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Opinion pieces, analyses and letters are intended to provide a diverse range of views from our community. They are not intended to represent the views of Maui Now.

Ask the Mayor: The History Behind the “Baby Beaches”

The mayor answers questions from the public in this series.

By Mayor Alan Arakawa

A commercial Cessna craft was moved to an empty lot near the Wailea Fire Station following an emergency landing on the Piʻilani Highway on Monday night. File photo by Wendy Osher.

The empty lot near the Wailea Fire Station where the LEGO-style barriers now reside. This is a file photo from the emergency landing on the Piʻilani Highway; the plane was moved to this area. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Q: I am curious about the Lego-style barriers on the corner of Piilani Hiway (sic) and Kilohana Rd., by the Wailea Fire Station. These cement barriers have been there for quite some time, but have now been painted a forest green color and have little yellow reflectors on them! What are they?

A. Those LEGO type blocks as you describe it are concrete barriers placed there by the Department of Parks and Recreation, to keep people from dumping illegally on parks property. For a while now people were using that corner of Piilani and Kilohana as a dumping ground. The area is a parcel of land was obtained by the county many years ago and originally was to be the site of a park, police and fire station.

Although a fire station was built, the rest is undeveloped park property. Over the years the county has received numerous complaints about the area being used as a dumping grounds for construction materials, dirt and etc. Also people would park heavy equipment in the area creating dust and diesel fumes drifting into the condos across the street.

The barriers were put up sometime ago to keep vehicles out of the area and to prevent illegal dumping and other activities. As far as the color goes, I haven’t been able to confirm this but from what I understand either parks or a community group had the barriers painted green to cover up the graffiti to make it more visually pleasing.

Q: I frequent Baby Beach in Spreckelsville but have gotten confused when people also refer to another baby beach next to the Paia Youth and Cultural Center. Are there two beach parks with the same name in Paia and Spreckelsville?

Spreckelsville, "Baby Beach", file photo by Wendy Osher.

Spreckelsville, “Baby Beach.” File photo by Wendy Osher.

A: Actually, the beach park you are referring to next to the Paia Youth and Cultural Center, the one with the basketball courts, is officially listed as the “Lower Paia Park” on our county property tax maps. But for many decades and to this day, long-time residents refer to that park as “Baby Park.” This was because it was viewed as the “baby brother” to the much larger H.P. Baldwin Park right up the street along Hana Highway.

The confusion began later, after newer residents began frequenting a particular beach in Spreckelsvile located at the end of Baldwin Beach and nicknamed it “Baby Beach,” because it was protected by a reef and perfect for infants and young children to go swimming. So to answer your question, yes, there is a “Baby Beach” in Spreckelsville and a “Baby Park” in Paia, even though neither are official names for either areas.

Q: I read one of your answers to “Ask the Mayor” in today’s paper regarding the plans for the North/South connector road. I got deeper involved than I should have but found some rather interesting and puzzling street misnomers involving the very street that might the future N/S connector road.

The problem the way I see it is the confusing naming of a number of streets but all named “E. Welakahao Rd.” It might be purely a Google mistake but the mistake rubbed off to some county maps as well. The “main” E. Welakahao Rd. runs from Piilani Hwy. to S. Kihei Road and becomes S. Welakahao Rd to the end at the beach. No problem there but if you look at the Google map, the road leading off E.Welakahao at the HOPE Chapel and heading south is also named E. Welakahao Rd. Further down that road is another short road leading east of that road and is also labeled E. Welakahao Rd. and ends at the Piillani Hwy. Furthermore, the road from Piilani Hwy. to the Maui Water treatment plant is also labeled E. Welakahao Rd. This mistake might have been around for a long time and had never bothered anyone but I thought I bring it to your attention.

A. You are correct, our Department of Public Works says Google Maps has misnamed some streets in that area of Kihei. Not only that, but Google Maps also seems to have gotten the boundaries of South Maui Regional Park wrong as well. We will look into this and make any necessary corrections. Mahalo for taking the time to research this and point this out. Members of the public who might notice other discrepancies with Google Maps can click on the “Report a problem” link near the bottom, right-hand corner of any Google Map.

