hana hou

highlights from 2017

Maui Surfer Girls -- Photo courtesy KATE GASKIN

Traditionally a time to reflect on the year that has passed, New Year’s Eve is an opportunity for the Pau Hana staff to revisit and share some of our favorite topics covered during the past 12 months.

The following excerpts from previously published articles highlight interesting happenings around the island, Maui’s dining and culinary treasures and wealth of artistic expression, and a smattering of “off-island” features that we felt spoke to our readers.

So freshen up your coffee, or tea or Mimosa, get comfy and stroll down memory lane with us.

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The long and the short of 40 years – Bob Longhi’s legacy lives on with family and isle restaurants (Jan. 1):

A hammock and shady lawn await your nap -- Photo courtesy Mama’s Fish House & Inn

Bob Longhi first arrived on Maui in 1976 from New York City, where he was covered from head to toe in three-piece suits. Here, he kicked off his shoes and went barefoot –for several years — gaining notoriety.

“He had 40 suits back on the Mainland, so when he got to Hawaii he said he wasn’t going to wear shoes anymore,” says his son Peter Longhi, who runs the original Longhi’s Lahaina as well as Longhi’s Wailea. “One day back then in a torrential rain, he put shoes on and walked through a giant mud puddle. Somebody yelled, ‘This is when you aren’t supposed to wear shoes, Bob!’ “

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Inner Peace – Path towards wellness (Jan. 15):

“The labyrinth is not a maze, there is just one path that leads into the center and the same path leads back out,” says Executive Director Eve Hogan, whose nonprofit, Divine Nature Alliance, runs The Sacred Garden in Makawao. “It is helpful to know that you are not walking the labyrinth to learn about the labyrinth, but rather you are walking to learn about yourself.”

Maui Film Festival Wailea Starry Night Cinema -- Photo courtesy MFF Wailea

“Proper preparation for the everyday tasks we face can help fend off stressful moments,” says Patti Sabla, a licensed clinical social worker on Maui who specializes in time and stress management.

“Often times, we become stressed out because we feel like we don’t have enough time to finish all of the things we need to complete. Essentially, time management is stress management,” says Sabla, who runs time management seminars and stress management workshops for businesses and offers personal coaching for individuals.

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Art of Aloha – Annual Lahaina Galleries’ event draws world-renowned artists, latest pieces (Jan. 22):

“These are highly accomplished and honored artists,” said Lahaina Galleries owner Jim Killett. “This happens only once a year. We have many shows at our galleries, but this is by far the biggest for us on Maui and quite an opportunity for collectors.”

Late restaurateur Bob Longhi -- Photo courtesy Longhi’s restaurants

“Almost all originals in the show are being offered and seen for the first time ever,” he said. “It’s not often you get eight artists from around the world all under one roof at the same time, so you can anticipate that, for even just the looky-loos, they are walking around in awe as if being in a museum. The only difference, it’s free and you actually get to meet the artists.”

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Maui Surfer Girls riding waves of empowerment (Feb. 19):

“Surfing, body surfing and skimboarding Makena beach in particular as a teenager offered me the perfect outlet to express my stored emotions,” said Dustin Tester, founder and director of Maui Surfer Girls. “It also helped shape my identity as a young woman and surfer girl at heart.”

Tester said she found a sense of self and strength paddling out during her tough teenage years.

Halau Nakaulakuhikuhi -- Photo courtesy East Maui Taro Festival

“Surfing a wave is the perfect metaphor for life,” she said. “It teaches us resilience, patience, strength, humility, balance, and not to mention an awesome environment to bond with others.”

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Inn-spired – Mama’s Fish House &  Inn is where aloha greets you every moment each day (Feb. 26):

Mama’s Fish House & Inn in Kuau Cove seems to be on everyone’s bucket list. It’s like the silkiest and most incredible coconut cream that’s already risen to the top for all to desire.

Sunset Magazine has described Mama’s Inn as “Where happiness lives” and “The Hawaii we dream of.” And its catch phrase is “Where aloha greets you every moment of the day.”

