Haleakalā National Park Celebrates its Centennial Birthday

Honeygirl Duman speaking about "paddling together" for stewardship.
Honeygirl Duman speaking about "paddling together" for stewardship.


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News Release Date: August 2, 2016

Contact: Polly Angelakis, 808-572-4450

On July 30, 31, and August 1, 2016, Haleakalā National Park celebrated its 100th birthday with cultural demonstrations, music, and activities in both districts of the park.

At 10 a.m. on August 1, 2016 (the park's establishment date), Superintendent Natalie Gates spoke at a public ceremony, paying tribute to the park staff, volunteers, partners, local residents, and visitors who have protected thepark: "Many, many generations cared for Haleakalā before it became a National Park. In 1916, the National Park Service joined in the stewardship of this land. We are lucky that so many of our staff, volunteers, partners, and local residents continue to share wisdom passed down from their kūpuna to help us be better stewards." Looking ahead to the future she noted: "In our Junior Ranger programs we ask kids what they want to see in 50 years, when they come back with their grandchildren. The kids mention the silversword, nēnē, the crater, the waterfalls. Many of them want to see this dormant volcano erupt! I imagine that in 1916 the founders of the park had similar hopes—that their grandchildren would see silversword, nēnē, and other natural and cultural wonders. We can see these wonders today and I hope we will see them in the future, thanks to your continued care, support, andstewardship. Here's to the next 100 years!"

Park ranger Honeygirl Duman spoke of how park stewardship is akin to paddling a canoe: "We all paddle the canoe together. We all have jobs that keep the canoe moving forward. It takes all of us." The ceremony ended with Duman leading a Hawaiian blessing followed by birthday cake for all.

Talks, hikes, and other activities took place in both districts throughout the weekend. Local band Nevah Too Late performed numerous favorites, including several songs about Kīpahulu and Haleakalā. The band also sang about the voyaging canoe Hōkūle`a, since Haleakalā has always been an important place to learn traditional Polynesian navigational skills. Cultural demonstrators and park staff shared Hawaiian traditions. Practitioners included Patti Gomez (feather flowers); Kaliko Kaleohano (shell art); Maile Bryan (hula and `ohe kāpala or kapa stamping); Wainani Kealoha (oli and hula); Bolly Helekahi (coconut leaf weaving); and Ranger Honeygirl Duman (Hawaiian names and meanings).

During the evening of Saturday July 30, 2016, rangers and local photographers gave the public tips on sunset and night sky photography during an InstaMeet at the Haleakalā summit. At sunrise on Monday August 1, 2016, visitors celebrated the #CentennialSunrise, marking the first sunrise of the park's next 100 years.

The three-day celebration was supported by the Hawai`i Pacific Parks Association. Pictures and videos of the events are posted on the Haleakalā National Park Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HaleakalaNPS/.

Haleakalā National Park and Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park were established August 1, 1916 as one unit--Hawai`i National Park--before becoming separate parks 45 years later. On August 25, 1916, the National Park Service was established, to conserve national parks for "the enjoyment of future generations." To further celebrate the Centennial anniversary, Maui Arts and Cultural Center, in partnership with Haleakalā National Park, will host an exhibit featuring all Hawaiian national parks from August 28—November 6, 2016. The Friends of Haleakalā National Park and the Hawai`i Pacific Parks Association are two sponsors of this exhibit. For more information about the exhibit please go to http://mauiarts.org/exhibit-detail.php?id=87.

Remarks of Natalie Gates, Superintendent


As we all know, this mountain is sacred to the Hawaiian people. Many, many generations cared for Haleakalā before it became a National Park. In 1916, the National Park Service joined in the stewardship of this land. Today we will look back at these first 100 years of national park history and look forward to the future.

On August 1, 1916 this park was established as the Haleakalā section of Hawai`i National Park. The other section of the park is what we now call Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, on the Big Island of Hawai`i. The enabling legislation passed by Congress describes the Haleakalā Crater as "the largest and most spectacular crater in the world" and makes clear that the park's purpose was to preserve the natural "curiosities and wonders" of the area.

When the National Park Service was created on August 25, 1916, the new agency's Organic Act fine-tuned the mission of all national parks in a beautiful way.National Parks are here "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same, in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for future generations." This act is remarkably similar to the Hawaiian value of malama aina (caring for the land).

The Organic Act has been our guide for 100 years and in 2016 we celebrate this double anniversary—of the park and the National Park Service--by honoring park stewards, past and present.

 In the 1930s the Civilian Conservation Corp helped build the buildings and trails we use today. One former CCC employee, Uncle Rex Ornellas, was on the first CCC crew, in 1934. He was unable to be here today but we are truly lucky to still be able to hear his stories first hand.

Haleakalā became a separate park unit on July 1, 1961. Another highlight of that decade was the reintroduction into the wild of the endangered nēnē, which had completely disappeared from the island of Maui. Boy scouts and rangers backpacked into the crater with the birds on their backs. The first scientific expedition through the Kīpahulu Valley took place in 1967 and numerous new species were discovered and documented.

On October 21, 1976, the Kīpahulu District was added to the park, thanks to the dedication of Hana and Kīpahulu residents and through the generosity of the Rockefeller family. Also, in 1976, over 19,000 acres of the park was Congressionally designated as Wilderness, the highest level of federal protection for critical habitat,
native species and natural processes. Today, we have over 24,000 acres of Congressionally designated Wilderness and over 35 miles of trails in that Wilderness. The Wilderness is protected by over 50 miles of fence, built and maintained by tireless field crews since the 1980s, at a cost of millions of dollars. These fences keep out the non-native ungulates which destroy native habitats and species.

In the 1990s the park began expanding our partnerships. The Friends of Haleakalā National Park, the Kīpahulu `Ohana and many remarkable environmental groups began working with us to protect species, habitats, and cultural treasures;and to share Hawaiian stories and traditions. An important partner, the Hawai`i Pacific Parks Association, has been working with this park and 5 others in the Pacific, since 1933.

In the 1990s and 2000s, knowing we needed help to protect this special place, we expanded our education and internship programs to reach out to young people from kindergarten through college, the next generation of stewards.

We are lucky that some of the stewards that shaped the first 100 years of national park history are still here with us today. I'd like to pay tribute to the very special employees:

  • who helped build the fence that protects the
  • the folks who teach kids, provide visitors
  • the people who maintain the buildings and trails
    first built by the CCC,
  • the scientists who study and monitor species to
    determine best practices in protecting them,
  • the administrative support staff who do all the
    behind the scenes work so important to running a park
  • the law enforcement rangers who keep people
    safe, sometimes at great personal risk,
  • and the volunteers who assist in all park

We are lucky that so many of our staff, volunteers, and local residents continue to share wisdom passed down from their kūpuna to help us be better stewards.

We also want to recognize our visitors, whose love and support for national parks created the National Park Service –America's Best Idea. You all are the reason national parks have been here for 100 years.

Today, as we celebrate the first 100 years, we look forward to the next 100. In our Junior Ranger program we ask kids what they want to see in 50 years, when they come back with their grandkids. The kids often mention the silversword, nēnē, the crater, the waterfalls. Many of them want to see this dormant volcano erupt!

I imagine that in 1916 the founders of the park had similar hopes—that their grandkids would see silversword, nēnē, and other natural and cultural wonders. We can see these wonders today and I hope we will see them in the future, due to your continued care, support, and stewardship.

Here's to the next 100 years!


Last updated: August 2, 2016

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Mailing Address:

Haleakalā National Park
PO Box 369

Makawao, HI 96768


(808) 572-4400

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