ʻĀkoʻakoʻa News

Reviving the Reef: The ʻĀkoʻakoʻa Program's Mission in West Hawaiʻi

December 15, 2023

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Uniting Tradition and Science: The Journey of ʻĀkoʻakoʻa in Reviving West Hawaiʻi's Coral Reefs

Aerial of Māhukona

Welcome to our exploration of the ʻĀkoʻakoʻa program, a pioneering initiative aimed at rejuvenating the 120-mile coral reef along West Hawaiʻi. This program stands as a testament to the power of collaboration, blending the richness of culture, the rigor of science, the insight of education, and the support of government in a mission to heal and protect one of Hawaiʻi's most vital natural treasures.

Building Hope Underwater: The Construction of ʻĀkoʻakoʻa's Coral Nursery

Construction of the facilities at 3RC

The heart of the ʻĀkoʻakoʻa program beats at its coral nursery at 3RC. Here, a blend of traditional knowledge and cutting-edge technology is fostering hope for coral reefs. The nursery is equipped with sophisticated electrical and seawater systems, life support units, filtration mechanisms, and tanks - all designed to create the perfect environment for coral growth and restoration. This nursery isn't just a facility; it's a beacon of restoration and sustainability.

Guided by Ancestors: The Role of Cultural Advisors in ʻĀkoʻakoʻa

Integral to the ʻĀkoʻakoʻa program is its circle of cultural advisors from West Hawaiʻi. These advisors infuse the project with ancestral wisdom, ensuring that each step taken is in harmony with the traditions and knowledge passed down through generations. Their guidance is a reminder that effective environmental stewardship requires a deep respect for and understanding of the cultural heritage connected to the land and sea.

Meet the Guardians of the Reef: Spotlight on ʻĀkoʻakoʻa's Team Members


Jason is the Facilities Manager for our Ridge to Reef Restoration Center (3RC) Coral Nursery in Kailua-Kona. A lineal descendant of ʻOhana from the Kealakekua area, Jason attended Konawaena High School and has worked extensively on the campus of Hawaiʻi Ocean and Science Technology (HOST) Park, where 3RC is located.


Dr. Klinges is an Assistant Research Scientist based at 3RC in Kailua-Kona. Grace joins us from ​​​​​​Mote Marine Laboratory in the Florida Keys where she honed her expertise focusing on the integration of stress resilience into large-scale reef restoration.