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Display will bring to life sports of the Plantation Era

By Staff | Jul 4, 2013

Steering Committee members (from left) Andrew Kutsunai, Bill Marciel, Bob Kawaguchi and Richard “Noosh” Nishihara review data for a sports display that will be featured at Lahaina Plantation Days on Oct. 18-19. Alan Kawaguchi also serves on the panel.

LAHAINA – One of the community’s most popular events, Lahaina Plantation Days, this year will feature a display tent focusing on “West Maui Athletics of the Plantation Era.”

Sponsored by Lahaina Restoration Foundation, the fifth annual celebration will take place on Oct. 18-19 at the Pioneer Mill Smokestack along Lahainaluna Road.

A wide variety of entertainment will be complemented by a lineup of food and beverage booths representing the finest establishments of the West Side to treat attendees to a fun-filled, unforgettable experience.

A steering committee made up of Bob Kawaguchi, Andrew Kutsunai, Richard “Noosh” Nishihara, Bill Marciel and Alan Kawaguchi – all Lahainaluna High School graduates and pillars of the community – have launched the effort to bring back the glory and memories of the recreational side of the generation of West Side residents that formed the roots of our prosperous community.

Such legendary Lahaina sports leaders as Shigeto Wakida in tennis, Norman Oda and Kenji Kawaguchi for football, and Shugo Masuda in basketball will be featured along with displays memorializing their sports, as well as baseball, boxing and sumo, during the event.

Camp organizations such as the Plebes Athletic Association, West Maui Athletic Association, West Maui Community Association, Pioneer Mill, Hawaiian Jewels, and Maui County Parks and Recreation will be brought to life on the old sugar factory grounds.

These recreational organizations represented some very happy and important activities for all of the various ethnic residents of the Lahaina Pump, Kuhua, Kilauea, Keawe, Baldwin Packers, Puukolii and Honolua camps that nurtured the landscape from Olowalu to Honokohau.

Now, powered by the remarkable energy of the steering committee led by the indomitable Bob Kawaguchi, the exciting times will be recreated in the center tent of this year’s Lahaina Plantation Days.

“In years past, we brought to light certain aspects of plantation life by showing and identifying camp homes and stores. This year, we want to bring to life the sports activities of the era. There were all kinds of activities like baseball, basketball, softball, boxing, sumo and even horse racing. There was a racetrack right here where the Hyatt is now, and there was a sumo dojo and ring in Lahaina,” said Bob last week, during the first meeting of the committee.

“Each camp had a dirt court for basketball and other sports, and some churches had paved courts,” he continued. “There was even a grandstand with a roof at Malu-ulu-o-lele Park.”

According to Kutsunai, the display tent will be arranged in chronological order starting from 1900 and before, and then by decades up to 1990.

A corner display will feature Lahainaluna sports during the same era.

“We’re looking for artifacts, photos, articles and anything like toys and homemade games from those times,” he said.

Call (808) 661-3286, (808) 281-1462 or (808) 661-3262 if you can present any of these artifacts for display at Lahaina Plantation Days.

All items will be handled with extreme care and returned to the owners following the event.