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  • The Truth

    Mayor, my question is about your position regarding how the sovereignty of the Hawaiian Kingdom remains in tact and the illegal u.s. occupation continues and you work for them. Do you at all care that you doing so constitutes war crimes against the Hawaiian Nation? What if anything do you intent to do to help the people of Hawaii regain their rightful government? Do you work with the current Hawaiian government in any way?

    • Wellington Mot

      You can have your reinstated government but they are keeping the land.

    • Maui_Mike

      The only hawaiian government to ever exist had either a king or queen in charge, so it was more of a dictatorship, in that scenerio many had no voice and very few owned land aside from royalty, I suspect if Hawaiians went back to that they would not find it pleasant.
      It is strange how this even matters, they take government help that a new one could never give them, with all that is invested the USA will never give up it’s claims I’m sure, and if they did things would turn to third world living quickly, be careful what you ask for, you might just get it!
      I feel it is more important to advance the culture and keep it alive and well than to restore the monarchy where most would be mere subjects left to fend for themselves in a way they never thought of.

      • Huli Opu

        Maui Mike I really wish you would stop being ignorant. You are not from here nor do you live here yet you feel the need to pontificate on every subject concerning Hawai`i.

        You are wrong about a “dictatorship”. Hawai`i had a constitutional monarchy that had a sitting house of representatives who were the voice of kanaka maoli and makaainana. It was established in 1840. Please research your history before you keep embarrassing yourself..

        • Truthbeknown

          In Hawaiian ideology, one does not “own” the land, but merely dwells on it. The Hawaiian mentality is that, the land is immortal (in the sense that it doesn’t go away), and gods are immortal, therefore the land must be godly, and since man isn’t immortal, man isn’t godly, so how can something ungodly control something that is. The Hawaiians thought that all land belonged to the gods (akua).

          The aliʻi were believed to be “managers” of land. That is, they controlled those who worked on the land, the makaʻāinana.

          On the death of one chief and the accession of another, lands were re-apportioned—some of the previous “manager” would lose their lands, and others would gain them. Lands were also re-apportioned when one chief defeated another, and re-distributed the conquered lands as rewards to his warriors.

          In practice, commoners had some security against capricious re-possession of their houses and farms. They were usually left in place, to pay tribute and supply labor to a new chief, under the supervision of a new konohiki, or overseer.

          This system of land tenure is similar to the feudal system prevalent in Europe during the Middle Ages.

          The ancient Hawaiians had the ahupua’a as their source of water management. Each of the ahupua’as had a sub-division of land from the mountain to the sea. The Hawaiians used the water from the rain that ran through the mountains as a form of irrigation. Hawaiians also settled around these parts of the land because of the farming that was done.

          • Maui_Mike

            Very informative, mahalo for the clarification, the history of these islands fascinates me, I appreciate you sharing your knowledge, I read a lot about it, I find that it is often interpreted differently depending on whom is telling the stories, all are interesting though.

        • Maui_Mike

          I sincerely apologize if I misinterpreted the history of what was a theocracy not so much of a dictatorship, I meant no offense, I do however live and pay taxes here on Maui, I’m not sure how you came to a different conclusion, but that is unimportant to me….. Again though, I’m sorry if my statement was taken as offensive, I have nothing but the utmost respect and reverence for the native Hawaiians and culture.
          Aloha.

      • Shaddap

        Dude, your mouth engages before your brain.You know virtually nothing about Hawaiian history and what you think you know, you learned from history books written by American occupiers. Not very credible or unbiased sources. Did you also read that Hawai‘i was “peacefully annexed”in 1889?

        • Maui_Mike

          You are right, I spoke in haste, I will refrain from speaking on that subject without being sure, we all make mistakes. I have been told a lot of these things by native Hawaiian friends, I know when talking story things can get a bit rearranged to say the least…but I assure you I am well educated on the illegal overthrow.
          I apologize for my ignorance, please forgive my stupidity.
          Aloha