Fashion designs by Koa Johnson and Kojo Couture at the MAMo Wearable Art Show at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului -- BEN FERRARI photo

“We want to showcase the new face of Mama’s Fish House by promoting the inn,” says inn manager Lisa Foth.

“We’ve given the rooms some upgrades,” continues Foth. “Every one is unique. Each has different furnishings. They even have different trims. Some have plaster walls. And some are more beachy pickled wood.”

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‘Thar she grows’ – MauiWine buds with new winemaker, yoga event and more (March 12):

These days, MauiWine is an Upcountry mecca for more than 100,000 wine lovers annually who come to taste the available varietals, buy the new syrah, viognier and grenache and drink in the historic Upcountry property’s magnificent trees and grounds.

President Paula Hegele has hired a new winemaker,who regaled listeners at the recent Son’z at Swan Court dinner in Kaanapali with a background that includes living in Tanzania, creating a rock-star wine line for Mendocino Wine Co. and work at other vineyards. Mark Beaman is his name.

“Beaman has crafted multiple wines with ratings of 90 plus points by Wine Enthusiast and numerous gold medals,” states the bio.

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Evolving style – Maui-born artist Judy Bisgard honored by retrospective at the Hui No’eau (April 16):

In illustrating her style, Judy Bisgard explains she is not adamant about detail; she is more interested in color and composition.

“Sometimes you don’t think about what you are doing, you just work with the color, you keep experimenting until it’s done.”

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Poi-fect event – 25th annual East Maui Taro Festival plants its roots (April 23): 

As usual, throngs of isle residents and visitors alike will drive the long and winding road to Hana with 620 curves over 59 bridges as they view waterfalls, rainbows, swaying bamboo, remote valleys and preciptious cliffs where salt spray intermingles with the aroma of ginger as waves crash below.

They’ll continue past the loi or taro patches of Keanae and Wailua, past Nahiku vendors and Waianapanapa State Park until they get to the rolling hills under the Fagan cross, the sign that the ride is over and it’s time to park the car and kick back — Hana style.

“The East Maui Taro Festival is an event the Hana community looks forward to every year; after 25 years, an entire generation has grown up with the taro fest,” says event coordinator Judy Kinser.

“There is so much to enjoy — the vendors, the hands-on activities, the music, the hula. More than 20 food booths are always among the main attractions. There are many delicious dishes; all plates having some type of taro.”

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Living art for the senses – Bonsai is still growing and flourishing on Maui (April 30):

One constant, taken for granted by many people, had been the annual appearance of the exotic displays of the Valley Isle Bonsai Club that could be found in the War Memorial gymnasium during the Maui Fair (formerly known as the Maui County Fair).

Around town these days, people wax nostalgic about the pleasure they got seeing the numerous displays of this ancient art form. The Maui club disbanded about two years ago.

Bonsai is an art form as well as fulfilling hobby that is not for the impatient soul. It encourages the artist to slow down, nurture a life force, and appreciate the wonder and beauty of nature, albeit an idealized form of nature. For all novice bonsai artists, there are fellow bonsai enthusiasts who can be reached via the internet to offer advice and guidance, and remember the saying that is shared by many experienced bonsai artists: often times the “only way to learn the art of bonsai, is by killing some trees.” So don’t give up.

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Wa’a Kiakahi – 13th annual celebration shares history and culture of the sailing canoe in Kaanapali (May 14): 

Here in the Aloha State, the outrigger canoe is our official team sport and rich with historical significance.

To honor this history, Ka’anapali Beach Resort Association, in partnership with the Hawaiian Sailing Canoe Association, will sponsor the 13th annual Wa’a Kiakahi, a three-day event taking place on the beach in front of the Ka’anapali Beach Hotel beginning June 2, in order to share the history of traditional Hawaiian sailing canoes, or wa’a, with visitors and locals alike.

Created by the HSCA as a way to give back to the community and share Hawaiian culture, the event features traditional ceremonies, sailing canoe rides and educational talks about celestial navigation and water skills. HSCA racers do not make crew changes, and they travel every channel connecting the islands, just as ancient Hawaiians did.

