FOCUS MAUI NUI

Our Islands, Our Future
VIEW THE FOCUS MAUI NUI 2020 TRENDS REPORT
ENERGY ON MOLOKAI

ENERGY ON MOLOKAI

The 8th annual Hawaii Energy Conference explored the energy transition in Hawaii with a focus on investments in people and projects.. The 2021 theme provided discussions on how to invest responsibly while designing energy projects that are resilient, financially viable, and respectful to the community.

The Molokai Clean Energy Hui (MCEH), an independent community-led group, is committed to help Molokai become a sustainable, clean energy community. MCEH coordinator Leilani Chow facilitates the group’s work on energy conservation, renewable energy, and clean transportation options for the island.

Chow, a Kanaka Maoli aloha ʻāina advocate, was raised on Molokai and has worked with Sustainable Molokai since 2010, first as a student volunteer, then as an intern, and most recently as the Hui Up Appliance Exchange Project Coordinator and Coordinator for the newly formed MCEH. She received her bachelor’s degree in Hawaiian Studies from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa in 2017 with a concentration in Kūkulu Aupuni, nation building.

“We want to help the community understand and engage effectively with the complicated processes and project proposals surrounding renewable energy,” said Chow. “We also offer early vetting and input to potential energy developers and other organizations to help them understand Molokai’s priorities, questions, and concerns regarding the impacts and benefits.”

Chow explained, “MCEH would like to see clean energy goals and achieve 100 percent renewable energy. However, we are very aloha ‘aina so there are things that we are not willing to compromise on. However, we are working on a way to meet in the middle to have a mutually beneficial project. Based on our size—approximately 7,500 people live on Molokai—we need only a couple of large scale projects to take care of our sustainability and energy resiliency needs.”

Chow added, “MCEH is currently working on a resilience plan with best ways to stabilize our grid. Once all the technical aspects are taken care of, and the community is brought into the conversation, it will be easier to find a developer who understands our needs. Building trust and respect between stakeholders within the context of equitable community development is vital.”

The 8th annual Hawaii Energy Conference explored the energy transition in Hawaii with a focus on investments in people and projects.. The 2021 theme provided discussions on how to invest responsibly while designing energy projects that are resilient, financially viable, and respectful to the community.

The Molokai Clean Energy Hui (MCEH), an independent community-led group, is committed to help Molokai become a sustainable, clean energy community. MCEH coordinator Leilani Chow facilitates the group’s work on energy conservation, renewable energy, and clean transportation options for the island.

Chow, a Kanaka Maoli aloha ʻāina advocate, was raised on Molokai and has worked with Sustainable Molokai since 2010, first as a student volunteer, then as an intern, and most recently as the Hui Up Appliance Exchange Project Coordinator and Coordinator for the newly formed MCEH. She received her bachelor’s degree in Hawaiian Studies from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa in 2017 with a concentration in Kūkulu Aupuni, nation building.

“We want to help the community understand and engage effectively with the complicated processes and project proposals surrounding renewable energy,” said Chow. “We also offer early vetting and input to potential energy developers and other organizations to help them understand Molokai’s priorities, questions, and concerns regarding the impacts and benefits.”

Chow explained, “MCEH would like to see clean energy goals and achieve 100 percent renewable energy. However, we are very aloha ‘aina so there are things that we are not willing to compromise on. However, we are working on a way to meet in the middle to have a mutually beneficial project. Based on our size—approximately 7,500 people live on Molokai—we need only a couple of large scale projects to take care of our sustainability and energy resiliency needs.”

Chow added, “MCEH is currently working on a resilience plan with best ways to stabilize our grid. Once all the technical aspects are taken care of, and the community is brought into the conversation, it will be easier to find a developer who understands our needs. Building trust and respect between stakeholders within the context of equitable community development is vital.”

The Molokai community is continually active in wanting to find our energy future. This is such an exciting time!”

Leilani Chow, Coordinator Molokai Clean Energy Hui
Investing Respectfully in Hawaii

Investing Respectfully in Hawaii

The 8th Hawaii Energy Conference (HEC) explored the energy transition in Hawaii with a focus on investment in people and projects. Presented by Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) and supported by the County of Maui Office of Economic Development, the annual conference, virtual this year, featured keynotes, panel discussions, interviews, networking, and exhibits. The conference addressed how to invest in the people while designing energy projects that are resilient, financially viable, and respectful to the community.

