Maui Food and Dining

Restaurant Group Nā Hoaloha ‘Ekolu Recognized by Adopt-A-Highway Program

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Kawika Freitas, director of public and cultural relations for Nā Hoaloha `Ekolu, receives the No Ka Oi Highway Hui Award in recognition of the restaurant group’s long-time dedication to the Adopt-A-Highway program.

The owners of Old Lāhainā Lūʻau, Star Noodle, Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop, and Aloha Mixed Plate were commended by the Department of Transportation’s Highways Division for their employees’ impressive and sustained volunteerism for Maui’s environment.

Maui restaurant group Nā Hoaloha ʻEkolu received the Nō Ka ʻOi Highway Hui Award from the State of Hawaiʻi, Department of Transportation, Highways Division – Maui District (HWY-M), in recognition of their long-time participation in HWY-M’s Adopt-A-Highway program.

Administrators say the group has consistently provided large number of volunteers who helped pick up trash along a two-mile stretch of the Honoapiʻilani Highway in Olowalu, near Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop.


“Nā Hoaloha ʻEkolu has been a great partner in Adopt-A-Highway since they first signed up for the program around 1993, typically organizing 30 to 50 volunteers to help at each of their cleanup events,” said Ty Fukuroku, program manager, Environmental Management, HWY-M. “By removing litter and other pollutants from our environment, Adopt-A-Highway partners do a tremendous amount of good for Maui and its ecosystems. We’re very pleased to honor them for their ongoing contributions.”

Kawika Freitas, director of public and cultural relations for Nā Hoaloha ʻEkolu, said participation in community programs like Adopt-A-Highway is an expression of the group’s Hawaiian values, including “poʻokela, which is excellence; aloha, which is love and love for the land and mālama ʻāina, as well as hoʻokipa, which is hospitality.”

“We do this regularly to get involved with the community and the employees really look forward to these events,” he said.


In November and December, Nā Hoaloha ʻEkolu reopened three of its popular local outlets – Star Noodle, now located on Front Street near the Lahaina Cannery Mall; Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop in Olowalu; and Old Lāhainā Lūʻau – with COVID-19 safety protocols in place.

Due to the pandemic, Adopt-A-Highway cleanup events have been temporarily suspended and will resume after the public health situation has improved. Normally, participants in the public service program commit to adopting a two-mile portion of a state highway for a minimum of two years, pick up litter on their section of the highway at least four times per year, and undergo safety training before each cleanup event.

The quarterly Nō Ka ʻOi Highway Hui Award recognizes and celebrates groups that have continually met and/or exceeded the requirements of the Adopt-A-Highway program.


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