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Maui Nui Ahupuaʻa Project Installs First Moku ʻO Wailuku Sign at UHMC

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A small group of community stakeholders, government officials, and members of the project team participated in the signage blessing and installation on Dec. 21.
Photo by: Linn Nishikawa

This week, the Maui Nui Ahupua‘a Project installed their first sign in the Moku ʻO Wailuku on the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College campus. 

The Maui Nui Ahupua‘a Project was created to bring awareness and revitalize the traditional Hawaiian ahupuaʻa names within each moku in Maui County.

Since November 2019, Project Coordinator/Designer Vernon Kalanikau has been working on the Moku ʻO Wailuku project with community stakeholders, Hawaiian cultural practitioners, kumu and people from their respective ahupuaʻa to review land divisions, boundaries and to gather moʻolelo (stories, legend, history). Their manaʻo (thoughts, ideas) helped shape the vision for the signage designs and locations.


The new ahupuaʻa signs will be installed on various County roads within the Moku ʻO Wailuku; which is comprised of Wailuku and Kahului areas, including near Spreckelsville and Maui Veterans Highway (formerly known as Mokulele Highway).

The project was supported by Council Members Tasha Kama and Alice Lee through a Kahului and Wailuku Economic Development, Environmental and Cultural Programs Fund. Maui Food Technology Center assists Kalanikau with the administrative work, community outreach and marketing for the project.

“These signs will help people to reimagine what it was like to live in these ahupuaʻa over 100 years ago,” said Council Member Tasha Kama. “Our hope is that through community-based programs like these we can continue to educate our local people about their history, their roots, and to continue to pass on these cherished stories to future generations.”


The first ahupua‘a signage project, Kula Kai (Kihei area in the Moku ʻO Kula), was completed in October 2019. Signs for the Moku ʻO Wailuku (Central Maui area) are now being installed. Kalanikau is also working with the community on the signage for Kula Uka (Upcountry area in the Moku ʻO Kula).

According to Kalanikau, “These place names are important. It’s part of our Hawaiian heritage and culture. We extend a big mahalo to everyone involved in this project and we look forward to continuing the conversation moving forward.”

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