The panel discussion titled ‘Investing Respectfully in Hawaii’, moderated by Frank De Rego, Jr., MEDB Director of Business Development, Vice Chairman of the HEC Program Committee, and  President of the Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce, employed a cultural and indigenous lens to focus on the dos and don’ts of developing energy projects in Hawaii. De Rego was joined by Carol-Marie Ka’onohi Lee, Po’o, ‘Aha Moku O Honua’ula Council; Suzanne Singer, Founder and Executive Director, Native Renewables; and Wren Wescoatt, Director of Development, Hawaii Longroad Energy.

De Rego observed, “The panelists agreed, cultural knowledge and community participation are key to implementing new energy projects, while conference attendees benefited from the cultural ‘ike (knowledge) shared.”

Lee said, “Developers contact me to learn the lay of the land about areas they want to develop. We work with the method of managing the land from mauka to makai because mauka affects the ocean. Developers need to understand basic native Hawaiian values, and historical and generational knowledge, to better serve the community.”

Singer explained, “The mainland and Hawaii have strong cultural ties to community and land, both vital to the development of renewable energy projects. The cultural knowledge and values of our indigenous Navajo and Hopi nations, many of whom are off the electric grid, is essential to discussions with developers about our economy and energy transition.”

Wescoatt added, “Building trust and respect within the context of equitable community development is vital. As a local representative in clean energy transition, my job is to help stakeholders understand the culture and values of the host community. A successful project here in Hawaii does not just produce clean energy, it needs to reflect and respect the values of the community.”

In order to build trust in renewable energy development, there has to be a sincere and pono two-way conversation.

Wren Wescoatt, Director of Development, Hawaii Longroad Energy

Maui Bees

Maui Bees

In 2008, Mark and Leah Damon, owners of Maui Bees Incorporated in Kula, combined their shared passion for bees and wholesome organically grown food to create a joint farming venture,  including a farm stand to offer their grown-on-Maui products. The Damons’ commitment to their honey is second to none. They have always insisted on keeping it pure and unfiltered by using a 100 percent cold process to ensure the honey stays below room temperature. Their seasonal honey is produced by worker bees that head out daily onto the slopes of Haleakala to forage for nectar and pollen.

“Twice a year we harvest our honey to produce two distinctive honey varieties,” Mark noted. “In the summer months, May-October, we gather nectar and pollen from abundant forests of Wilelaiki that grow on the leeward side of Haleakala. This timeline produces a mild amber honey. In the wintertime, December-April, the bees frequent tall stands of Eucalyptus that yield a deeper darker honey with mellow caramel undertones.”

Hidden deep inside every beehive, the sole queen bee lays about 2,000 eggs per day. Sometimes there are as many as 60,000 worker bees in a single hive. The queen can live from two to five years and in that time produce over a million workers. Nevertheless, prolific as they are, bees face a range of complex and interacting hazards.

Mark explained, “Today, beekeeping is confronted with the disappearance of bees due to a variety of threats including habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation; and the widespread use of pesticides in subsidized intensive farming. Beekeepers have become bee farmers. Without their work, the bee, despite its prodigious life force, may disappear from our communities through its sensitivity to toxins. The bee is a true natural indicator of the environment’s health.”

Recently, the Damons’ added a Bee Museum, an educational component of their farm. Visitors can watch bees safely behind the glass walls of two observation hives and learn all about the inner workings of a living bee-hive. The farm offers structured educational programs and regenerative agriculture tours for guests who want a more in-depth educational experience.

Our observation hives teach about pollination, bee jobs, and what is in the hive. Our compost and garden studies explain regenerative farming practices and how soil fertility produces our beautiful food.

Mark and Leah Damon, Maui Bees, Inc.
Governor Ariyoshi Ponders Hawaii’s Future

Governor Ariyoshi Ponders Hawaii’s Future

Nisei Veterans Memorial Center recently welcomed former Governor George Ariyoshi, Hawaii’s longest-serving governor, to its ‘Afternoon with the Author’ Zoom series. In Ariyoshi’s newest book, Hawaii’s Future, he talks about leadership on Maui, the importance of values, and how things we do now will have a great impact on the future. An American lawyer and politician, Ariyoshi served as the third governor of Hawaii from 1974 to 1986. He is the first American of Asian descent to serve as governor in any U.S. state.

