Maui News

Maui Nui Ahupuaʻa signage project installs first Kula Uka sign in the Moku ʻO Kula

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A blessing attended by a small group of project stakeholders and Upcountry residents preceded the installation of the first Maui Nui Ahupua‘a Project sign in Kula Uka, the Upcountry area in the Moku ʻO Kula, on Sept. 6, 2022. PC: Maui Food Technology Center.
Vernon Kalanikau unveils the first Maui Nui Ahupua‘a Project sign in Kula Uka during a blessing and installation event on Sept. 6. PC: Maui Food Technology Center.

A blessing and installation of the first Maui Nui Ahupua‘a Project sign in the Kula Uka was held on Sept. 6, 2022. The first sign, located on the northern boundary of the ‘A‘apueo Ahupua‘a at the corner of Kula Highway and ‘A‘apueo Parkway in Pukalani, is one of 34 signs that will be installed this year.

Since the summer of 2019, Maui Nui Ahupua‘a Project’s project coordinator/designer Vernon Kalanikau has been working with the Upcountry community to gather moʻolelo (stories, legend, history) to help design signs representing each of the 17 ahupua‘a in Kula Uka in the Upcountry area in the Moku ʻO Kula. 

Two signs will be installed on the boundaries for each ahupua‘a on various County roads.

The first sign installed in Kula Uka pictures the Pueo one of the native species associated with the ‘A‘apueo Ahupua‘a. PC: Maui Food Technology Center.

“We extend a big mahalo to the Kula Community Association, Pukalani Community Association, Waiohuli and Keokea Hawaiian Homestead Associations, Upcountry residents and  project stakeholders who provided their feedback on the flora, fauna and colors that represent these ahupuaʻa,” said Kalanikau. “Each ahupua‘a is unique and the community’s feedback was invaluable in helping to shape the design and location of these signs.”

Councilmember Yuki Lei Sugimura said, “I was born and raised on Maui and have seen many changes to our island and our community through the years. What has kept me as well as many of other residents connected to the islands is our culture. Educational efforts like this Maui Nui Ahupua‘a Signage Project reminds us of our roots ­and the importance of passing on stories about our islands’ history and unique sense of place to future generations.”

“This signage project will help to re-educate our community and those that are not aware of the significance and boundaries of where our island’s ahupua‘a and moku districts are situated,” said Hōkūao Pellegrino of Noho‘ana Farm in Waikapū. “The work that Vernon and Luana Mahi (of MFTC) are doing with this project, reaching out to our community to gather moʻolelo and insights is critical. Not just to us as kanaka and kupa of this mokupuni of Maui, but also for the next generation and those that now call Maui their home, who have the important responsibility of learning about this place.”


This Kula Uka signage project was supported by Councilmember Sugimura and a cultural heritage grant from the County of Maui Office of Economic Development. Maui Food Technology Center assists Kalanikau with the administrative work, community outreach and marketing for the project.

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