A Night Among the Stars: ‘Ohana Stargazing in Our Kaka‘ako

Oct 26, 2023 | Blog

The celestial wonders of Hawai‘i’s starry night merged with the rich tapestry of Hawaiian culture on Saturday, October 21, at SALT at Our Kaka‘ako. From the ground floor of The Barn to the rooftop of the parking structure, this magical evening of gazing into the astronomical abyss transported attendees of all ages to the stars above.

Stargazers of Hawai‘i treated guests to an awe-inspiring experience with their high-powered telescopes, revealing the secrets of the Universe above. As the night sky unfolded, families marveled at the boundless beauty surrounding them. Some of the telescopes were focused on Saturn, offering a glimpse of its majestic rings and mysterious moons. Others were trained on our moon, allowing attendees to observe its craters and lunar landscapes up close. Additionally, a livestream provided a unique opportunity for those unable to attend in person to join in the celestial exploration from the comfort of their own homes.



But the excitement didn’t stop there. The Hawai‘i Lego Users Group built a creative and hands-on Lego activity for the keiki to enjoy. Their imaginations soared as they constructed their own cosmic creations, adding a playful twist to the evening.


Two boys playing with legos at a table in the Barn



For those seeking a truly immersive experience, Kilo Hoku VR offered a virtual reality journey aboard the iconic voyaging canoe, Hōkūleʻa. Participants were transported through time and space, gaining a deeper understanding of the ancient Polynesian art of navigation. As part of the experience, Kilo Hoku VR also provided a gravity demonstration using weights and marbles. The marbles represented the planets, while the weights symbolized gravity.


A young boy with a headset and controllers plays in VR


Captain Bonnie Kahapeʻa Tanner and her crew from the Kānehūnāmoku Voyaging Academy took center stage, sharing their knowledge of traditional Polynesian navigation. A captivating display featuring parts of a voyaging canoe, attendees had the opportunity to participate in hands-on activities that brought the ancient art of navigation to life. They learned the art of sanding a paddle, experiencing the meticulous craftsmanship required for a successful voyage. Participants also discovered the intricate techniques of tying ropes, mirroring the methods used to secure the wa‘a during their journeys. To further understand the brilliance of Polynesian navigation, attendees used a replica star compass to discover how Hawaiians used their location as a base point for navigation. The experience culminated in a life-size demonstration on the rooftop, where the voyagers showcased their skills and demonstrated the remarkable precision of their techniques.


A group of visitors sand a large wooden paddle



The ‘Ohana Stargazing event also provided an opportunity to engage with Hawaiian practitioners and local astronomers. ‘Ohana Kilo Hoku hosted talk story sessions, where special guest speakers, including Native Hawaiian Astronomer Makana Silva and Leinani Lozi from NOIRLab in Hawaiʻi, shared their insights and expertise. Ka‘iulani Murphy from the Polynesian Voyaging Society also graced the event, offering her profound knowledge of traditional Polynesian navigation and voyaging.




Up on the roof with all of the stargazing was a side of ono eats. Kava Queen provided unique Kava root drinks known for their potential benefits in reducing anxiety and promoting better sleep. Pitch Sports Bar, Middle Eats, and Waffle Dogs all drew crowds with their mouthwatering and diverse culinary landscape, offering something for everyone and perfectly complementing the festivities.


Guests line up to look through a telescope and sit on a blanket


The Ka Mahina Project added an interactive and educational element to the family-friendly cultural stargazing event. Attendees had the opportunity to discover their birth moon by scanning a QR code, unveiling the lunar phase that corresponded to their birth date. Additionally, participants could unleash their creativity by engaging in the activity of creating their own moon using clay. This hands-on experience allowed attendees to connect with the moon in a personal and artistic way, further enhancing their understanding and appreciation of the celestial wonders above.


Three girls create clay moons and planets at the Ka Mahina Booth


The ‘Ohana Stargazing event in Our Kaka‘ako truly celebrated the cosmos and Hawaiian culture. Families and individuals alike were captivated by the wonders of the night sky and the rich heritage that intertwines with it. It was an evening that left lasting memories and a renewed appreciation for the beauty surrounding us.


Big mahalo to our sponsors and partners, who came together to help make this event possible. Your kōkua is greatly appreciated.

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Tags: Featured Post, KOKA Sponsored Events