Concerned about Hawaii’s future, Ariyoshi has spent many years pondering his latest book. It is an insightful guide for today’s leaders and residents to examine Hawaii’s past while asking readers to discover ways to create a better Hawaii. “There are many issues of concern,” he said. “For example, the oceans and our land need to be taken care of. Stewardship is key. The philosophy of agriculture and education are vital now. Plus, it is crucial to engage the community. Setting policies alone does not make a community good, it is reaching out and working with the people.”

As a three-term governor of the State of Hawaii, Ariyoshi set in motion a series of wide-ranging policies that became his legacy. He noted, “During my 13 years as Hawaii’s chief executive, I adopted responsible fiscal strategies, maintained progressive trade relations and steady tourism growth, optimized the development of ocean resources, worked on land preservation and conservation, and strengthened Hawaii’s presence in the Pacific”.

A firm believer in planning, Ariyoshi said his concerns for Hawaii have grown more urgent than ever. “When I was in office, state planning was an important part of the government agenda,” he emphasized. “It is important to pay attention now and ask the question, What about Hawaii’s future? I think we need to look ahead at what needs to be done. We must also consider climate change and homelessness issues in order for us to have a good Hawaii. Every person in the community should work together, participate and be useful to make our state great for our future generations.”

We are never too young or too old to care, participate, and contribute to our community.

Former Governor George Ariyoshi
Maui Rotarians Clean Ridge-to-Reef

Maui Rotarians Clean Ridge-to-Reef

Every year the Rotary Clubs in Hawaii have held ‘Rotarians-at-Work Day’ to coincide with the week of Earth Day. This year, Maui Rotarians, alongside community partners and volunteers, joined to pick up plastics and trash throughout the island. “Our goal was to pick up trash on the beaches, the shorelines, in parks and on trails,” said Dennis Bagshaw, President of Rotary Club Kihei Wailea. “We hope to continue to protect Maui’s natural beauty, marine life, and the health of residents and visitors from the damages of plastic pollution. Plastics threaten Hawaii’s water quality, vulnerable marine ecosystems and public spaces around the island.”

Eight Maui Rotary clubs engaged in the clean-up as part of the statewide Ridge-to Reef Clean-Up Day event. The plan was for Rotarians to partner and clean microplastics (pieces smaller than 5mm in size) from different areas around the island. For example, the Wailuku Rotary Club did a clean-up of the area adjacent to the Nisei Veterans Center, and the other clubs did their clean-ups.

Mariko Higashi, Assistant Governor Maui Coastal Rotary Clubs, explained, “Much of the litter we find on the beaches, trails and public spaces are plastic. Plastic of any size, particularly microplastic, is a health concern to both humans and animals alike. By not only collecting but also classifying the collected litter, we can better understand the source of the pollution, where the pollution is concentrated on our islands, and how we can best tackle this problem. The data will help advocate for policy and regulatory changes as has been done in the past such as with the banning of single use plastic bags at stores on Maui in 2011, and of smoking at beaches in Hawaii in 2015.”

Higashi added, “While clean-ups can help, it is also clear that we cannot recycle or clean-up our way out of the plastic pollution crisis. It will take sustained changes in our behavior, the products we purchase and the food we eat, to begin to correct this problem. The good news is we still have a chance to fix these problems, as we continue to explore ways to reduce or replace the plastic from our everyday lives.”

The Rotary motto, ‘Service Above Self’ keeps Maui club members involved in numerous projects throughout the year. Protecting the environment and growing the local economy are one of many areas of Rotary’s focus.

Dennis Bagshaw, President of Rotary Club Kihei Wailea
Adaptability Fund Assists Aloha House

Adaptability Fund Assists Aloha House

Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) is administering the Adaptability Fund, a program to help local small businesses recover and survive the impacts from COVID-19.  Funded by the federal CARES Act, and as proposed by the MauiCARES Task Force, the County has allocated five million dollars to the Fund. Businesses use the grants to modify operations and invest in technology infrastructure to expand virtual platforms, web-based marketing, and E-commerce.

