It will be interesting to see how many denizens of the Web have an
interest in such an esoteric subject as the history of Maui. We already know that lots of people are interested in contemporary Maui. The word “Maui” has become shorthand for all that is warm and sunny and just exotic enough to be a great place to get away from it all. You’ll find it used this way in novels and television programs, as in “Darling, let’s run away from our jobs as highly paid international assassins and flee to Maui.”
But I live on the real Maui, the one where we argue about cane smoke and GMOs, fight traffic on Dairy Road, pay big bucks for groceries and shelter and everything else. That modern-day Maui was shaped by things that happened in the past—by history.
Remembering the Past
I believe that you have to understand the history of Hawai‘i even to understand today’s headlines. So when I started a class for newcomers to Maui some years ago, it included quite a bit of history. I also gave participants a little handbook, which eventually expanded into Island Life 101: A Newcomer’s Guide to Hawai‘i. It includes not only practical hints for new arrivals but a written version of the history I had been telling the class. Thus, my book for the island’s newest immigrants begins by telling the story of the first residents, those intrepid Polynesians who discovered these islands.
I’ve made a good portion of my living writing about Maui history (plus history as it happened, in my newspaper days), and I will be sharing on this blog some of the nuggets I’ve discovered. I’ll dig through files to find stories that are as interesting today as they were years ago. (And after more than 40 years writing on Maui, I have rather a lot of files.) I’ll talk about the treasure hunt that is historical research—Queen Liliuokalani’s hand-written list of garden plants, anyone?
Living in the Now
I will write about Maui now as well as Maui then. So much goes on here worth writing about. As the people of old lived lives that gradually became history, so we are living through times that will shape the world for centuries in the future. The material for new stories just keeps on coming.
And, because as much as I love this island, I know there’s life outside Maui, I’ll write about my travels, about things in the world that intrigue or irritate me, and about whatever I think my readers might find interesting, then or now.