Our Purpose

Kānewai sustains a pure collection of kalo and shares its resources with the community. There are a variety of native trees and shrubs growing along the stream and low-lying slopes. Families, students, and community organizations are welcome to engage and immerse themselves in hana Hawaiʻi and ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian activity and language). Kūpuna feel welcome and comfortable sharing their knowledge about kalo and nā mea Hawaiʻi (all things Hawaiian). Our staff is skilled in the identification, cultivation, and propagation of a variety of native plants.


Kānewai is a Puʻuhonua
A refuge for plants, ecosystems and people


The values of aloha ʻāina, mālama ʻāina, kōkua, ʻohana and laulima are practiced

Kūpuna are an integral part of Kānewai

Our work supports our moʻomeheu Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian culture) at every level of our existence as well as in the ecological environment at Kānewai

Our hana at Kānewai helps us realize the depth and sincerity of our words and values


Ma ka hana ka ‘ike
One learns by doing


Provide experiential, cultural, and educational opportunities for students, members of the Hawaiian community, and interested persons by learning and teaching traditional Hawaiian farming methods, in a modern context through practice; re-establish native plants and Hawaiian household plants at Kānewai Cultural Garden in lower Mānoa; restore and maintain Hawaiian irrigation and cultivation systems.


I ola ka ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i
The Hawaiian language lives


To promote Hawaiian language by providing practical working experience for the application of Hawaiian language skills by students; and emphasizing the importance of the Hawaiian language for Hawaiian community groups and activities.


Aloha ‘āina
Love for the land


To encourage the revitalization of traditional Hawaiian values, concepts, and practices by stressing the importance of the traditional style of listening to the kūpuna and following their guidance; promoting kōkua, laulima, lōkahi and huki like, the traditional social practices of people helping each other, of unity, and of working or “pulling” together; and emphasizing the traditional Hawaiian sensitivity to the land and total environment; that is, the basic underlying concept of aloha ‘āina (spiritual relationship to the land) expressed through mālama i ka ‘āina (caring for the land) and hulihuli i ka ‘āina (gathering from the land) the gifts or products of the land referred to as ‘ai kamaha‘o o ka ‘āina (the amazing sustenance of the land).

All activities start from this belief and guide the preservation and well being of the gardens. Built upon this is the traditional knowledge and education needed (i.e. use of the Hawaiian Language) to support this objective and physical site. Due to its multidisciplinary content and holistic approach, it attracts and partners with many other programs within the university seeking this type of experience.

Ku i ka māna.

Like the one from whom he received what he learned.

Māna is food masticated by an elder and conveyed to the mouth of a small child. The pupil receives knowledge from the mouth of his teacher.