PO‘IPU — Keoki’s Paradise has donated the funds needed to complete Bishop Museum’s collection of 59 Hawaiian Honeycreeper sculptures, carved by master craftsman Haruo Uchiyama. The collection will be used for exhibition and education, providing a unique and valuable resource for visitors to learn about the remarkable story of Hawaiian avian evolution.
“At Keoki’s Paradise, we’re always looking for opportunities to malama ‘aina and perpetuate the culture and history of the islands we call home,” said Keoki’s Paradise General Manager Darin Tann. “The Hawaiian Honeycreepers were protected and revered by Native Hawaiians, but sadly, many have gone extinct. In contributing to this project, we hope to increase public awareness and understanding of these creatures to ensure their survival.”
Each bird in the collection was meticulously carved and hand-painted by Haruo Uchiyama, a master craftsman from Japan and the artist-in-residence at the Yamashina Institute of Ornithology. The sculptures will allow the Museum to provide visitors with continuous access to precise replicas of the various Honeycreepers, without jeopardizing the Museum’s collection of priceless, taxidermy specimens, which are extremely fragile and susceptible to damage from UV light.
“We are incredibly appreciative of the generous donation from Keoki’s Paradise, which was used to purchase a carving of the Kaua‘i Creeper, also known as ‘akikiki,” said Molly Hagemann, vertebrate zoology collections manager at Bishop Museum. “By providing the funds needed to acquire this amazing learning tool, Keoki’s Paradise is showing others the value in learning about and supporting the conservation of Hawai‘i’s endemic species.”
Uchiyama’s sculptures can be transported to classrooms throughout the islands and are designed to be touched, making them an important tool for educating both sighted and visually-impaired students of all ages.
Already, the birds have been featured in numerous visits to local schools and programs at Iolani Palace, Honolulu Zoo and Hawaii State Library. In the coming years, Bishop Museum plans to develop a series of educational programs for visitors and students that highlight the Honeycreepers.
• Info: bishopmuseum.org.
Source: The Garden Island