Maui Arts & Entertainment

‘Chinese in Agriculture’ exhibit celebrates legacy at Maui AgFest & 4-H Livestock Fair 2024

Listen to this Article
4 minutes
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00

Chinese in Agriculture’ Exhibit Celebrates Legacy at Maui AgFest & 4-H Livestock Fair 2024. PC: courtesy Maui AgFest

The Maui AgFest & 4-H Livestock Fair takes place today, Saturday, June 1, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at War Memorial Special Events Field. 

This year at AgFest, Maui County Farm Bureau (MCFB) honors the legacy of “Chinese in Agriculture on Maui.” The Wo Hing Society presents this free special exhibit from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., outlining the history and lasting impact of Chinese immigrants and settlers. The Wo Hing Society Hall stood in historic Lahaina Town as a symbol of Chinese culture for more than a century before it was destroyed in the fires.

MCFB is honored to have Dr. Busaba Yip Douglas, longtime Wo Hing cultural advisor and docent, present at the AgFest exhibit from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. As Dr. Yip points out in her work, “Chinese People in Hawai‘i and the Wo Hing Society,” Chinese immigrants brought and cultivated many plants and added their wisdom and strength to the fabric of Hawaiian society, even teaching the Americans and Europeans how to make sugar “as they had been producing sugar in their homeland for thousands of years.” Hundreds of Chinese risked their lives to help build the irrigation system of bridges and tunnels through the mountains to bring water to the sugarcane fields.

Chinese in Agriculture’ Exhibit Celebrates Legacy at Maui AgFest & 4-H Livestock Fair 2024. PC: Maui AgFest

Also at the exhibit, Only Ono BBQ will give a cooking demonstration titled “How to Cook Common Chinese Vegetables,” with tasty samples of garlic chive dumpling and baby bok choy for attendees. Chef Keith “Pono” Apana was born in Wailuku with Chinese-Hawaiian-Japanese heritage. He opened Only Ono BBQ in Pā‘ia in 2016, and the restaurant has gained a reputation for its dim sum, roast pork, roast duck and other savory meats, recently listed on’s “The 21 Essential Maui Restaurants,” and available only by special order on weekends. Chef Pono’s cooking demo is free, offered at 10:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. Members of Chef Hui—a group of cooks, food providers and volunteers who cooked thousands of meals for those who lost their homes in last year’s fires—will be on hand to assist.

To honor and remember our island’s agricultural past, MCFB has traditionally opened AgFest with the Maui Legacy Farmers Pancake Breakfast. Sponsored by the Maui Hotel & Lodging Association, this year’s event pays tribute to Kenneth Yamamura and his family as our 2024 Legacy Farmers. Kenneth can trace his agricultural roots back to his grandfather Niichi Yamamura, who raised head cabbage in Pukalani in 1912. Over the next two generations, the family farmed in Kula, Omaopio and Peahi, raising melons, vegetables and pineapples. Kenneth joined his father Paul on the family farm in 1973. By 1977, he was owner of the Kenneth Yamamura Farm, which he and his family still own today. He has been a member of MCFB since 1975, has served as president of organizations like Maui Cabbage Committee and Maui Produce and Processing Cooperative, and worked as Maui County Agricultural Specialist for many years. In 2018, he was awarded by Hawai‘i Tropical Fruit Growers for dedicated years of service to the isle’s agricultural community and the state.

MCFB is proud to honor the Yamamuras and all our legacy farmers, while welcoming in the next generation of farmers. Reservations are still available for this delicious meal provided by The Fairmont Kea Lani Maui: pancakes, scrambled eggs, breakfast sausage, Maui Gold Pineapple, and fresh coffee from Maui Coffee Roasters. Breakfast is from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. (tickets are $12 adults; $8 seniors; $6 keiki; reservations at


Farmers’ bounty is what AgFest is all about, and you’ll find plenty of it all day long: from the fresh veggies at the Grown on Maui Farmers Market; to the sizzling eats at food booths and food trucks in the Food Zone; to the tasty bites at the Taste Education series; to the creative concoctions of local chefs using local ingredients at Grand Taste and Grand Desserts.

Find nourishment of the musical variety at the Main Stage, with a list of entertainers like Maui Taiko, Hālau o Ka Hanu Lehua, Kūikawā, and Hoaka Trio, all emceed by Alaka‘i Paleka. Plus there’s Mahi Pono’s famous Watermelon Eating Contest, Mahi Pono’s Tractors and Trucks, all the fun of the Keiki Zone, and all the useful info of the Ag Education tent. Over at the Maui 4-H Youth Livestock Show & Auction, Maui youth exhibit and share their animals, from cows to pigs. The entire ‘ohana will enjoy the excitement and education of AgFest.

“Maui’s rich agricultural past is woven of generations of immigrants working in the fields and farms, each family bringing their stories, traditions, recipes, hopes and dreams,” says MCFB Executive Director Warren Watanabe. “We invite everyone to come out to AgFest and share that history and celebrate the vibrancy that agriculture continues to bring to our community every day.” 


AgFest is hosted by MCFB and Maui 4-H Livestock Program in partnership with the County of Maui, Maui County Council, Maui Office of Economic Development, Maui Department of Agriculture, and the College of Tropical Agriculture &Human Resources along with strong support from A&B, Bayer, Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui; Fresh Help Maui, Hawaiian Electric, Mahi Pono, Maui Hotel & Lodging Association, Ness/Hawthrone, Pacific Media Group, Pukalani Superette, Ulupono Initiative, VIP Foodservice and Young Brothers.  

Tickets for AgFest are available online or at the door (cash only): $5 for adults; free for 18 & under with student ID. Parking is free.

For a final schedule of events and to purchase tickets for Taste Education, Grand Taste, Grand Desserts and Maui Legacy Farmers Pancake Breakfast, visit


Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Maui Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments