Hōnaunau, Hawai‘i — January 12, 2019 —
Blue Zones Project®
coordinated a volunteer cleanup of over 75 volunteers to support cleanup efforts at Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park. This cleanup was prompted by the impacts created by the closure of the park due to the ongoing federal government shutdown.
Blue Zones Project® is a community-led well-being improvement initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through permanent changes to lifestyle, environment, policy, and social networks. Supported through an innovative sponsorship by HMSA, research finds that community members who come together to volunteer tend to live happier and longer lives. Volunteering also creates a greater sense of pride for your community and strengthened relationships.
The goal of this cleanup was to protect a Hawaiian sacred space and the historic features at the park. When there was a need to help steward the park in absence of park staff, community members came together. Within the past week, small groups of community members visited the national park to take out trash and clean areas where needed. Today’s cleanup had over 75 participants.
“I’m amazed by the outpouring of support that our community has shared. Their aloha for Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau is huge,” stated Kirstin Kahaloa, community engagement lead for Blue Zones Project. “This event was planned quickly due to the urgency of need and in a few short days, over 75 people showed up to mālama this community treasure.”
Blue Zones Project provided trash bags, gloves and healthy snacks for all volunteers. To date, 2,000 residents on Hawaiʻi Island have given of their time to volunteer in our community with Blue Zones Project. The next volunteer project with be held on Monday, January 21st
on Martin Luther King Jr.’s National Day of Service with the Liliʻuokalani Trust at their preserve in Kona from 9 a.m. to noon to remove invasive species from the area.
About Blue Zones Project
Blue Zones Project® is a community-led well-being improvement initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through permanent changes to a city’s environment, policy, and social networks. Established in 2010, Blue Zones Project is inspired by Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Fellow and New York Times best-selling author who identified five regions of the world—or Blue Zones®—with the highest concentration of people living to 100 years or older. Blue Zones Project incorporates Buettner’s findings and works with cities to implement policies and programs that will move a community toward optimal health and well-being. Currently, 42 communities in nine states have joined Blue Zones Project, impacting more than 3.3 million Americans nationwide. The movement includes three beach cities in California; 15 cities in Iowa; Albert Lea, Minnesota; the city of Fort Worth; and communities in Southwest Florida, Hawaii, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Wisconsin. Blue Zones Project is a division of Sharecare. For more information, visit bluezonesproject.com.
About Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park
Pu‘uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park was authorized as the City of Refuge National Historical Park in 1955 and lands transferred to the National Park Service in 1961. In 1978 the name was changed to Pu‘uhonua of Hōnaunau National Historical Park. The pu‘uhonua is a sanctuary where up until the early 19th century, Hawaiians who broke a kapu (sacred law) and others from Hawaiian society could seek refuge. The pu‘uhonua, Hale o Keawe temple site, and grounds located within the park remain a revered place for the Hawaiian people. The park contains cultural and historic resources that together create the atmosphere of Hawaiian life prior to Western civilization. Natural resources include anchialine pools, endemic species, threatened and endangered species and culturally significant native plant species. The park is 420 acres and had 363,282 visitors in 2013.
Caring for the people of Hawaii is our promise and our privilege. Working with employers, providers, government decision makers, and consumers, we aim to reach our Māhie vision of a community health system: a system to support the many health and well-being programs and projects that are already underway in our state. We reach out to people where they live, learn, work, and play, so we can empower each and every person to take control of their own health and well-being. HMSA is the most experienced health plan in the state, covering more than half of Hawaii’s population. As a recognized leader, we have a commitment to develop reliable, affordable health plans; support members with clear, thoughtful guidance; and embrace our responsibility to strengthen the health and well-being of our community.