(Left To Right) Lina Li- Management Team Cindy Cui - Owner, Summer Cazimero- Management Team  and Maggie Zhang - Owner

Nani Mau Gardens — Nature, Culture, Future

Nani Mau Gardens is a beautiful, rolling, twenty-plus acre property located in south Hilo. In Hawaiian, Nani Mau translates to “forever beautiful,” and this property is certainly that. The beautiful grounds and gardens have a lengthy and cherished history on the Big Island, and the new owners want to honor those memories and continue to build upon them by providing a gorgeous venue for even more special moments to be made.

Created in 1972, the gardens have now transitioned to the 5th generation of owners,  and this newest dynamic team is all women! Their dream for the garden is to create a place for the whole community to enjoy. 

Cindy Cui and Maggie Zhang are long time friends who have enjoyed the beauty of Hawai’i for many, many years. They are eager to work collaboratively with locals and visitors alike to revitalize and rejuvinate the grounds to focus on health, wellness, and culture. Cui says “we don’t own the gardens, they belong to everyone.”


With more than 2,000 plant species throughout the grounds, the team is working with local botanists to catalogue and identify all of the plants, and provide that information to visitors.  They want to educate people on how vitally important each individual plant is, and what each part of a plant can provide to perpetuate the cycle for sustainability. With our particular tropical ecosystem, it is so important to know how different plants interact with each other and what they need to thrive, according to one of the Nani Mau team members. Guided garden tours are not being offered yet, but they have begun developing an extensive plan to bring back and improve all the unique pieces of this gathering place in hopes of offering guided tours in the near future. 

With the plants as the foundational component of the bigger picture, Zhang and Cui want to create programs, events, and offerings at the gardens that are centered around health and wellness.


When asked what incorporating culture meant to the new Nani Mau team, the overall response was simple: to work with local community stakeholders to showcase and share more Hawaiian traditions, and bring that knowledge from the gardens to the world. Potential future partnerships and activities could include exchange programs, a glamping area, guest lectures by local scientists and doctors, and a culturally relevant luau experience. 

With a new outdoor garden entrance that offers access directly from the parking lot, it is easy to see upgrades this team has already achieved. Revitalizing and tending to each section of this incredibly vibrant garden is a huge undertaking and will require a village! Community volunteer days, fundraisers, and seeking grants are some of the avenues that the team is already exploring to implement growth. While the gardens themselves are spectacular, let us not forget the wonderful indoor features this venue offers! Additions and improvements such as a new permanent indoor stage, new interior paint, and a new mural are but a few additions in the long list of additions that are in the works to bring a little more to this special space.


Always thinking forward, Cui and Zhang have started working with local companies to bring in sustainable and green energy to Nani Mau Gardens. Features include new LED lighting, solar panels, plans for waste water management, and creating their own mulch to use as fertilizer in an organic fruit and vegetable greenhouse. They have started reaching out directly to Hawaii farmers to provide local beef, chicken, and fish for their future lunch and dinner offerings. Other amenities the team is working to bring to fruition are a cafe and gift shop including a local coffee, snack and ice cream shop, a beer garden, massages and different types of healing therapies in the garden, and fun for the whole family with things like mini golf and other outdoor games. One of the very exciting features Cui is passionate about is the Aolani Crystal Chapel. This incredible chapel will offer an elevated view of the ocean from the gardens at Nani Mau for an extra special touch for your special event.

Happening Now At Nani Mau

Come visit Nani Mau Gardens and enjoy monthly movie night on the lawn, all you can eat sushi dinners, Wellness Wednesday, Sunday Brunch that will include dim sum, crab legs, and prime rib, Ohana Night Market featuring live music, food trucks and other local makers and vendors, and even more!

Book your next celebration now and find more information about events happening now at Nani Mau Gardens in Hilo, on their website at: www.nanimaugardens.com

Do you have a special memory at Nani Mau Gardens? What do you love about this special place? Let us know in the comments below or tag us on social media @bigislandpulse to be featured! 🤩

Do you have a story to share? Someone doing something positive for our Big Island Hawaiʻi community? Share your story and get paid! 


🤙 Support locally owned, small Big Island of Hawaiʻi business today and visit The Kama’āina Directory CLICK HERE!

Share This Post


Related Articles

Leave a Comment