Our Islands, Our Future

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Focus Maui Nui?

Focus Maui Nui is a community process seeking the input of local citizens in a discussion about what residents want for the future of our islands (Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and Kahoolawe) which together make up Maui Nui and Maui County.

The project is designed to bring individuals, organizations, and communities throughout the county together to identify and prioritize shared values and to send clear messages to local leaders about what we want for our islands, our communities, and our future.

What is the goal of this project?

The ultimate goal of Focus Maui Nui is twofold:

  1. To create one cohesive vision for the future, based on the priorities and values of everyday residents countywide on jobs, the environment, education, housing, and more.
  2. To hold leaders in government, business, and the community accountable to this vision, creating a tangible link between residents’ hopes and dreams and the decisions that are made about the future of our islands.
Why do we need a visioning process?

The critical challenges of growth and change have created the need for action on the part of all of us who consider Maui, Molokai, and Lanai home. We as citizens must all be involved shaping the future of our county. Repeatedly, residents have said they want to ensure that leaders listen to, and act on, the will of the people. Maui Nui needs a shared vision to improve prospects for the future and increase accountability for getting there.

How does this project affect me?

Findings from Focus Maui Nui will influence many aspects of life on our islands. From major employers to small community-based organizations to candidates for public office, a cross-section of influential people and organizations will commit to incorporating the priorities and values of this project into their decisions and activities. These actions and decisions affect our lives in many ways. Within the county government, the project’s findings will be applied to the upcoming Maui County General Plan and help update the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), while also influencing strategic planning and community relations efforts of private organizations and businesses.

After the findings are done, how will we know that our community and its leaders are working on achieving the shared vision?

Progress will be reviewed and shared at least annually with our residents to highlight what’s been done and to challenge leaders to refer to the community values. So Focus Maui Nui is expected to have ongoing impact on programs, services, policy, and engaging our community.

Who is behind this project?

Focus Maui Nui is fueled by the participation of hundreds of everyday residents throughout Maui County. A work team of 25 community leaders are guiding the project including representatives of education, the arts, health, housing, native Hawaiian culture, small business, agriculture, tourism, government, technology, and more. The process is being led by Maui Economic Development Board, in partnership with the County of Maui and Maui Chamber of Commerce.

Haven’t there been other visioning processes here in the past? What’s special about this one?

Many past planning processes have helped us understand our community better, but some have been limited in their focus, examining only one or two major themes – such as land use, government services, or economic development – without looking at the whole range of issues and players that affect our shared future. Some projects also have not reached deeply into the community to ensure the diversity of opinions that truly represent our citizens. Others have had difficulty showing the precise outcomes residents want or maintaining the momentum necessary to accomplish real change.

Focus Maui Nui builds upon the worthy efforts of prior visioning projects, while bringing a fresh, broad-based approach to the question of what Maui County should be in the years to come. It invites the input of people from all walks of life and every region of our islands, while taking deliberate measures to ensure participants are able to articulate specific results they’re seeking and expectations they have for our leaders. This process also has extensive plans to ensure accountability and continuity. Once a common vision has been agreed upon, it will be revisited every year, as citizens and leaders in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors together monitor the actions taken to make the ideas a reality.

What’s involved in participating?

When running a Focus Maui Nui project, representatives hold small group forums in community centers, schools, churches, clinics – even in residents’ own homes. These meetings take place in towns and communities throughout the county, from Hana to Lanai and Maunaloa to Makena. In groups, often of 10-15, participants are led by a trained facilitator in a comfortable environment through a series of discussions and exercises to identify their commonly held values, priorities for action, and important messages for leaders and the community at large. Information gathered at these forums will be compiled and analyzed, resulting in a shared vision for the future of Maui Nui. Town hall meetings to confirm the vision and gather further community input will be held in the fall.