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Community celebrates opening of Hawai‘i CC – Pālamanui during two days of events

Hawai‘i Community College – Pālamanui hosted events on Friday, February 26 and Saturday, February 27 to celebrate the opening of the new campus in West Hawai‘i.

The college conducted a Moku Ka Piko ceremony on Friday to bless the campus. Moku Ka Piko is a traditional ceremony that blesses and dedicates a newly constructed home. It literally means “to sever the umbilical cord” as the opening of a new home is likened to the birth of a child. The ceremony acknowledged Hawai‘i CC – Pālamanui as the new home for higher education in West Hawai‘i.



Speaking at the Moku Ka Piko were:

  • The Honorable David Ige, Governor, State of Hawai‘i
  • Dr. David Lassner, President, University of Hawai‘i
  • Dr. John Morton, Vice President for Community Colleges, University of Hawai‘i
  • Joni Onishi, Interim Chancellor, Hawai‘i Community College
  • Dr. Marty Fletcher, Director, Hawai‘i Community College – Pālamanui and University of Hawai‘i Center, West Hawai‘i
  • Kuulei Keākealani, lineal descendant of Kekahawai‘oleonākona

“I just wanted to congratulate all those who worked so hard for many years to bring this campus to fruition, and I am so proud to be able to serve as your governor when we have this ceremony launching the birthing of this new campus,” said Governor David Ige. “Congratulations to all, congratulations to the community for making this center a true community center for higher learning.”

Nā Leo TV broadcast the Moku Ka Piko live. A re-broadcast can be viewed on the Hawai‘i Island public access station, at this link on their website,, or in the viewer below.



On Saturday, hundreds of community members visited the campus to celebrate the opening of the new campus.

Visitors enjoyed live music from Grammy-nominated musician Robi Kahakalau, The Keawe Trio, and Hilo-based reggae band The Steppas. Polynesian cultural group Ta ‘E‘a o Te Turama also performed. 

Many interactive exhibits were presented by Hawai‘i CC – Pālamanui programs, other University of Hawai‘i campuses, and community groups.

Food samples and cooking demonstrations by Hawai‘i CC – Pālamanui Culinary Arts program were popular among attendees of the event.



“I am so impressed with this beautiful campus, and I’ve been here since Kona didn’t have any of this,” said longtime Kona resident Jean Yokoyama-McDonald, who attended the open house. “I’m so proud of Kona for making this come to fruition.”

Marty Fletcher, the Director of Hawai‘i CC – Pālamanui, added: “It’s incredibly exciting to see so many community members enjoying themselves at the new campus. They’ve waited a long time for these facilities and we are thrilled they came out to celebrate and learn about the higher education options in their community.”


Hawai‘i CC – Pālamanui is a branch campus of Hawai‘i Community College and is part of the University of Hawai‘i system. It is located in North Kona, mauka of the Kona International Airport.

The $27-million first phase of the Pālamanui campus includes 24,000 square feet of learning space, comprised of classrooms, culinary arts kitchens, science labs and a nursing lab. The campus plans to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification. 

Hawai‘i CC – Pālamanui offers certificates and Associate degrees from Hawai'i Community College. 

The campus also includes the University of Hawai‘i Center, West Hawai‘i. The Center is a gateway for residents of West Hawai‘i to undertake programs from other University of Hawai‘i campuses while continuing to live in West Hawai‘i. Programs from other UH campuses enroll and deliver courses to students in West Hawai‘i using a combination of formats including: online any-time, site-to-site, real-time interactive video conferencing, and face-to-face participation. Local students have the advantage of campus-based resources and support (library, counseling, student activities) plus the opportunity to access an entire spectrum of associates, bachelor's and graduate degrees. 

For more information about the campus visit: