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Next-generation leaders selected as Maui ambassadors in new MVCB campaign 

By Staff | Feb 25, 2016

The Maui Mavericks Class of 2016-17 includes (from left): Tiare Lawrence, Hokuao Pellegrino, Dustin Tester, Shay Smith, Sheldon Simeon, Kainoa Horcajo, Mayor Alan Arakawa, Denby Freeland-Cole, Napua Greig-Nakasone, Joylynn Paman, MVCB’s Terryl Vencl and Perry Bateman. Not pictured are Darren Strand, Ekolu Lindsey III, Garrett Marrero, Kaponoai Molitau, Meagan Jones Gray and Pohaku Kahoohanohano. PHOTO BY THE MAUI VISITORS AND CONVENTION BUREAU.

WAILUKU – What makes Maui so special isn’t just the island’s incredible scenery and sunsets. It’s also the people who live here.

The Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau (MVCB) is showcasing 16 of these individuals with the launch of Maui Mavericks, a new public relations campaign aimed at promoting Maui Nui in national outlets and key markets in North America.

Through the campaign, MVCB hopes to increase editorial exposure and interest in travel to Maui, attracting a steady flow of visitors to help ensure a vibrant island economy.

The new campaign shares the stories of Maui’s next generation of leaders. The Maui Mavericks are an ethnically diverse and multi-talented group of individuals moving Maui forward while preserving Hawaii’s culture and heritage.

The inaugural Maui Mavericks class of 2016-17 includes a kapa (Hawaiian bark cloth) maker, a craft brew master, a taro farmer, a fashion designer and 12 other talented, knowledgeable Mauians.

“The Maui Mavericks campaign offers a modern take on what makes Maui such an incredible destination, as told through our next generation,” said Terryl Vencl, MVCB executive director.

“Maui may be known for its beaches and natural beauty, but news outlets in New York or Texas may not see further than that. This campaign showcases the diversity and aloha spirit of our best and brightest, and sends them out into the world as ambassadors of the island we love.”

Over the next two years, the Maui Mavericks will work with MVCB on-island and in key travel markets to Maui, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver, Dallas, Chicago, Denver and New York. They will host events, demonstrations and discussions, and share their inspiring stories through media interviews, social media and interactions with the general public.

According to MVCB, the Maui Mavericks all embody several essential qualities: they are at the top of their game and part of the new wave of leaders in their respective fields, are fascinating individuals with unique interests beyond their professional passions, are well-respected in the community, and they are 100 percent committed to serving the islands.

They malama (care for) the ‘aina (land) and honor their kupuna (elders) while bringing exciting new perspectives and ideas shaping a bright future for Maui Nui. They are accessible to visitors and residents of Maui.

The 2016-17 Maui Mavericks are (in alphabetical order): Perry Bateman (Cuisine), executive chef of Mama’s Fish House; Denby Freeland-Cole (Art/Fashion), artist and kapa practitioner; Napua Greig-Nakasone (Hula/Music/Culture), kumu hula and musician; Kainoa Horcajo (Culture), Hawaiian cultural ambassador at Grand Wailea; Meagan Jones Gray (Ocean), co-founder and executive director of Whale Trust Maui; Pohaku Kahoohanohano (Culture), master lauhala weaver; Tiare Lawrence (Fashion/Ocean), owner and designer of Otaheite Hawaii; Ekolu Lindsey III (Culture/Ocean/Environment), president of Maui Cultural Lands; Garrett Marrero (Agri-Tourism), founder and CEO of Maui Brewing Co.; Kaponoai Molitau (Art/Culture/Hula), kumu hula and owner of Native Intelligence; Joylynn Paman (Environment/Culture), executive director of Koieie Fishpond; Hokuao Pellegrino (Agriculture/Culture), land education specialist for Kamehameha Schools and co-owner and manager of Nohoana Farm; Sheldon Simeon (Cuisine), executive chef of Mala Wailea and MiGRANT and founder/owner/chef of Tin Roof; Shay Smith (Agri-Tourism), founder and president of Hawaii Sea Spirits; Darren Strand (Agriculture), president and CEO of Maui Gold Pineapple Co.; and Dustin Tester (Ocean), camp founder and director of Maui Surfer Girls.

“We are thrilled to honor our inaugural Maui Mavericks and share their stories with the world,” said Vencl. “No one knows the extraordinary nature of Maui and what it will take to preserve and enhance those qualities going forward better than this group of people.”