Name Change From ʻĪao Stream to Wailuku River Surfaces for Review

May 27, 2015, 12:52 AM HST · Updated May 28, 3:03 AM
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John Duey hugs family members in quiet celebration above the newly released water flow at Kepaniwai. Photo by Wendy Osher.

John Duey, who introduced the resolution is pictured here (in the green aloha shirt and hat) hugging family members in quiet celebration during the October release of water at Kepaniwai. File photo by Wendy Osher.

By Maui Now Staff

The State Office of Planning will hold a meeting of the Hawaiʻi Board on Geographic Names tonight, Wednesday, May 27, to solicit public input on a request to change the name of ʻĪao Stream to Wailuku River.

Last month, the council adopted a resolution urging the board to rename the river citing repeated references in Supreme Court and Kingdom of Hawaiʻi documents, as well as 19th century maps.

With water flowing again into the river, the resolution seeks to “properly restore the river’s name,” according to wording in the document.

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The resolution notes that the Supreme Court of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi made repeated references to the river as the “Wailuku River,” as noted in the case of Peck v. Bailey in 1867.

The document also states that 19th century maps of the Wailuku Plantation and Spreckelsville Plantation designate the river as the “Wailuku River.” Another report for the State Department of Land and Natural Resources, prepared by Sara B. Cole in 1969, cites the river as the “Wailuku River” as well.

Books that make reference to the waterway as the “Wailuku River” include: Legends of Maui, a Demi-God of Polynesia and of his Mother Hina, by WD Westervelt; and Wailuku Sugar Company Centennial, November 1862-1962: A Century of Progress in Sugar Cane Cultivation, by Alvin K. Silva.

The resolution was introduced by resident John Duey, and was adopted by the council on April 7, 2015.

If time permits, the Board may make a decision on the request at the meeting, which will run from 6 to 8 p.m. at the J Walter Cameron Center auditorium in Wailuku.

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