Maui Discussion

Ask the Mayor: Who Would I Submit a New License Plate Design To?

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Hawaii license plate. Maui Now photo.

Hawaiʻi license plate. Maui Now photo.

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.


Q: I would love to submit a new license plate design for Hawaiian plates to replace the current rainbow design. Hawaiʻi is a place of rich tradition and beauty and I would love to find a way to combine those two in a visually appealing way. Please let me know who I should reach out to, to submit my idea(s). Thank you for your time and help.


A: The state-issued plates will probably not be redesigned for a long time. Our Hawaii license plates are designed and overseen by the State, and although the current rainbow design has been in use since 1991, there have not been any discussions about replacing the design. According to our Maui County DMVL office, the current number combinations are still far from expiring, which would be the determining factor in when a redesign should occur. It should also be noted that a future redesign will cost the state a pretty penny, and any time the plate is redesigned/renumbered, all the vanity plates are reset as well. The design is mandated by Hawaii Revised Statutes, which specify that the plates must (1) Bear the word “Hawaii” along the upper portion of the plate and the words “Aloha State” along the lower portion of the plate; (2) Have a distinct contrast between the color of the plate and the numerals and letters thereon; and (3) Be of such shape, size, and color, and with such arrangements of letters and numbers as may, subject to sections 249-1 to 249-13, be determined by the directors of finance of each county through majority consent. So the only elements that Maui County has control over are the numbers and letters, not the design.

Want to Ask the Mayor?

Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email at [email protected], by phone at 270-7855 or by mail to 200 S. High St., 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the Ask the Mayor column.


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