Birds, feathers, music, culture on tap Saturday at VIS


The Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station’s free monthly program, “Malalo o ka Po Lani,” is set for 6 p.m. Saturday at the Onizuka Center for International Astronomy Visitor Information Station, with the regular stargazing program following the one-hour presentation.

Explore how feather lei integrate with traditional cultural practices for avian resource management when naturalist Claudia Ziroli joins Leilehua Yuen and Manu Josiah during Saturday’s Culture Night program. The program includes the storytelling, chanting and hula of Yuen, and the stories, traditional Hawaiian flute music and guitar music of Josiah.

Ziroli shares this month about the interrelationship of the people, the environment and traditional Hawaiian culture in this presentation about the birds of Mauna Kea. Ziroli has been a devoted bird watcher throughout her life, and developed her interest in Hawaiian birds while working with local experts in the field. She has worked as a naturalist on the Big Island for the past 20 years through the University of Hawaii at Hilo.

At one time, vast forests of native mamane trees grew on the slopes of Mauna Kea. Ravaged by the overgrazing of ungulates, the few remaining trees are the primary food source for Hawaii’s native palila. Mauna Kea’s forested slopes are also home to apapapane, amakihi, iiwi, elepaio and akiapoliau.

Hawaiian artists and artisans developed an extensive body of featherworked items for apparel and ceremonial display. From skirts to statuary, helmets to cloaks, chiefly ceremonial items were intricately feathered. The birds that provided these feathers were captured and managed in a variety of ways that assured a continuous supply. The kia manu, the bird catcher, not only harvested the birds, but watched over the health of the bird populations.

For details, visit www.ifa.hawaii.edu/info/vis or call 961-2180.

 

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