Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena students, artist Noble Richardson unveil new campus mural honoring namesake


Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena Elementary unveiled a vibrant mural that students worked on with local artist Noble Richardson.

​LAHAINA — Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena Elementary unveiled a vibrant mural that students worked on with local artist Noble Richardson on Wednesday.

The mural on Building A honors the school’s namesake while incorporating aspects of Lahaina's history and cultural significance. It depicts Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena's bright yellow feather cape, two ‘io Hawaiian hawks in flight, and blue wind bands filled with symbols of Lahaina such as an image of the  “L” on Pu‘u Pa‘upa‘u, an image of a Lahainaluna football player, a scene of kids jumping off Black Rock and more.

A strip of ‘ulu leaves also runs through the mural as a nod, in part, to the traditional name for Lahaina: Malu 'Ulu o Lele, meaning the shaded breadfruit grove of Lele.

“Besides (‘ulu) being a big part of Lahaina, there’s symbolic reasons for the ‘ulu,” Richardson said of his design. “If somebody’s coming up and seeing it as it is on this wall – it’s sandwiched between this imagery and it being the center – it forces the viewer to place importance in the ‘ulu and maybe dive into that more.”

Richardson worked with every student and staff member on campus to complete the mural.

Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen attended a dedication ceremony the school organized. "Our young people today represent the dreams yet to be fulfilled, laughter yet to be shared, and futures full of promise," Bissen said. "This mural today represents the hope, the healing and the value of coming together as a community."

Princess Nāhiʻenaʻena Elementary Principal Gary Kanamori dedicated the mural to all of Lahaina, calling it "a testament to our enduring strength and a symbol of healing for our community."

“This (mural) is about healing, about bringing people together. This is something that Lahaina is good at,” Kanamori said. "It is our past, it is our present, it is our future. It is Lahaina. May the spirit of our community and our rich cultural history forever guide us on our journey."

The mural was funded through the Public Schools of Hawai‘i Foundation and took about two months to complete.

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