The Kiwikiu blessing and name dedication ceremony, a culmination of two years of collaboration from multiple agencies, took place in Waikamoi Preserve September 12th, 2010 at 10am. Arriving to a sunny morning on the mountain, a group of 85 people hiked into the forest for a ceremony to celebrate the critically endangered Maui Parrotbill or Kiwikiu. The group was comprised of biologists, conservation donors, and community members.
For reasons no one fully knows, this bird had no historically recorded Hawaiian name. Working with ornithologists to get an intimate understanding of this species, the Hawaiian Language Lexicon Committee decided on Kiwikiu as an appropriate Hawaiian name for the Parrotbill in May 2010.
With only about 500 birds still in existence today, the Kiwikiu, an endemic species to the island of Maui, is one of our most precious biodiversity jewels. The Kiwikiu is a classic example of adaptive radiation. As an insectivorous honeycreeper, the Kiwikiu uses its robust parrot-like bill to snap through twigs and pry insect larvae out of wood in the ‘ōhi’a and koa forests of Maui.
Cody Pueo Pata offered a mele inoa (name song) for the Kiwikiu as a mele hula along with two of his ‘olapa, Ku’ulei Alcomindras-Palakiko and Kapua Nacua. Pueo is the kumu hula of the Maui halau,
Ka Malama Mahilani and is trained in traditional aspects of haku mele (song composition).