Monday | June 27, 2016
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Student wins Mauna Kea coin contest

The 2013 Mauna Kea Coin design was awarded to Kain Kamalani Kawailima a senior at Ke Ana La‘ahana Public Charter School.

The winning design depicts Mauna Kea and its telescopes, with Maunaloa behind it. In the sky are the sun, moon, stars, and sea-faring birds. Together, these elements weave together an image of the interconnectedness of all things between sea and sky. Kain, explaining his symbolism states, “The woven lauhala (pandanus leaves) represent change, the three ti leaves represent stages of life, the kōnane (Hawaiian checker board game) stands for challenge, arrow-like designs depict birds in flight, and canoe paddles represent the rays of the sun.”

The 2013 coin will be distributed at AstroDay in the Prince Kuhio Plaza shopping mall in Hilo on Saturday from 10 a.m.- 4p.m. Those who collect all the stamps from the observatory stations on the Mauna Kea coin “passport,” will receive a free aluminum coin. The passport will be available at the Mauna Kea Coin Contest booth close to the center stage. The antique bronze finish coin will be available for sale at Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station and its e-store, and ‘Imiloa Bank of Hawaii Museum Store.

The contest was open to K-12 students on Hawaii Island from Jan. 26-March 15. Each design was required to include both astronomy and Hawaiian cultural themes related to Maunakea. There were 803 entries in total from Hawai‘i Island representing 29 schools. Judges Kimo Keli‘i Pihana, Hawaiian cultural practitioner, and Shawn Laatsch, ‘Imiloa planetarium manager, selected the top three designs in grades K-4, 5-8, and 9-12 categories, respectively. Chief Judge Dr. Jean-Charles Cuillandre from the Canada France Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) selected the final design from the nine category winners.

Pihana, impressed by all of the entries stated, “Mahalo nui loa Haumāna – Thank you very much too all the students, parents, and teachers who participated in the Coin Contest! I enjoyed seeing your many great designs showcasing Hawaiian history and Maunakea science of astronomy. Good job to all who participated in this year’s coin contest!”

The entries were kept anonymous during the entire judging process so judges could focus on the merits of each design. All ages competed for the top design and this year a senior at an immersion school took the award. During the previous contests in 2011 and 2012, 7th graders were awarded the top design.

The contest award ceremony will be held at AstroDay’s center stage at Prince Kuhio Plaza from 10:20-10:50 a.m. All the winning designs will be displayed at the coin contest booth at AstroDay on Saturday and on the Mauna Kea Coin Contest 2013 official site:

The Mauna Kea Coin Contest is initiated by Mauna Kea Astronomy Outreach Committee (MKAOC) and co-sponsored by KTA Super Stores, ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center of Hawai‘i, and Onizuka Space Center. The purpose of the contest is to enhance awareness of Maunakea.


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