          • KokoKele

            Don’t feel too beat up, Maui_Mike. The history of Hawaii following the brutal conquest by Kamehameha is pretty complex. The 1840 constitution established a constitutional monarchy that included executive, legislative and judicial branches of the government. At that time the so-called Mahele divided the land between the Crown, the chiefs and the population. It wasn’t a bad idea, but very little land was actually claimed by the commoners before the legislative branch passed the Alien Land Ownership act (1850, I believe) which allowed foreigners to buy land that was set aside for the populace. With the purchase of the land came wealth and power for non-natives. The legislature mistakenly believed the sale of the land would increase the wealth of the nation, apparently without considering the consequences. To make a long, complicated story short, the non-Native agriculturalists eventually became dissatisfied with the monarchy, meddled excessively with the government, and ultimately overthrew the monarchy and created the Republic of Hawaii in its place. There’s no way to believe the Republic was benevolent toward the Native population. Although they didn’t directly exclude Hawaiians from participation, they severely limited native participation by requiring land and income requirements that were difficult to meet. Remember, less than 50 years prior to the overthrow the concept of private land ownership was foreign to the Native population. America was not initially interested in annexing Hawaii; the President was a friend of the Queen and even tried to reverse the overthrow. The Republic held, though, and after a new U.S. President was elected and the Spanish American War began, it became advantageous for the United States to enter into an annexation treaty with the Republic of Hawaii, annex Hawaii, and ultimately admit Hawaii as a state. Those who claim Hawaii is illegally occupied frequently point to the annexation treaty as an illegal document due to the political process used to accept and ratify it. Legal challenges have been few and ineffectual. Many Hawaiians believe they got the short end of the stick, and it’s hard to argue with that point. This is why a large number of programs exist to bring equity to the Hawaiian people, and why the government recently attempted to establish a government-to-government relationship. It’s very unlikely that the United States will admit to an illegal occupation or “give Hawaii back.” It is very likely that the U.S. is absolutely within its rights. The overthrow of the monarchy was not tidy and not fair, but it was effective. The United States dealt with an established government – recognized globally as such – when it entered into a treaty of annexation. Challenges to the statehood of Hawaii will probably continue for generations. The important thing to remember is that no one living today committed the acts of either party, so we need to live with aloha while we sort things out.

          • KokoKele

            And none of this has anything to do with the topics of the Ask the Mayor column!

          • Maui_Mike

            Yes, strayed way off topic!…..that happens a lot in this forum.

  • KokoKele

    When a non-Native moves to Hawaii and first notices the anger and aggressiveness of the “de-occupy Hawaii” activists, it can be alarming and even feel threatening, particularly if you own property here. People are trying to tell you that you don’t belong here and that a government based on racial identity should replace the existing government. It’s pretty easy to bristle when the anti-American sentiment starts to flow, and it’s pretty easy to get into an argument. It’s also easy for folks on either side of the argument to become irrational, making unsubstantiated statements and letting their emotions run too hot. I’ve learned that, in essence, it’s not my circus, not my monkeys. As long as the people living in Hawaii remain civil to one another I can live here quite happily and give no thought to the matter. I’ve done a fair amount of reading of Hawaii history so I can figure out what so many people are talking about, or are even angry about. But I realize that any successful change of government would be complicated, time-consuming, and handled at a level that I have no influence over. I’ve played the “fight the war in the editorial column” game, and realized that it’s just a meaningless exercise. Your policy of listening and learning is excellent. It’s amazing how you can make friends just by hanging out with people, even if they disagree with you in some respects. So, Maui_Mike, I say we should enjoy this beautiful place, dig all the cool people, and live our lives in the most fulfilling and meaningful way we can. You never know what’s coming in the next moment, so let’s make the most of the moments we have! Aloha!

    • Maui_Mike

      You are very wise, I have learned some of these things as well, when I was the new kid from the mainland at Lahainaluna it was an eye opening experience, but one of my first true friends was a native Hawaiian who took me under his wing and made my life much better….I otherwise would of hated school if not for his help and acceptance, we are friends to this day.
      I appreciate you taking the time to offer your words of wisdom, stay good!

  • wai

    I wish newcomers would stop coming up with convenient names for places that already have names. Lots of times its because they can’t pronounce or are too lazy to call it by its real name. Places are given names for specific reasons, and the more you change them, the more we lose the history and culture associated with those locations.

    • Maui_Mike

      You make a good point….I personally like the historical Hawaiian names better.


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