Our Islands, Our Future
It’s rodeo time!

It’s rodeo time!

Maui is preparing for a cherished tradition. The Makawao Stampede begins on Friday July 5th and continues through the holiday weekend at the Oskie Rice Event Center in Makawao. Since its inception in 1956, the Stampede has attracted multitudes of spectators and competitors. This year, contenders are coming from other islands, the mainland, and as far away as Australia to compete in a variety of events.

Attendees will experience the thrill of barrel racing, where horse and rider attempt to run a cloverleaf pattern in the fastest time around preset barrels. Jayci Jay Rice, the 2023 Makawao Stampede Match Barrel Champion, explained, “Running barrels produces an amazing connection with my horse. My adrenaline rush goes straight to my horse and together we give it our all. There’s nothing like it!”

Team roping, another favorite, involves teamwork between two skilled ropers, a header and a heeler, and their horses, as they work together to rope a steer in the fastest time possible. The Bull Bash, one of the most exhilarating events, involves a rider getting on a bucking bull and attempting to stay mounted for eight seconds while touching the bull with only their riding hand.

 “This takes enormous strength, determination, and true grit,” said Noah Foti, a Makawao Stampede bull riding champion, owner of Rowdy Outdoors, and founder of the new nonprofit, Rowdy Rodeo. “I love the competition and the comradery at the Stampede. You can feel all the love and support that our community brings to make it all happen. These events, and others, showcase the skill and courage required in the world of rodeo.”

At Rowdy Outdoors, Foti provides the best gear for Hawaiʻi’s athletes. His new nonprofit, Rowdy Rodeo, aims to give underprivileged keiki riding opportunities that are not available anywhere else in Hawaiʻi. “I would like to give our youth a chance to ride horses and compete in rodeo events by offering something I wish was available when I was young.”

For rodeo information and tickets, go to or

This year’s Makawao Stampede has something for everyone, including sheep riding for the keiki!
Noah Foti, Champion Bull Rider Rowdy Outdoors and Rowdy Rodeo

Makawao Celebrates!

Makawao Celebrates!

The 56th Annual Makawao Parade, to be held on June 29th at 9am in Makawao town, is a much-anticipated event each year. The parade kicks off a week of festivities filled with tradition, community spirit, and the vibrant culture of the Upcountry paniolo (cowboy) lifestyle. More than just a show, the parade demonstrates the town’s deep connection to its paniolo roots, blending its rich history with authentic experience for residents and visitors alike. “The parade, a much-treasured tradition, began decades ago as mounted units only,” said Maile J. Masada, the Director of Facility Operations for Oskie Rice Event Center. “Now, it includes floats, walking units, classic cars, marching bands, special tributes, and more.”

Cattle were first introduced to the islands in the 1790s, and ranching began to flourish in the mid-to-late 1800s. Mexican vaqueros (cowboys) helped Hawaiian ranchers as they learned to herd, breed, and slaughter cattle. During this time, a new Hawaiian cowboy or “paniolo” culture (originating from the Hawaiian pronunciation of “Español”) emerged as an integral part of Upcountry life.

The Makawao Parade and Stampede is a continuation of this history. Masada noted, “There is an event every day either in Makawao town or at the Oskie Arena after the parade, closing with the Makawao Stampede on the 4th of July weekend.” With spectators lining the streets, the parade route starts on Baldwin Avenue near the Veterans Cemetery, turns right onto Makawao Avenue, and ends on Makani Road near Kalama School.

This year’s Grand Marshal is paniolo Eugene DeRego. “Born and raised on Maui, DeRego grew up riding horses, competing in roping, motorcross, and drag racing, where he won many titles,” Masada explained. “There will also be a loving commemoration for special honoree Gladys Baisa, a cherished member of the Makawao community whose legacy continues to inspire.”