According to Leslie Wilkins, MEDB President and CEO, “Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the mandatory closure of many Maui County businesses and visitor-industry activities, health and safety protocols have required costly investments by Maui County businesses to operate safely, re-tool operations, and expand customer markets. The Maui County Adaptability Fund was established to help our local businesses adapt to this new economic environment.”

Malia Bohlin, Aloha House Development Director, said, “With funds provided through the Adaptability Fund, administered by MEDB, our organization was able to address concerns due to physical and technical limitations. We set up socially-distanced workstations, so clients could log-in from our facility, and we improved our technical capabilities to provide better content. Our staff are thrilled with the new tools, and are better able to provide necessary programs with more engagement and progress for the clients. We have also retained many clients who previously may have had technical barriers to treatment via telehealth. Thanks to the Adaptability Fund, clients at Aloha House’s outpatient drug treatment program have been able to participate safely in group and individual treatment settings.”

Aloha House, founded in 1977 as a treatment program for individuals struggling with substance abuse, makes it possible for adults on Maui to change their lives and the lives of those closest to them. “We help participants rediscover their strengths, learn from their experiences and create new pathways forward in health and wellness,” Bohlin added. “Since its beginnings, the Aloha House mission has expanded to include comprehensive, person-centered behavioral health interventions for the prevention and treatment of individual substance abuse and other disorders. Our staff members are passionate about helping people achieve lasting recovery.”

We appreciate MEDB’s work with the County of Maui to quickly manage the application and award process during this critical time.

Malia Bohlin, Aloha House Development Director
New Maui EV Partnerships

New Maui EV Partnerships

Three new electric-vehicle (EV) fast-charging stations are now open to the public at the Queen Kaahumanu Center in Central Maui, Pi’ilani Village Shopping Center in South Maui and Lahaina Aquatic Center in West Maui. Owned and operated by Hawaiian Electric, the publicly accessible fast chargers offer a lower rate during daytime hours to encourage charging when solar energy is typically abundant.

Hawaiian Electric previously brought another fast-charging station online in August at the Pukalani Terrace Center in Upcountry Maui. These four completed sites were selected to cover a broad geographic driving range around the island. They previously accommodated charging infrastructure for the members-only EVohana program that was retired in July 2020.

“Thank you to our four partnering site owners and the EV drivers on the island for their continued support of our efforts to expand the public-charging options on Maui,” said Sharon Suzuki, president of Maui County and Hawaii Island Utilities. “Electrification of transportation is a major part of our goals to help reduce our state’s overall fuel consumption.”

The new fast-chargers can provide about 43 miles of additional range for a typical EV in 15 minutes. The fast-charger supports CHAdeMO, used by EVs like the Nissan Leaf and the Tesla with their proprietary adaptor, and CCS, used by American and European EVs like the BMW i3 and used as an option on the Chevrolet Bolt EV. Charging sessions can be initiated in several ways, including smartphone apps to credit cards.

Property owners who offer their sites for publicly accessible EV charging play a critical role in helping to increase the adoption of electric vehicles and use of renewable energy on the island. “My administration is committed  to furthering our community’s clean energy and clean transportation transformation,” said County of Maui Mayor Michael Victorino. “We will help meet our community’s need for dependable EV charging and encourage EV adoption.”

Ed Krampitz, Queen Kaahumanu Center management added, “We are excited to partner with Hawaiian Electric to add these new EV chargers. Shoppers can now receive a fast and reliable charge, while enjoying a variety of stores and restaurants at the Center.”

The EV Maui charging rate is $0.28 per kilowatt-hour between 9 am and 5 pm, $0.40 per kWh between 5 pm and 10 pm, and $0.38 per kWh between 10 pm and 9 am.

Sharon Suzuki, President of Maui County and Hawaii Island Utilities
MNHCoC Talk Story: Hālau Perseverance

MNHCoC Talk Story: Hālau Perseverance

The Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce (MNHCoC) presented a virtual talk-story session about Hālau Perseverance. MNHCoC’s mission is to promote and sustain Hawaiian culture, nurture a strong community of Hawaiian values, and enhance opportunities for success in business and education.

