The community is invited to the 2nd Annual “Welcome Back” Mōlī Blessing Ceremony at Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge on Nov. 29 to honor the Mōlī, or Laysan Albatross, as they return to the Island of Kauaʻi, according to a press release from the refuge.

Kumu Kēhaulani Kekua and Hālau Palaihiwa O Kaipuwai will present traditional protocols of chants and hula kahiko in honor of this annual occurrence, which coincides with the Makahiki Season.

The event is free. However, regular admission fees to Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge will apply. Adult admission is $10, keiki 15 and under are free with an adult admission, and Kamaʻāina and America The Beautiful passes will be accepted.

Each year, beginning in early November, the mōlī return from their time at sea to mate and nest on Kauaʻi and across the many islands of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world. This event is scheduled to coincide with the emergence of some of the first nests of the season. Our conservation community is fortunate to have several mōlī colonies located on Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge. Located within the safety of the refuge and under predator management practices, the chicks have an increased chance of survival against common predators including feral cats, pigs, rats and dogs, all of which have had devastating impacts upon the many ground nesting bird species native to Hawaiʻi.

Makahiki is an ancient season that is very important within Hawaiian culture. The rising of Makaliʻi (the constellation Pleiades) at sunset marks the beginning of the Hawaiian new year, known as Makahiki. Makahiki usually begins mid-November and ends in late January or February, aligning with the rainy season. It is a time set aside for tribute, harvest, sport, and play. The mōlī, one of several revered kinolau or embodiments of the deity Lono, annually return to our islands during Makahiki Season. Even the colors of the mōlī are reflective of Lono’s symbols.

Kumu hula Kehaulani Kekua, of Halau Palaihiwa O Kaipuwai, is seen here chanting at the National Tropical Botanical Garden during the official opening of the newly revamped Hawaiian Life Canoe Plant Garden Jan. 17, 2018.

Members of the Hālau Palaihiwa O Kaipuwai will present chants for Lono and Makahiki, which call for health and wellbeing for the environment and all of its occupants – winged, finned, human, and otherwise. They will also be offering hoʻokupu that will debut two original chants and hula that Kumu Kēhaulani Kekua composed especially for the mōlī and this occasion.

“We hope to see many members of our local community at Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge for this event as we honor this amazing species and welcome back our beloved mōlī,” shared Thomas Daubert, KPNHA Executive Director. “We are truly honored to experience this second annual blessing presented by Kumu Kēhaulani Kekua and her talented haumāna of Hālau Palaihiwa O Kaipuwai. You and your ‘ohana will not want to miss it!”

The “Welcome Back” Mōlī Blessing Ceremony is presented in partnership with the Kaipuwai Foundation, Kauaʻi National Wildlife Refuge Complex, Kīlauea Point Natural History Association (KPNHA) and Kaua’i Albatross Network, with support from Garden Island Resource Conservation and Development. KPNHA is a non-profit friends group which supports the conservation, education, and preservation work of the Refuge Complex, which includes Kīlauea Point NWR, Hanalei NWR and Hulēʻia NWR. For more information about this event or the work of these organizations, visit www.kīlaueapoint.org/events or call 828-0384.