The New A’o Cultural Center at Outrigger Reef Waikiki Introduces Guests to Hawaii’s Rich Culture and Tradition

By Kach Umandap April 18th, 2022 Posted in Destination, North America Travel Blog, Travel Blog, Travel Guides No comments

Outrigger Reef Waikiki has opened a new cultural center to exhibit Hawaii’s cultural heritage to visitors – The A’o Cultural Center.

Just this month, Outrigger Reef Waikiki, in partnership with the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS), revealed their newest A’o Cultural Center. It aims to introduce and showcase the rich culture of Hawaii to visitors and guests. 

Located in the lobby of the hotel, A’o Cultural Center features a collection of arts such as a model outrigger canoe, paddles, conch shells, and traditional feather lei

A’o Cultural Center
Photo by Outrigger Reef Waikiki

What To See at The A’o Cultural Center?

The I Ka Wa Ma Mua, Ka Wa Ma Hope (Through the Past is the Future) – a Mural by Kamea Hadar

A’o Cultural Center
Photo by Outrigger Reef Waikiki

One of the pieces you will see just next to the newest cultural center is the “I Ka Wa Ma Mua, Ka Wa Ma Hope” meaning “Through the Past is the Future”. This mural by the famous Hawaii Artist Kamea Hadar represents a traditional wa‘a (sailing canoe) crewed by children of Hawaii’s important figures such as Hana Kakinami, great-granddaughter of Native Hawaiian writer, poet, and cultural historian John Dominis Holt IV; La‘iku Blankenfeld, the grandson of PVS navigator Bruce Blankenfeld; Steel Scott, the great-grandson of Elmer Scott who founded Scott Hawaii in 1932; and Kawena Kamakawiwo‘ole, the grand-niece of the great musician and songwriter Israel Kamakawiwo‘ole. Nova Hadar, the daughter of Kamea Hadar is also pictured at the steering paddle of the wa‘a. 

Herb Kane Lounge & Eia Hawai’i, He Moku, He Kānaka – a Sculpture by Marques Hanalei Marzan

A’o Cultural Center
Photo by Outrigger Reef Waikiki

Another artwork that you can admire is the woven sculpture called the Eia Hawaiʻi, He Moku, He Kānaka (Here is Hawaii, an island, a people). This distinctive work was made by fiber artist Marques Hanalei Marzan. The sculpture shows the stunning islands of Hawaii that stretch across the lounge. 

Inspired by Marshall Islands navigational stick charts that were used to teach oceanic seafaring practices and the knot-making practices of Hawaii, this work proves the connection of various communities on the island. It also acknowledges the ancestral ties and long-lasting relationships to Oceania. 

Where to find this work of art? At the Herb Kane Lounge. The newly-renovated lounge features the legacy of the late artist, historian, and founding member of PVS Herb Kawainui Kane. The earthy texture and an updated modern design of the lounge are very pleasing to the eyes and give off a peaceful atmosphere. Moreover, the Eia Hawaiʻi, He Moku, He Kānaka is not the only work you’ll see here, you’ll also find four original paintings from Kāne and faces an expansive mural of a traditional sailing canoe that runs the length of the check-in desk.

Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resorts

A’o Cultural Center
Photo by Outrigger Reef Waikiki

A stay at Outrigger Reef Waikiki will let you see and experience the Hawaiian culture firsthand. It also keeps its commitment to ocean and reef conservation. Partnered with marine scientist and artist Ethan Estess, the resort’s entrance features the sculpture Coming Home, which is a partnership with Hawaii Pacific University’s Center for Marine Debris Research. By collecting mounds of discarded fishing nets, Estess was able to create this colorful mural of Diamond Head. The mural encourages and inspires people on the importance of consuming less single-use plastics.

More about Outrigger’s dedication to taking care of the marine environment here.

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Written by Kach Umandap

Founder of Two Monkeys Travel Group. Since 2013, Kach has visited all the 7 continents (including Antarctica) and 151 countries using her Philippines Passport. In 2016, she bought a sailboat and went on sailing adventures with her two cats - Captain Ahab & Little Zissou in the Caribbean for 2 years. She now lives in Herceg Novi, Montenegro where she's enjoying her expat life and living on a gorgeous Stonehouse. She writes about her experiences traveling as a Filipina traveler with a PHL Passport. Also tips on backpacking trips, luxury hotel experiences, product reviews, sailing & adventure travel.