“Aunty Coco’s” Lei Garden
The lei garden consists of plants that produce flowers, seeds, and leaves that include color, fragrance, lasting quality, and rarity for lei making. Today, in Hawai'i, the lei is a symbol of friendship, love, and trust. It is offered as a gift of honor to friends and visitors. The connection to its origins goes back to Southern Asia, after many hundreds of years of migrating form island to island eastward across the vast Pacific Ocean, bringing with them the arts and traditions of the lei, which generations before them had developed on the continent of their origin. The materials of lei making were substituted, the reasons for and the rituals of the lei suffered changes also as people moved from place to place. A greater and richer variety of leis was made in Hawai'i at this time than in any other Polynesian group. Most plants in this garden bloom profusely in March and September. The lei garden is dedicated to our beloved Waimea Valley Ohana member and Kupuna, Aunty Coco Leong, who passed away in September of 2015. Her deep passion to teach and educate Hawaiian culture through music and language will never be forgotten.