Following the parade, the Parade in the Country Concert will take place from 12-5pm at the Oskie Rice Event Center. There will be food, craft vendors, and an assortment of live entertainment including Jordan Soon Wai-Knot, Hālau Keʻala Kahinano O Puna, and Te Ohi Nui. Masada added, “Thanks to our many sponsors, we have set the stage for an unforgettable parade and holiday celebration!”

Come join us as we celebrate our local culture and traditions during the week of festivities! For more information, visit

Maile J. Masada
Director of Facility Operations, Oskie Rice Event Center

Treecovery: Growing for the Future

Treecovery: Growing for the Future

Treecovery Hawaiʻi Inc., a new Hawaiʻi-based non-profit, has been working with the Army Corps to help keep surviving trees in the Lahaina and Kula burn zones healthy while also providing soil remediation in the area. In addition to caring for existing trees, the organization is working with 14 partners to plant and oversee the growth of 30,000 new trees over the next several years, at no cost to the community. Treecovery was founded by Duane Sparkman, chairman of the Maui County Arborist Committee and the 2021 recipient of the Mālama i ka ʻĀina Award. The award is presented annually by the Maui Invasive Species Committee to recognize efforts in the landscape and agricultural community to keep invasive species out of Maui County.

Sparkman wears many hats. He is known for his work in sustainable landscaping as well as his countless volunteer hours serving multiple cultural and conservation organizations across the island. Sparkman worked his way up to becoming part-owner of a large landscaping company that maintained 65 acres of resorts along Maui’s coastlines. He worked at Haleakalā National Park and sits on the board of directors of Maui Cultural Lands. Sparkman’s consulting company, Edaphic Perspective, assists homeowners, landowners, and municipalities as they transition to organic landscape practices. He is also the project manager for a 72-acre Hawaiian cultural reserve called Kipuka Olowalu and partners with Maui Nui Marine Resource Council to assist them with their organic land management division.

“Treecovery represents my hope to keep trees in the Maui wildfire zones alive and to provide trees to the residents and businesses in Lahaina and Kula that lost their trees in the fires,” said Sparkman. “Treecovery also stems from my passion in seeing thriving and healthy ecosystems from mauka to makai. I believe in sharing my knowledge with other organizations and people throughout Maui. It’s important to me to respect and advocate for Hawaiian culture while improving sustainable landscape practices within Hawaiʻi’s resort industry.”

Sparkman added, “There is a lot of work to do, and we always need volunteers. Currently, numerous properties have been cleared for replanting in Kula. While caring for trees, we are growing an ‘ohana that we are all part of. We are working towards a healthy Maui Nui for generations to come.”

From the ʻāina, we learn who we are, and what we put into its restoration, we get back.
Duane Sparkman, Founder and President, Treecovery

Maui food innovation center

Maui food innovation center

During a recent Maui TechOhana meeting organized by Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) and supported by the County of Maui, participants learned about the inspiring work being done at the Maui Food Innovation Center (MFIC) located on the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College (UHMC) campus. Ian Stewart, UHMC Entrepreneurship and Business Development Specialist for the Pā‘oihana Program, was joined by Chef Douglas Paul to explain the work being done at the MFIC. Attendees discussed the benefits of the first value-added food manufacturing incubator and accelerator in Hawaiʻi and learned about the entrepreneurial programs and services available at MFIC. The presenters also shared some of the success stories emerging from the program.

The work done in the MFIC Laulima Education, Research, and Test Kitchen facility, with its attached classroom, is focused on the food and manufacturing industry. The 1,500 square foot space has $90,000 in specialized equipment, and MFIC plans to install a remote camera system to enable statewide distance learning. Along with the manufacturing facility, the program provides technological expertise, innovative training, and consultation. Serving as a resource hub for new and established food businesses, students, farmers, ranchers, chefs, and restauranters, the program also helps bring products to market locally, regionally, and nationally.

“Through education and access to industry leaders, our vision is to help develop cottage-size companies into medium-sized food manufacturers in the state of Hawaiʻi,” said Chef Paul. “The MFIC shared-use food business incubator and processing facility offers a vast array of resources and technologies to foster growth in our community.”

