VIEWPOINT: Coalition, community working with owner to forge future
of Honolua Bay
By TAMARA PALTIN
POSTED: May 4, 2008 MAUI NEWS
The first stanza’s last line of the Star Spangled Banner reads “O’er the land of the free, and the home of
April 20, 2007, brave leaders of a small grassroots organization called Save Honolua Coalition led the
Maui community to the County Council Chambers in Wailuku, voicing their passionate concerns about a
specific planned west side development on Lipoa Point and Honolua Bay.
Wearing Save Honolua T-shirts and waving signs in the chamber, surfers, contractors, youths, artists,
waiters, waitresses, business people, self-employed, unemployed, et. al, shared testimony after
testimony to keep Honolua and the land around it from being overdeveloped.
Complacency became conviction and mediocrity into mission. And, then it happened. During the course of
testimonies, a representative of Maui Land & Pineapple Co. announced that ML&P would withdraw their
development plans for Lipoa Point and surrounding areas.
The audience erupted with applause that was skeptical but applause nevertheless.
You didn’t have to look far to find brave people. They were there that day. And on that particular Friday
they stood together, and with one heartbeat spoke in a clear voice to save Honolua. The brave include
Elle and Wayno Cochran, who helped found the Save Honolua Coalition; Council Member Jo Anne
Johnson, who sponsored a resolution to preserve Honolua and surrounding areas; Council Member
Michelle Anderson, who a week later tenaciously urged the County Council to earmark $1 million for land
acquisition; Maui Land & Pine, which bravely withdrew its plans for development on Lipoa Point and
Honolua Bay and asked the community to create a better plan for Honolua Bay and Lipoa Point; the
school administrations of Sacred Hearts School, Lahaina Intermediate, and Lahainaluna High School, who
allowed their students time off to participate and testify on Honolua’s behalf, and the community at large,
who became the voice of Honolua.
April 20, 2008, marked the anniversary date of the storming of the bastille known as the County Council
Today, the Save Honolua Coalition and other stakeholders are creating a conceptual plan for the Lipoa
Point and Honolua Bay area, along with a community-based management plan to malama aina, take of
the land. Soon members of the community will be invited to review these plans and provide their own
The Book of Ecclesiastes says, “A cord of three strands cannot be easily broken.” Through a collaborative
effort of three strands weaving themselves together, Maui Land & Pineapple Co., Maui County, Save
Honolua Coalition, along with other stakeholders and community members. the future of Honolua looks
promising because courageous people acted and understood that it is still the land of the free. It is still
the home of the brave.
The Save Honolua Coalition is suspending our monthly public educational meetings until further notice.
We have stepped up communications with Maui Land & Pine, the Honolua Advisory Council and the
County of Maui, and need to focus on a deal as well as a conceptual plan that we can present to the
community for feedback.
The coalition would like to assure the community that we will not be doing any “firm negotiations” without
community input. We are committed to being a community-based nonprofit organization. Right now we
and other stakeholders are talking with both the county and the landowner to flesh out an acceptable
proposal to present to the people of Maui. I am very optimistic about our progress as we continue to find
Finding common ground is not the same as settling for the lowest common denominator, or having two
sides meet in the middle. It’s about participants generating a new “highest common denominator” and
identifying something together that can be aspired to and work toward. For example, revitalizing the
health of the Honolua ahupua‘a through community-based management utilizing Hawaiian values and
When those who really care about an issue come together and bring the best thinking from their various
perspectives, there is a potential for new options to be generated — options that neither side might have
thought of on its own.
For more information please see our Web site at www.savehonolua.org or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
• Tamara Paltin is vice president and one of the founders of Save Honolua Coalition, a grass-roots
nonprofit organization. She lives in Kahana.