January 19, 2021, MA`ALAEA, MAUI, HI – After almost a year of closure, January 15th marked the reopening of the Aquarium of Hawaiʻi.
Prior to opening our doors, Cultural Advisor Kahu Dane Maxwell joined with MOC staff to lead in a blessing that highlighted new beginnings and moving forward for the good of each other, our community, and the marine life for which we care.
While the Maui Ocean Center team has been eager to return to work, many things have changed over the course of 2020 and into this new year. This was highlighted within the blessing itself. Rather than joining hands as is customary, everyone observed social distancing by standing six feet apart. In the early morning light, the excitement was temporarily replaced with an unspoken moment of reflection as each team member was cleansed with kai (saltwater) gathered from the ocean, signifying, in part, rebirth.
The ceremony is neither filmed nor recorded out of respect for the Hawaiian culture and Kahu Dane, but for the team present, it is a moment to be remembered as it reminds us of our kuleana (responsibility) as stewards of our oceans and marine life.
As we move forward into this new beginning, help us in our mission to mālama kekahi i kekahi, to take care of each other. From our communities to our oceans, and all the life that calls Maui home.