In 2002 former Hawai’i governor Linda Lingle set aside an 8.261-acre parcel in Kihei, Maui for the Kaho’olawe Island Reserve Commission’s (KIRC) future use as an information center, boathouse, and native Hawaiian plant nursery (reference Executive Order No. 3963, executed February 19, 2002).
Currently occupied by the KIRC’s boathouse and by a section of the South Maui Coastal Heritage Corridor Trail, this property is the new focal point for a series of grants received through the Hawai‘i Community Foundation, Hawa‘i Tourism Authority, Atherton Family Foundation and Alu Like, Inc.’s Native Hawaiian Career and Technical Education Program.
Over the course of the next 2 years, the KIRC will collaborate with its committed partners and extraordinary volunteer base to develop a native plant nursery, traditional hale, walking trail with native plants and interpretive educational signage and a series of educational programs for the public. Ultimately, these projects will set the stage for the development of a Kaho‘olawe cultural center which will house permanent historical, cultural and scientific information and displays, provide classrooms for educational programs and office space for the Reserve’s administrative and operations staff.
Through a series of new community work days at the Kihei property, the KIRC has begun to strengthen understanding of and connection to Kaho‘olawe for Maui residents and visitors. Volunteers contribute invaluable time and effort preparing the area for these projects while learning about the history, culture and restoration of Kaho‘olawe; experiences they are able to take back home to share.
The restoration and preservation of Kaho‘olawe depends on a broad base of support, public awareness of its uniqueness, and the ability to educate as many as possible about the opportunities, challenges, and unique resources that the Reserve offers. The Kaho‘olawe cultural center will speak to this need, providing a vital opportunity to educate the public about Kaho’olawe and to provide non-Hawaiians with a connection to living Hawaiian cultural practices.
To make a tax-deductible donation to the Kaho‘olawe Rehabilitation Trust Fund in support of these projects, send your contribution to the KIRC at 811 Kolu Street, Suite 201, Wailuku HI 96793 or give online at hawaiianwayfund.org (donor designation #130). Every dollar makes a difference.