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Lahaina Restoration Foundation shares Lahaina’s history and culture with West Maui teachers

By Staff | Oct 22, 2015

West Maui teachers, presenter Wainani Kealoha and LRF Community Education Committee members visit the Moku‘ula Restoration Site in Lahaina. PHOTO BY LOUISA SHELTON.

LAHAINA – For the 11th consecutive year, Lahaina Restoration Foundation (LRF) has provided its free History In Our Back Yard tour to new teachers from West Side schools. Reaching more than 200 educators over these years, LRF shares Lahaina’s rich history and culture through this program.

In September, West Maui teachers set aside half of their Saturday to visit 30 historical sites while learning about the important role Lahaina has played throughout Hawaii’s history.

Initiated by Andy Kutsunai, retired history teacher and former chair of LRF’s Community Education Committee, the annual tradition continues through the efforts of Co-chairs Karee Carlucci and Louisa Shelton, their dedicated volunteer committee and the support of LRF staff and Board of Directors.

“We all appreciate the positive impact this makes on our community and these teachers as they take the time from their busy schedules to participate in this program, and we thank all who contribute to its success,” stated Shelton.

MauiGrown Coffee provided the morning beverage, Take Home Maui offered a fruit platter for the morning break, and Aloha Mixed Plate donated bento lunches. The Lahainaluna High School Athletic Department contributed the use of a bus for the road portion. LRF provided water and other food items and gave each teacher a virtual tour binder on a flash drive, a gift card to use at OfficeMax and a complimentary pass to visit the Baldwin Home and Wo Hing museums. These materials were conveniently carried in reusable bags provided by Friends of Moku’ula.

The event is primarily a walking tour, led by Carlucci and joined by tour partners along the way who share their knowledge and passion for their organization’s programs and projects. This year, the tour commenced near Kamehameha Iki Park with Education Coordinator and Navigator Kala Baybayan from Hui O Wa’a Kaulua, followed by Wainani Kealoha from Maui Nei Native Expeditions at the Moku’ula Restoration Site.

Other stops included the Waiola (Waine’e) Church and Cemetery, Lahaina Hongwanji Mission (where “Noosh” Nishihara made a presentation), followed by other sites in the heart of Lahaina. The bus ride allowed viewing of even more sites leading to the next stop met by Jackie Hala, a docent from LRF, who demonstrated the use of the printing press at Hale Pa’i Museum. The last stop was at Hale Pa’ahao for a relaxed lunch in the shade of Lahaina’s Old Prison yard.

Attendees expressed appreciation of the history shared. One teacher remarked, “I expected to just come and learn a few things; instead I found myself awed as I learned a lot!” Another added, “I will definitely use the information and resources provided.”

Carlucci noted, “It’s rewarding to see the enthusiasm of new members of our community for digging deeper into Lahaina’s rich history and culture, and it’s encouraging to know that they’ll pass on this new knowledge to our youth.”

For 53 years, the foundation has been preserving Lahaina’s historic buildings and sites, and it is bringing these sites to life with free programs like monthly Hawaiian music concerts at Baldwin Home Museum and Chinese cultural festivals at Wo Hing Museum. For more information about LRF, call the Lahaina Restoration Foundation office at 661-3262 or go to LahainaRestoration .org. Find LRF on Facebook at Facebook.com/LahainaRestoration and Twitter @LahainaRestFnd.