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First sign installed in the Moku ‘O Wailuku

By Staff | Jan 8, 2021

A small group of community stakeholders, government officials and members of the project team participated in the signage blessing and installation ceremony on Dec. 21. PHOTO BY LINN NISHIKAWA.

KAHULUI — The recently installed its first sign in the Moku ‘O Wailuku on the University of Hawaii Maui College campus.

The Maui Nui Ahupua’a Project was created to bring awareness and revitalize the traditional Hawaiian ahupua’a names within each moku in Maui County.

Since November 2019, Project Coordinator/Designer Vernon Kalanikau has been working on the Moku ‘O Wailuku project with community stakeholders, Hawaiian cultural practitioners, kumu and people from their respective ahupua’a to review land divisions, boundaries and to gather mo’olelo (stories, legend, history).

Their mana’o (thoughts, ideas) helped shape the vision for the signage designs and locations.

The new ahupua’a signs will be installed on various county roads within the Moku ‘O Wailuku, which is comprised of Wailuku and Kahului areas, including near Spreckelsville and Maui Veterans Highway (formerly known as Mokulele Highway).

The project was supported by County Council Members Tasha Kama and Alice Lee through a Kahului and Wailuku Economic Development, Environmental and Cultural Programs Fund. Maui Food Technology Center assists Kalanikau with the administrative work, community outreach and marketing for the project.

“These signs will help people to reimagine what it was like to live in these ahupua’a over 100 years ago,” said Kama. “Our hope is that through community-based programs like these, we can continue to educate our local people about their history, their roots, and to continue to pass on these cherished stories to future generations.”

The first ahupua’a signage project, Kula Kai (Kihei area in the Moku ‘O Kula), was completed in October 2019.

Signs for the Moku ‘O Wailuku (Central Maui area) are now being installed.

Kalanikau is also working with the community on the signage for Kula Uka (Upcountry area in the Moku ‘O Kula).

According to Kalanikau, “These place names are important. It’s part of our Hawaiian heritage and culture.

“We extend a big mahalo to everyone involved in this project, and we look forward to continuing the conversation moving forward.”

For more information on the Maui Nui Ahupua’a Project, visit www.mauinuiahupuaaproject.com.