Pioneer of Hawaii Regional Cuisine Peter Merriman To Be Honored for Conservation Efforts

Hawaiian Islands Land Trust (HILT) will honor Chef Peter Merriman at E Malama Aina Kakou, an annual fundraising gala to be held at Lanikuhonua on Saturday, September 22, 2018. Each year, HILT selects a person, group, or organization that has made a substantial impact on conservation and sustainability in Hawaii.


Merriman has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to Hawaii’s environment, sustainability, and local farmers, ranchers, and fishermen. When he first arrived as a chef on Hawaii Island, he saw an opportunity to create a regional cuisine based on locally sourced ingredients with menus designed to support Hawaii’s economy. He is known as Hawaii’s original “locavore” and considered the culinary pioneer of Hawaii Regional Cuisine.


Today, at least 90% Merriman’s restaurant products are locally grown or caught, using sustainable methods. He has been a vocal champion of Hawaii’s farms and ranches for more than 30 years. Immersed in Hawaii Island’s farming community, Merriman’s opened his first restaurant in Waimea, where he built strong relationships with local producers, leading the charge in Hawaii’s farm-to-table, boat-to-table, and ranch-to-table culinary movement.  “We are proud to honor Peter Merriman this year for his visionary leadership in our community and his commitment to Hawaii’s sustainability, our environment, and our local food producers,” said Kawika Burgess, HILT’s CEO.


Over the years, Merriman’s focus on sustainable sourcing and land conservation has grown even more acute, as he has recognized the need to protect the ocean and the aina for future generations. His enterprise has developed into a series of highly respected statewide restaurant brands. Merriman’s Restaurants, celebrating a 30th anniversary this year, showcase the freshest island grown and harvested foods, and his cuisine reflects the myriad flavors of Hawaii’s multiculturalism.


“My goal has been to nurture the source of all the products that we serve in our restaurants,” says Merriman. “In the beginning, we had to forge relationships with farmers, ranchers and fishermen. Now, we are always seeking ways to preserve those sources for future generations. Naturally, we also seek to make our choices economically viable for our business. Great conservation includes economic sustainability,” notes Merriman


Peter Merriman and his wife Victorine, along with HILT’s many supporters, have enabled the organization to deliver an incredible amount of conservation success, protecting more than 18,000 acres across Hawaii. Support for the 2018 E Malama Aina Kakou benefit will enable HILT to deliver even more vital conservation work in Hawaii.


Peter and Victorine are founding members of HILT. They belong to a visionary group of donors who each made generous multi-year financial commitments to the statewide land trust at its inception in 2011. Since then, Merriman’s restaurants have generously supported the charity’s annual benefit gala by providing the food for the event’s sumptuous dinner.


Merriman has also served as a volunteer board member for HILT from 2011 to 2018, devoting his energy to the mission of protecting the lands that sustain Hawaii’s people for current and future generations.


HILT invites their supporters to join them in celebrating Peter Merriman for his community leadership, philanthropy and vision at this year’s HILT benefit, E Malama Aina Kakou. The fundraising gala provides support for HILT’s efforts to protect coastal lands, historical and cultural landscapes, and working farms and ranches across Hawaii.


The evening is an island-style paina under the stars at the gorgeous grounds at Lanikuhonua. Guests will be treated to delicious local fare provided by the renowned culinary team from Monkeypod Kitchen by Merriman, along with craft cocktails, an exciting live auction, and live entertainment.


Event Details:


Saturday, September 22, 2018

5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Lanikuhonua Cultural Institute

92-1001 Olani St

Kapolei, HI 96707

Tables of 10 are available for $2,500, $5,000 and, $7,500

Individual Tickets are $250 per person

Purchase Tickets online at

Or by phone at (808) 791-0731


For more information about the event, visit or call Angela Britten, Director of Development at (808) 791-0731