or fed the helpers, and to Kokua Koke`e trail boss Brad Soria.

On Thursday, April 24, Plantation Gardens Restaurant & Bar in Poipu donated a portion of proceeds from dinner service to Hui o Laka. Staffers Michelle Hookano and Rosalind Thompson arranged for a beautiful display table, where diners were encouraged to buy guava walking sticks, souvenir Emalani Festival programs, and make direct tax-deductible donations. Over $800 was raised. If you would like to host a similar "third-party" event, please contact Michelle or Rosalind at 1 (808) 335-9975.

Save the Date!

Eo e Emalani i Alaka`i
Queen Emma Festival
Saturday, October 11, 2014

Share your photos!

We love seeing your hiking photos! Send jpg files to and we may post them on Facebook, run in this newsletter, or use in other projects.

Spring Bog - photo by Sue Boynton

KOKEE CONNECTION is a periodic newsletter of Hui o laka, the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that connects people with the spirit of Koke`e by operating the Kōke`e Natural History Museum as a visitor center for Waimea Canyon & Kōke`e State Parks, and the historic CCC Camp as a volunteer and research field station. Hui o Laka sponsors a volunteer program, festivals, hikes, and workshops.  It is supported by earned income at the Museum Shop and CCC Camp, membership donations, and program grants. Open every day 9 am - 4 pm.
1 (808) 335-9975

Ho`opili na kanaka i ka mauli o Koke`e 

Connecting people with the spirit of Koke`e