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Maui Nui Botanical Gardens offers new digital audio tour

February 28, 2013
The Maui Weekly

Maui Nui Botanical Gardens (MNBG) now offers a new way for visitors to explore the garden with its digital audio tour. The tour is designed to take visitors on a journey of its Hawaiian plant collections and emphasizes their Hawaiian ethnobotanical and conservational values.

The tour begins at the main entrance, where visitors are greeted with an introduction about the garden, its interesting history of when it was once a zoo, how the nonprofit was formed and is currently upholding its mission within the community. As visitors stroll along, numbered plant signs help guide users to fascinating plant information.

For example, visitors will be interested to know that the endemic 'akia (Wikstroemia uva-ursi) was used by Hawaiian fishermen to stupefy fish. Parts of the plant would be ground up and placed in small tide pools. The toxins from the plant temporarily stunned small fish within the pools and caused them to float to the surface. This made it easy for fishermen to selectively gather fish. After a few minutes, the toxins wore off and the fish returned to their normal state.

Article Photos

The new audio tour brings Maui Nui Botanical Gardens alive in a whole new way.

Another example is how the creeping naupaka (Scaevola coriacea), an endemic and endangered Hawaiian coastal plant within Maui Nui, represents one of the purposes of MNBG to preserve Maui Nui's uniquely Hawaiian plants as well as those that are on the brink of extinction. This may have been the source of inspiration for the Gardens' founder, Rene Sylva, who chose the creeping naupaka as the plant to be represented in Maui Nui Botanical Garden's logo.

Audio wands rent for $5 each and available while the gardens are open freely to the public, Mondays through Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. In addition to the audio tours, docent-guided tours are available for those who would like to stroll through the garden with their own tour guide. For more information call (808) 249-2798, email or visit



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