The ʻAlohilani Resort Waikiki Beach celebrates its grand opening this evening with a pledge to plant 100,000 native trees on Oahu and the Big Island in partnership with the non-profit Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative.
The Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative revives forests by allowing guests to either sponsor or personally plant native trees, which includes koa, milo and sandalwood, through guided tours at ‘Alohilani’s forests on the north shores of Oahu and the Big Island. The koa and sandalwood are planted on the Big Island, and the milo at Gunstock Ranch on Oahu’s North Shore.
Each guest at the Waikiki resort will be encouraged to plant a Hawaiian legacy tree in Laie on Oahu’s North Shore, which can be done through horesback riding and private, off-road tours.
“Becoming part of the community and giving back to Hawaii is something integral to ʻAlohilani,” said Vann Avedisian, a principal of Highgate Holdings, in a statement. “It’s exciting to be able to now announce that through our partnership with Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative, we have pledged to plant 100,000 indigenous trees on Oahu and the Big Island. We are thrilled to be a Founding 14 partner and the first to have two forests, one on the North Shore at Gunstock Ranch and the other on the Big Island.”
The trees can be tracked through radio-frequency identification technology, which records their growth, location and sponsorship details, which are also viewable online.
As part of this evening’s celebration, a nau tree, a rare native gardenia, will also be planted on the property as a nod to the land that once housed Queen Lili‘uokalani’s beach side cottage in Waikiki. In addition, cultural advisor “Uncle” Earl Kamakaonaona Regidor will unveil a Hawaiian feather cloak worn by the chiefly class of Hawaii, which will be on permanent display in the lobby.
In ancient times, prized featherwork made from the feathers of endemic birds was worn into battle as well as at important events by Hawaiian chiefs and leaders, according to HRLI director Jeff Dunster.
“The HLRI Legacy Forests are encouraging the return of rare and endangered wildlife,” Dunster said, “and we hope these pieces will bring a greater understanding of the environmental, cultural and historic significance of reforestation.”