Stewart’s current role at UHMC has him encouraging entrepreneurship as part of a Minority Business Development Agency issued grant. “Supporting our Native Hawaiian food business owners, local food systems, and fresh produce industry is more important than ever,” Stewart noted. “Maui’s wildfire challenges and the current economy make it vital for our island to be self-sufficient and resilient when it comes to growing food.”

Dylan Schwarzmeier of Veg-Out shared, “MFIC is a fantastic opportunity for anyone who wants to bring a small-idea food product and turn it into a scalable market. MEDB’s TechOhana meetings provide an essential boost to help our local community succeed in every way possible.”

This excellent Maui TechOhana meeting gave everybody the opportunity to see innovation happening, not only in technology, but also in Hawaiʻi’s agriculture and food production.
Candace Shaw, CEO, Astute Consulting

Healthcare exploration for students

Healthcare exploration for students

This spring, Maui Economic Development Board’s STEMworks™ program organized three Healthcare Exploration Day events with Maui Health. The events, hosted by the Maui Health team at Maui Memorial Medical Center (MMMC) and made possible by generous funding from the County of Maui, aimed to inspire and educate students from middle and high school campuses across Maui, Molokai, and Lāna’i. In total, 11 schools, 260 students, and 20 healthcare professionals participated in hands-on activities, seeing first-hand how students can make a difference in their communities by learning life-saving skills.

The events began with moving pules by Kumu Iolani Kuoha and Kumu Luana Kawa’a, which acknowledged the land served by Maui Nui’s healthcare professionals. The students then learned about the dangers of distracted driving from MMMC nursing staff. Additional breakout sessions were held on stop the bleed skills, hands-on compressions, automated external defibrillator (AED) use, recognizing signs of stroke, trauma resuscitation techniques, the role of respiratory therapy in healthcare, imaging technology, and volunteer opportunities at the hospital.

The third event in the series also featured Marian Horikawa-Barth, Chief Nurse Executive for MMMC. She spoke to the students about her role and the critical need in Maui County for more medical professionals. “As we face a growing shortage of healthcare professionals, this event is not just an educational opportunity, but a crucial step towards inspiring the next generation,” said Lalaine Pasion, STEMworks program specialist. “By bringing together Maui’s health professionals to demonstrate a variety of medical fields, we aimed to spark interest in healthcare careers at an early age.”

Lynn A. Fulton, Maui Health CEO, noted, “Maui Health provides a great opportunity for students to be able to build a career. There is nothing like seeing what happens in a hospital through interactions with the people who work here.”

Maui Health Human Resources Leader Tara K. Cole shared, “Healthcare Exploration Day is designed to provide students, who are interested in healthcare but are perhaps not sure which field will best suit their gifts and goals, a chance to learn about all that our programs have to offer. Positions are available right out of high school.”

For more information, visit online or call 808-242-2251 on Wednesdays to speak to a recruiter.

I’m very interested in the medical field. Today I learned the importance of vital life-saving skills and that emergencies can happen to anyone, at any time. I want to be prepared!
Jaiden Ibañez, 8th grader, Maui Waena Intermediate School

Rotary International helps Maui

Rotary International helps Maui

Recently, all the Rotary Clubs on Maui were invited to gather at Lahainaluna High School to welcome the Rotary International President Gordon McInally, his wife and fellow Rotarian, Heather McInally, and Maui Mayor Richard Bissen. Over 150 Maui Rotarians, as well as some from other Hawaiian Islands and Canada, heard about a multitude of ways that Rotarians have met the needs of people harmed by the fires in Lahaina and Upcountry.

Mayor Bissen said, “I’m here to recognize the extraordinary work that Rotary District 5000 has done to help the Maui Fire Relief Fund. Your model of ‘service above self’ has transformed aloha into action in the aftermath of the August 2023 wildfires. Your response efforts, handing out hundreds of food and gas gift cards, and helping with internet connectivity, keiki supplies, and so much more in financial help, has been outstanding.”

