Maui Food and Dining

Huihui restaurant at Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel supporting efforts to reduce invasive deer

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Molokaʻi Venison Poke. Credit: Huihui at Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel

A unique partnership between the Huihui restaurant on Maui and Molokaʻi Wildlife Management supports efforts to reduce the invasive deer population on the island.

Huihui chef Tom Muromoto’s thoughtfully crafted menu sources deer from the neighboring rural island for dishes that include the Molokaʻi venison burger, and Molokaʻi venison poke.

Those on Maui and Molokaʻi are aware of the overabundance of axis deer, an invasive species to the islands, which is why restaurants across the state (and beyond) are serving local venison dishes more frequently to maintain them as a food source and manage their population in order to protect the rare and vital ecosystems unique to Hawaiʻi.

The restaurant places an emphasis on sustainability and working with Molokaʻi Wildlife Management has been an important aspect of their ongoing initiatives, as it curbs the exorbitant population of axis deer on the island. In doing so, it is supporting the community and commerce on Molokaʻi, while helping to protect its endangered ecosystem.

Molokaʻi Venison Burger. Credit: Huihui at Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel

First introduced to the islands in the 1860s, tens of thousands of deer are now running rampant in the islands, according to  Modern Farmer. The publication reports that with no predators on the island, the deer are eating their own food supply faster than more can grow. This poses a problem for native plants and local crops, as deer take food sources away from other animals, and pose a threat to motorists.

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New aerial footage of Molokaʻi shows just how extensive the axis deer population has gotten on the Friendly Isle, and the threats that it is posing to agriculture and forested lands there. 

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In addition, when the deer devour fruits, vegetables and other plants, it leads to erosion and runoff into the ocean that alters the island’s coral reef — another important food source.

Drought on Molokaʻi has exacerbated the problem leaving hundreds of deer dead from starvation, and stretching the island’s limited resources.

*The Huihui oceanfront restaurant opened as part of Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel’s $75 million property-wide renovation.

Huihui, Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel’s new signature restaurant. PC: Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel

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