Hālau hula (hula instruction) was discussed by speakers Kumu Hula Kealiʻi Reichel and Kauʻi Kanaka’ole. They talked story about cultural nurturing and endurance from a traditional hālau perspective. Reichel, a world-class performer, best-selling recording artist, and multiple award-winning kumu hula, has been at the forefront of the revival of Hawai’ian culture. Kanaka‘ole is a kumu hula trained in the renowned Hālau o Kekuhi with more than 20 years of experience in cultural advocacy. She has 14 years of teaching experience, including 11 years at Hana School.

“Kanaka’ole and Reichel are not only talented and experienced kumu hula, but also successful business and cultural entrepreneurs,” observed Frank De Rego Jr., President of the MNHCoC. “They remind us that adaptability in times of tremendous stress and volatility must be rooted in the foundational vision and values of a business, focusing especially on the welfare of others and not oneself alone.”

Reichel noted, “In the wake of the inconceivable, such as a global pandemic like Covid-19, cultural education, language, dances and storytelling have long thrived in the hālau hula. The hālau has survived multiple disruptions throughout Hawai’i’s history including the deadly epidemics of 1848, being forced underground during the missionary era, World War II, and the advent of industrial tourism. Businesses can learn from the hālau’s traditional values, ethics and cultural passion to emerge whole after this pandemic, through life lessons, character building and responsibility.”

Kanaka’ole added, “The hālau’s mission encourages a deep appreciation of Hawaiian cultural arts, leadership and teamwork skills, and the preservation of our āina. From generation to generation we must encompass many aspects of the cultural lifestyle in a learning environment where creativity thrives with a particular focus on music and hula. Students in the hālau range from keiki to kupuna. They are taught all aspects of traditional Hawaiian values that motivate and inspire them and can be applied in any circumstance.”

Covid-19 gave us time for reflection to appreciate and be grateful for all that we have. Hālau perseverance helps us adapt and still retain what is important.

Kealiʻi Reichel, Award-winning Kumu Hula and Recording Artist
Growing Beauty, Love and Peace

Growing Beauty, Love and Peace

The Sacred Garden, an upcountry Maui treasure, is an extraordinarily peaceful experience. Operated by the nonprofit Divine Nature Alliance and free to the public, the Garden serves as a place of rejuvenation, education, and inspiration for the community. Upon entering, visitors find a two-level greenhouse environment with exquisite Hawai’ian flora and fauna, water lily ponds, sitting and picnic areas, plus two labyrinths for walking meditations. The unique greenhouse and gift shop, stocked full of locally made artwork, jewelry, books, healing stones, and special Maui gifts, offer numerous ideas for holiday shoppers.

“The Sacred Garden is really a service of aloha, said Maui author Eve Hogan, Sacred Garden founder and executive director. “Whether you delight in our heartwarming displays, marvel over our myriad plants, or if your visit is of a more personal nature—to meditate, pray, grieve or walk the labyrinths—you will leave the Sacred Garden more balanced and restored than when you entered.”

Hogan continued, “One of our missions is to provide a serene place in the beauty of raw nature where guests can close their eyes in silence and feel safe and secure. We feel strongly that alone time in nature heals, inspires, and rebalances. The Garden is a place where you can let down your guard and go inward, creating a world in which peace, respect, and compassion are the norm.”

The Sacred Garden labyrinths are integral to the service that the garden provides. As a walking path of peace and contemplation, the labyrinths provide a place for introspection, prayer, gaining new perspectives and releasing stress. “When one understands that we walk the labyrinth  to learn about ourselves, it becomes a rich field of self-discovery,” Hogan explained. “The language of the labyrinth is metaphor, and thus everything you experience or notice on the labyrinth can shine light on something you are invited to look at in your life off the labyrinth.”

Sacred Garden horticulturist Catherine Vangstad said, “When I think of the Sacred Garden I think of a safe place, a sanctuary for the community. It brings me great joy to be part of something so special.”

The Sacred Garden supports people in making the decision to care for themselves, each other, and the planet we live on.

Eve Hogan, The Sacred Garden, Founder and Executive Director