About 5 miles northwest of downtown Honolulu, is a 24-acre privately-owned park called Moanalua Gardens, best known for its annual Prince Lot Hula Festival, where locals and visitors partake in a wealth of cultural workshops, demonstrations, food booths, craft vendors, and the festival’s central attraction—hula presentations. The festival takes its name and inspiration from the fact that Prince Lot Kapuaiwa, who later reigned as King Kamehameha V, used to entertain his guests here with hula dancers at a time when missionaries were actively suppressing the hula as being a licentious and idle pastime. Moanalua Gardens was the King’s childhood home. Today, the garden is home to historic structures, such as the King’s cottage, a temple, a koi pond and many rare plants and trees.
The garden is open to the public and visitors are charged a modest fee to enter the park. The revenue from ticket sales goes towards maintenance and upkeep of the park, but the majority of the cost is paid for by the Japanese electronics manufacturer Hitachi. Why? Because of this tree.
The “Hitachi tree” in Moanalua Gardens. Photo credit: MW-Photos/Shutterstock.com