Introduction: History of Garden

  • MNBG History

Introduction: History of Garden

Aloha and welcome to Maui Nui Botanical Gardens.

On your explorations today, you will be introduced to an array of remarkable Native Hawaiian plants from the islands of Maui, Moloka‘i, Lāna‘i, Molokini, and Kaho‘olawe. These islands, together, are collectively known as “Maui Nui.” The Gardens’ botanical collection also includes plants brought to Hawai‘i via sailing canoes by the first Polynesian settlers. These plants are often referred to as Polynesian-introduced species or simply, canoe plants.

In 1976, this site first opened as the Maui Zoological and Botanical Garden. You might notice green cement structures located throughout the Gardens. These structures are remnants of that old zoo, where spider monkeys, cockatoos, vultures, macaques, and lemurs once lived.

The zoo’s first caretaker, Rene Silva, began planting many rare and endangered Native Hawaiian and Polynesian-introduced plant varieties. The Maui Zoo closed its doors in the mid 90's, but Rene’s coastal and lowland dry forest plantings lived on. Our non-profit was formed to continue his innovative work. Established in 1995, Maui Nui Botanical Gardens’ non-profit mission is “to foster appreciation and understanding of Maui Nui’s plants and their role in Hawaiian cultural expression by providing a gathering place for discovery, education, and conservation.”

Maui Nui Botanical Gardens; Hawai‘i’s only botanical garden located on a coastal sand dune ecosystem, is supported by the County of Maui, public and private donors, memberships, and annual fundraisers. E komo mai, welcome, and enjoy your journey through Maui Nui Botanical Gardens…