A Hua He Inoa

  • Courtesy image An artist rendering of the interstellar object ‘Oumuamua exiting our solar system.


A collaborative effort lead by ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center, the A Hua He Inoa program is shifting global paradigms, positioning Hawaii as the first place in the world to weave traditional indigenous practices into the process of officially naming astronomical discoveries.

As Hawaii celebrates 35 years of revitalizing ‘olelo Hawaii (Hawaiian language), the effort acknowledges the capacity and relevance of ‘olelo Hawaii — and the world view it informs — in modern contexts.


Join ‘Imiloa in its planetarium at 7 p.m. Friday (March 15) and hear it first-hand from the center’s executive director Ka‘iu Kimura, who was instrumental in spearheading the A Hua He Inoa initiative. Learn all about the development of this program and the keen interest it generated from astronomers worldwide.

Hawaiian speaking students from throughout Hawaii Island and Maui spent two days immersed in knowledge from ‘olelo Hawaii experts, education leaders and top research scientists from the state’s astronomical observatories. They peered into the world of scientific research, learned about the recent discovery of two unusual celestial bodies, ascended the summit of Maunakea and expanded their understanding of the vital relationship, and role, of tradition and culture in modern day science.

These students stretched their minds and imaginations, gaining an appreciation of the Hawaiian culture in relation to the universe and an understanding of the unlimited potential for future fusions of culture and science.

Their work made history and brought to the forefront the importance and necessity of their “voices.” They witnessed how traditions that built the Hawaiian culture can be used to carry us forward and how bold initiatives can truly change the world.

Kimura has been with ‘Imiloa since September 2001. She has been executive director since 2010.

A graduate of the Kamehameha Schools, Kimura earned her bachelor’s degree in Hawaiian studies at the University of Hawaii at Hilo followed by her master’s degree in Hawaiian language and literature. She is a graduate of the 2014 inaugural Omidyar Leadership Fellows program and a 2009 alumna of the Pacific Century Fellows program.

Kimura’s cultural heritage, life experiences and educational background are the perfect tools to help guide ‘Imiloa’s programs forward to continue providing a holistic view of traditional Hawaiian star navigation and today’s astronomy findings.

Sharing Hawaii’s legacy of exploration, ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center is a world-class center for informal science education located at the UH-Hilo Science and Technology Park. Its centerpiece is a 12,000-square-foot exhibit hall, showcasing science and Hawaiian culture as parallel journeys of human exploration guided by the light of the stars.


The visitor experience is amplified with presentations using ‘Imiloa’s full dome planetarium and 9 acres of native landscape gardens.

‘Imiloa is located at 600 ‘Imiloa Place, off Komohana and Nowelo streets. For more information, visit www.ImiloaHawaii.org or call 932-8901.

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