The August 8th wildfires were a life-changing tragedy for many Maui families and friends. “Rotary members took immediate action,” said Joanne Laird, Maui Rotary Advisor. “As we came together to recover and rebuild, we formed a Fire Relief Fund through the Hawaiʻi Rotary District 5000 Foundation. A committee was organized shortly after to find the greatest needs for distribution of the $3.2 million collected.”

The Rotary Club plans to use $2 million for long-term projects such as rebuilding and a memorial park. During the event, McInally presented the Kanikapila Project – a ukulele program funded by Rotary to provide ukuleles and instruction to fire-survivor students – with a check for $20,745. In addition, he presented a check for $10,000 to support David Malo Day at Lahainaluna High School.

McInally concluded, “The money Rotary has raised and the work being done is a great service to Maui relief victims. We have to work into the future together. I believe that an organization like Rotary can make a difference in the world. I believe that we all have the spirit of caring in our hearts, and Rotary is a wonderful way to deliver that care for people. We can improve things and ultimately create hope worldwide.”

There are more than 1.4 million Rotarians in over 200 countries who have donated more than $3 million to help Maui’s recovery.
Gordon McInally, Rotary International President

Classic Hawaiian Fashions at Kaunoa

Classic Hawaiian Fashions at Kaunoa

On a beautiful Maui morning in Sprecklesville, Sarah Shim, retired Kaunoa Senior Services Specialist for Assisted Transportation and Meals on Wheels, presented an on-site fashion show with designs from Hawaiʻi’s past and present. A division of the County of Maui’s Department of Housing and Human Concerns, Kaunoa provides services and activities for seniors with diverse needs seeking to learn and grow through a variety of ongoing programs offered across the county.

Roland Prieto, Kaunoa Senior Services Assistant Administrator, said, “What a wonderful event this was! We have been looking forward to inviting our seniors back to events here since Covid. Sarah Shim did an amazing job, along with the models and guest speaker, Agnes Terao-Guiala, the 2021 Pele Award winner for her book, Hawaiian Women’s Fashion: Kapa, Cotton and Silk. The musical entertainment was provided by Richard Tom and Mele Fong.”

Shim explained, “Hawaiʻi, being very unique when it comes to fashion, has a rich and fascinating history. Hawaiian fashion from the past to present was showcased with traditional styles, patterns, and motifs relating to island history. The fashion show took attendees on a journey through time to show the evolution of Hawaiian fashion.”

Terao-Guiala shared, “Growing up I was inspired by my love for the beautiful fancy holokū, and I began to research the origin and evolution of all Hawaiian attire. I purchased and collected over 200 Hawaiian garments, mostly the muʻumuʻu (a loose-fitting flowy dress) that was introduced to Hawaiʻi in the mid-1800’s. Today’s fashion show showcased a remarkable chronicle of the fabrics and styles of Hawaiʻi, all interwoven with stories of the islands and its people, from early Hawaiians to historic royalty, to modern designers. Presently, Hawaiʻi’s contemporary designers are popular within the local and global fashion industry.”

A fashion show attendee exclaimed, “The show offered more than beautiful fashions! We were educated in how and when the styles came about. Even the men modeled Hawaiian shirts from different periods, including the famous Palaka shirt. Plus, the lunch and musical entertainment were great!”

The models wear a blend of Western, European, and Eastern cultures, truly representing the spirit of aloha in our island history.
Sarah Shim, Host, Hawaiian Fashion Show at Kaunoa Senior

A Dream is Coming True!

A Dream is Coming True!

In December 2023, Maui Academy of Performing Arts (MAPA) started construction on its new black box theater at 2027 Main Street in Wailuku. Completion is scheduled for March 31, 2025. The culmination of a 30-year dream, the Naylor Family Theatre will seat 185 audience members with a flexible seating system that can be re-configured to accommodate different types of performances. In the heart of historic Wailuku, the theatre will serve people of all ages, genders, ethnicities, and economic circumstances.

