Mānoa Heritage Center

It has been more than 20 years since Sam and Mary Cooke acquired three adjoining lots to save Kūkaʻōʻō Heiau from development, their vision to expand Mānoa Heritage Center’s master campus to a comprehensive 3.5-acre living classroom is now fulfilled. Accessible from Oʻahu Avenue, the 35,740 square foot site offers expanded educational programs to engage and nurture the next generation of biocultural stewards.

A circular Hawaiian Star Compass-designed driveway incorporates an ancient wayfinding art developed by Polynesian Voyaging Society’s president, Nainoa Thompson who trained under Micronesian master navigator, Mau Piailug. The Hawaiian islands were discovered approximately a thousand years ago by ancient Polynesian voyagers using clues from the natural world around them – sun and stars, waves and swells, winds and clouds, birds and fish – to determine position and which direction to sail. This traditional non-instrument navigation required a deep respect and understanding of the sea and sky.

Sam and Mary’s long-term commitment to conserve the Earth’s natural resources, was key in pursuing LEED-certification for the Hale and ensure energy self-sufficiency with the installation of 9.81 kWh photovoltaic panels and 14.4 kWh Blue Ion storage batteries. They were intent on providing buildings that thoughtfully incorporate reduction of water consumption, waste management processes and Native Hawaiian plants throughout the site.

“We hope to inspire all who visit the Mānoa Heritage Center so they too may become stewards of their own culture and places, e komo mai!” – Mary Cooke, co-founder