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Hawaii Tourism Authority gives $1.4M in grants

HONOLULU (AP) -- The Hawaii Tourism Authority is awarding $1.4 million in grants to support cultural and natural resource programs run by 40 groups across the state.

The grants will support projects like removing invasive plants in the Kokee and Alakai regions of Kauai and creating a Honolulu Zoo exhibit on what Hawaii looked like before humans first arrived.

The Hula Preservation Society and organizers of a traveling exhibit on Kalaupapa are among the cultural groups receiving grants.

Tourism Authority CEO Mike McCartney says it's important to support programs that protect and perpetuate Hawaii's people and culture.

He says the grants allow the agency to use tourism dollars to support community-led initiatives that also create authentic experiences for visitors.

The agency announced the grants last week.