“Recently, MAPA received a $1,000,000 donation from philanthropist Susan Naylor Moulton for the black box theatre,” said Carolyn Wright, MAPA Executive Director. “When tragedy struck Moulton’s family 17 years ago on Maui, she said it was the people in the arts who lifted her up.”

David Johnston and Carolyn Wright, MAPA

Named in memory of Moulton’s two sons, the facility will also include state-of-the-art audiovisual and lighting systems, lobby, box office, concessions area, dressing rooms, rehearsal studios, restrooms, and storage. Moulton shared, “The arts are the voices of the island. We have so many creative people here, from cultural practitioners, to chefs, to painters, to performing artists. I’m honored to be involved in building this new theatre in Wailuku where the community will experience the healing power of artistic performance at every level.”

In addition to the economic benefits of the project, MAPA’s artistic director, David Johnston, also underscored the healing power of the arts. “MAPA’s Naylor Family Theatre will be a space for the community to experience the creative benefits that stretch beyond just entertainment,” Johnston shared. “I believe that the arts can be a powerful force for helping us navigate the uncertainties of these times, providing solace, awakening curiosity, and inspiring us to imagine a new future in a thriving community.”  Wright added, “The theatre will infuse a new vibrancy into Wailuku, sparking more economic activity for existing restaurants and shops while attracting new businesses to fill vacant storefronts. By creating jobs in the creative arts sector, our theatre will bring renewed energy to the town through creative expression and community engagement. Plus, it will foster a resilient local economy on Maui.”

The Naylor Family Theatre will be a gathering space where the community can generate a sense of collective healing.
Carolyn Wright, MAPA Executive Director

Pledge to our Keiki

Pledge to our Keiki

Two thoughtful and concerned students from Baldwin High School launched a campaign to promote a Pledge To Our Keiki. Through the pledge, senior Anica Ancheta, the Hawaiʻi State Student Council Representative, senior Penelope Tupou, the Baldwin Student Body President, and their advisor, Student Activities Coordinator Donna Vierra, are working hard to have students, their families, locals, and visitors preserve and protect Hawaiʻi’s environment and culture.

Ancheta explained, “Working with student leaders and ambassadors from across the state is how we implement important opportunities at our own schools. I learned about Pledge to Our Keiki, a statewide initiative, at one of the Hawaiʻi State Student Council leadership workshops and immediately knew I wanted to bring it to my school and island. In addition, I knew I wanted to make a difference.”

The Pledge was modeled on the success of the Palau Pledge, a commitment to personal action towards environmental responsibility and sustainable tourism. The Palau Pledge amassed over 900,000 signatories and the support of major global organizations, including the UN, the World Economic Forum, and Greenpeace. In Pledge To Our Keiki, the student leaders of Hawaiʻi are asking their communities to pledge to their future. It’s a commitment to show up, volunteer, donate, and strengthen our ability to respond to unforeseen challenges. The pledge is also a platform for every school and nonprofit in Hawaiʻi to help Maui recover and rebuild. It empowers student leaders to shine a light on their creativity and gives them a sense of responsibility that focuses on the culture and environment.

Tupou added, “When I read the pledge, I realized this is something I want to be part of because I truly believe in it. A statement in the pledge that inspired me is: ‘From our children we learn that Hawaiʻi is not just inherited from our ancestors, but borrowed from our future generations’. This inspired me to pursue a career in civil engineering. I want to develop sustainable infrastructures and projects on Maui that can help us adapt and be more resilient towards climate change and whatever may come our way. It’s about letting our keiki know that we care now about their future.”

Working together, we can create waves of positive change. Anica Ancheta, Baldwin H.S. Hawaiʻi State Student Council Representative Penelope Tupou, Baldwin H.S. Student Body President