Victorino Seeks to Acquire Wai‘ale Lands for Historic Cultural Preserve
Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino is proposing to acquire approximately 545 acres in the Wai‘ale area of Wailuku for a historic cultural preserve.
The county is negotiating the purchase from A&B Properties by amending authorization of county bonds to include the acquisition.
The original intended purpose was to build attainable housing and affordable rental units for Maui’s working families; however groups, including Mālama Kakanilua, were critical of the proposed development plan because of historic Hawaiian burials in the area.
The principal archaeologist for the County of Maui, Janet Six, recommended reconsidering the intended use after confirming the evidentiary findings of ancestral remains on the property.
Mayor Victorino said the shift will not deter the county from acquiring other lands to develop attainable housing for Maui’s working people.
“After listening to the community, I’ve concluded the best use for this ‘aina (land) is to dedicate it to the preservation and perpetuation of its cultural significance,” said Mayor Victorino. “I’ve since asked members of Mālama Kakanilua to lead a working group to advise the County on appropriate land uses for the benefit our community.”
Clare H. Apana, president of Mālama Kakanilua said, “I want to thank Mayor Victorino for doing the right thing after learning about the concentration of burials in the area as evidenced by historic records. Our plan calls for restoring the land to native dryland forest, as it was prior to the introduction of invasive kiawe trees. We also plan to re-establish traditional cultural plants, including specific trees to honor the ancient warriors who fell in battles in the area.”