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Posted on: May 20, 2021

Mayor Victorino seeks to acquire Waiale lands for historic cultural preserve

Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino is proposing to amend the authorization of Maui County bonds to include the acquisition of approximately 545 acres in the Waiale area of Wailuku. 

The administration is negotiating a purchase from A&B Properties. The original intended purpose was to build attainable housing and affordable rental units for Maui’s working families. Hawaiian groups were critical of the proposed development plan because of historic Hawaiian burials in the Waiale area. Janet Six, principal archaeologist for the County of Maui, recommended reconsidering the intended use after confirming the evidentiary findings of na iwi kupuna (ancestral remains) on the property.

“After listening to the community, I’ve concluded the best use for this ‘aina (land) is to dedicate it to the preservation and perpetuation of its cultural significance,” explained Mayor Victorino. “I’ve since asked members of Malama Kakanilua to lead a working group to advise the County on appropriate land uses for the benefit our community. Maui County residents can rest assured this will not deter us from acquiring other lands to develop attainable housing for our working people.”

Clare H. Apana, president of Malama Kakanilua, commented, “I want to thank Mayor Victorino for doing the right thing after learning about the concentration of burials in the area as evidenced by historic records. Our plan calls for restoring the land to native dryland forest, as it was prior to the introduction of invasive kiawe trees. We also plan to re-establish traditional cultural plants, including specific trees to honor the ancient warriors who fell in battles in the area.” 

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