Nā Mamo, Maui County and Hawai‘i Land Trust preserve land at Honokōhau Bay
Nā Mamo Aloha ‘Āina o Honokōhau, a Honokōhau-based nonprofit organization, in partnership with the County of Maui and Hawai‘i Land Trust, has completed the purchase of 1.447 acres on Honokōhau Bay in Kā‘anapali, Maui. The parcel is now permanently protected for cultural enrichment, stewardship, ‘āina-based education, and traditional agriculture.
The County of Maui Open Space Program contributed nearly $750,000 toward the purchase, and community members donated numerous hours of in-kind services.
Hawai‘i Land Trust, a 501(c)3 statewide nonprofit that protects, stewards, and connects people to the lands that sustain Hawaiʻi, stepped into the project manager role, assisting in securing the County grant and facilitating the closing process.
Once granted to the ali‘i Moses Kekuāiwa during Hawai‘i’s hybridized land tenure system of the 1848 Māhele, it was an abundant landscape with wetland taro terraces, mountain ridges of pili grass, and a ‘bay of plenty’ full of fish and limu. Over the years, the property changed hands and later became a neglected mansion on the beach, according to a news release announcement.
Nā Mamo plans to transform the land through culture-based education, growing ‘ai pono (healthy food), and furthering connection within the ahupua‘a.
Following the Lahaina wildfires, Nā Mamo and Maui’s Hawaiian-language immersion schools provided hands-on ‘āina-based lessons to preschool-12 th grade students at Honokōhau. This acquisition provides the West Maui and greater community a rare space to connect to ʻāina, heal, and uplift one another.
“Like our community, this land has been through so much,” said Karyn Kanekoa, Secretary of the Nā Mamo Board of Directors. “As we feed and heal the land, the land will feed and heal us. Mahalo piha to the County and HILT for their guidance and unwavering support. We never dreamed this would ever happen in our lifetime. This labor of love shouldered by our community is truly captured by the ‘ōlelo no’eau, ‘Kano ke kihi po‘ohiwi o Honokōhau – The people of Honokōhau, Maui, were said to be hard workers.’”
“The history and cultural value of this ʻāina will live on through stewardship that will benefit our future generations,” said Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen. “We are pleased to be a part of an important acquisition that has involved many others and look forward to the inspiration its restoration will give our people. As our ʻāina thrives, so will our community. We are grateful for the hard work, contributions and support from all those who have played a part in bringing us to this great occasion.”
“I am so grateful to have been able to contribute to the purchase of this ‘a(kahako)ina. It is such an opportunity for our community and especially our keiki to be able to participate in this type of meaningful restoration and stewardship instead of seeing more private commercial development. From the moment the community became aware of this land going up for sale, I received numerous calls to help with the acquisition of this parcel for community stewardship and I am so happy that we were able to realize the communities’ vision,” said Maui County Council Member Tamara Paltin.
“When we commit to building and uplifting communities of resilience, it is truly a benefit for all. Partnerships with the community of place are integral to HILT’s commitment to protect places in perpetuity because it is they who hold a generational kuleana (both privilege and responsibility) to care for that place,” said Shae Kamaka‘ala, HILT’s Director of ‘Āina Protection.