Whale Day has been one of the most popular Maui community events, dating back to 1980, and is always a special occasion, but this year’s Whale Day celebration is special for a few reasons.
Whale Day began as a way for the founder of Pacific Whale Foundation, Greg Kaufman, to raise awareness about humpback whales and the threat of extinction. It was originally celebrated in late April on Earth Day in a parking lot in central Kīhei and grew from 2,000 participants by its 10th year to 20,000 in its 37th, eventually requiring all of Kalama Park.
Whale Day had grown to become one of Maui’s most popular events but it had also become an incredible demand on our organization’s time and resources. The 2018 loss of the PWF founder and executive director of 38 years created a sea of change within Pacific Whale Foundation; one outcome of which was the development of a strategic plan that transformed the signature World Whale Day into a series of events, Maui Whale Festival, in order to expand reach, impact and relevance to our mission.
This year, we decided to reimagine the beloved event for our 40th anniversary, largely thanks to grants from Maui County Office of Economic Development, Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, and Atherton Family Foundation. We are also happy to have the opportunity to partner with other whale advocate organizations to make this special celebration possible.
Whale Trust is a nonprofit organization founded by Meagan Jones, Flip Nicklin and Jim Darling in 2001 to promote, support, and conduct scientific research on whales and the marine environment.
The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary was created by Congress in 1992 to protect humpback whales and their habitat in Hawaiʻi and is jointly managed via a cooperative federal-state partnership between the NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the State of Hawaiʻi through the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
The mission of the Hawai‘i Division of Aquatic Resources is to work with the people of Hawai‘i to manage, conserve and restore the state’s unique aquatic resources and ecosystems for present and future generations.
We have been working together for the past seven months now to ensure that we put on a great community event while making our missions, Hawaiian heritage, culture and knowledge, and the Maui community at large a central focus for participants. That is why you will find expert speakers, interactive displays and games about marine research and conservation, hula performances, a keiki zone, Made on Maui arts and crafts, and local food vendors throughout Kalama park – representing our and our partners work and the community of Maui.
The Parade of Whales starts at 9am from Kamaole 1 to Kalama Park, where the day’s festivities will take place from 10am-3pm.We can’t wait to see you there for one of Maui’s biggest community events!
Mahalo to our other Whale Day sponsors:
WastePro Hawaii, Menehune Water, Goodfellow Bros, Your Mix Maui, Kihei Ice, Service Rentals, Census Bureau, and PacWhale Eco-Adventures!
Visit MauiWhaleFestival.org for more information on this and other festival events.