Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Maui Struggles

Maui is always refers to as one of the most desirable place to visit in the world. As oppose to Oahu, Maui is more rural and less developed and may portray more of what people imagine of Hawaii with their natural environment. Thus, the environmental management in Maui is essential for a variety of stakeholders especially for the local community itself. Many events had happened in Maui which have seen the native Hawaiian opposition to development and activities that threaten their environment and culture. The movement is so strong to the extend that some group even become radical and bombed the water pipe to prevent development from encroaching on their home town. The strong movement is still visible now where we can observe Hawaiian flag being raised upside down showing the radical group against the government. They was also involved in protesting the military actions for bombing the Kahoolawe island for training purpose. The island have a significant meaning to the native Hawaiian tradition where it is considered as the baby, Maui as the mother and Big Island as the father. Fortunately, the military have stopped bombing the island now. The most recent event is the opposition against the ferry service between Oahu and Maui that can transport thousands of cars between the islands. The ferry company now have to stop operation since they failed to get enough revenue to continue their operation.

The community movement is especially strong at the southern shore of the island including the small village called Hana. The roads to the village are winding and narrow purposively to prevent unnecessary development from coming in, including the massive tourism activities that does not benefits the local community instead threatening their culture. Even though, they are opposing the development that threatens their traditions, the community there are very friendly, welcoming and taking good care of their guests. The community is very active in their efforts to reeducate their childrens with the native Hawaiian traditions which have been forgotten and their language which was banned by the American once they overthrown the monarchy. They realised that what the U.S. Government has done to their islands are more damaging than what they previously practice from their traditions. We've joined one of the activities called Lima Restoration Project which educates the childrens to plant lima (seaweed). Lima is one of their delicacies and the number have drop significanly at the current time. They are also working on the Kapahu Living Farm which is operated by the Kipahulu 'Ohana. Kapahu Living Farm (www.kipahulu.org) is located inside the protected area which aims to revive and restore the traditional agriculture practices especially for taro plantation which have a close relationship with the native Hawaiian. The current community of Hana is struggling to revive and implement the Ahupua'a concept and all other raditional values and knowledges.

Maui is also popular with the Molokini crater which is one of the best snorkeling and diving site in Hawaii. However, the coral reefs and sea organisms here are not as diverse as in Malaysia. Moreover, the impact of the tourism activities had further reduces the number of coral reef and sea organisms. They have not yet determine the caring capacity for the area and as a result, we can observe that Molokini was crowded with vessels and snorklers. It might be that the number of human being in the water is more than he number of fish. It is make worst by the vessels which release the efluence from their boat into the ocean. However, some vessels do concern and keep their efluence inside the vessels before releasing it at the facilities provided at the jetty. Kahanu Garden which is located in Hana is unique too. They have the largest ancient Heiau in the whole Polynesian. This site shows the importance of the water catchment area where the ancient Hawaiian really taken care of it. Another interesting thing about Maui is they conserve so many towns as it were in the past without even adding more new development into it. Everything are left as it were except for the new shops inside it and visitors can actually feels the environment of the 18th century towns. Maui has a lot of histories and what happens there are so unique that does not happen anywhere else. We can observe so many ruins along away way where it used to be settlements for the native Hawaiian. There are so much thing that can be learn from Maui.

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