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Scions of the vine – Famous wine families converge on Kapalua Wine & Food Festival (May 21): 

Dynasties of the grape are simply farmer folk as they like to tell you.

When Gary Pisoni’s name is mentioned, big smiles will always erupt — as it’s hard to imagine anyone who is more of a fun-loving, eccentric winemaker.

“In a wine industry full of eccentrics, Gary Pisoni is uber-eccentric,” says Alan Jahns of Paradise Beverages, his Maui distributor.

“Hanging out with him for any length of time — and trying to keep up with his enormous energy — can be exhausting for mere mortals like the rest of us,” Jahns continues.

“But behind that wild-man veneer is a visionary genius. I really can’t find a better way to describe the man and all of his accomplishments.”

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Celebrating Hawaiian fashion design – The MAMo Wearable Art Show returns to Maui with intriguing styles (June 11):

Back in the 1990s, kumu hula Victoria Holt Takamine, of halau Pua Ali’i ‘Ilima, together with fellow kumu hula Hokulani Holt, Keali’i Reichel and others saw a need not being met by the state legislators.

“Together we formed the ‘Ilio’ulaokalani Coalition to advocate for the protection of Native Hawaiian rights and the natural and cultural resources of Hawaii,” explained Takamine.

“I created the PA’I Foundation to raise money for educational outreach programs for the Hawaiian community,” said Takamine.

The foundation saw that many Native Hawaiian artists and cultural practitioners needed to work at full-time, non-arts-related jobs because they couldn’t earn a living from their art, noted Takamine.

She also recognized that venues were needed, which would help the artists practice their craft as well as receive much needed professional development. By carving out opportunities for artists to work and create, not only would the unique cultural traditions of Hawaii be highlighted, but these opportunities would also help stimulate the broader cultural and tourist-driven economy as well.

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Starry night – Maui Film Festival shines with A-list lineup in Wailea and Kahului (June 18):

“Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore” is one of filmdom’s most memorable lines. It also epitomizes the colorful fantasy world of A-list movie stars, filmmakers and fans who land on Maui every June to take the yellow brick road to glamorous culinary parties and life-affirming films.

“The Maui Film Festival is back for its 18th annual movie extravaganza,” enthuses founder and director Barry Rivers.

“From Wednesday through Sunday, June 25, it’s time once again to celebrate the films and filmmakers from around the globe who inspire us and take us on an exploration of the human mind through the art of cinema, bringing culture, fantasy, and adventure to Wailea and its world-class resorts,” continued Rivers.

“Surrounded by the natural beauty of Maui and playing a little cosmic pinball with the universe at screenings is a truly unique way to see the world through new eyes,” Rivers says.

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Siren or savior – Mermaids continue to fascinate and inspire (July 2):

Currently, perhaps buoyed by every child’s image of Ariel, mermaids are having a renaissance. Mermaid role-playing and mermaid adventures are popping up everywhere. New York’s Coney Island recently hosted a mermaid parade on June 17 that consisted of more than 3,000 participants.

On Maui, artist Hermine Harman has been a mermaid fan-girl for a very long time. In honor of her mermaid connection, Harman has created the Maui Mermaid Extravaganza at The Shops at Wailea.

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Speed dating II – Engagingly brief interludes with famous chefs, beverage makers (July 16):

“Speed dating” turns out to be the interview format du jour for those hosting food festivals. Grand Wailea invited some writers to “speed date” the top pitmasters in America at the resort’s Fire it Up! barbecue bash.

A good ol’ boy from North Carolina, Sam Jones has appeared on many TV shows and was named one of the “Top 10 Pitmasters in the South” by Southern Living.

” ‘The Lady is a Tramp’ for Barbecue” in me coming out, I brazenly sang out to him, “Do you go whole hog . . . or don’t you?” batting my eyelashes like Scarlet O’Hara in “Gone With the Wind,” penned writer Carla Tracy.

The double entendre seemed to go right over his head. But he nodded yes, implying that unlike Rhett Butler, frankly, he does give a damn about the whole-hog topic.

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A life so ordinary – Author Wayne Moniz reminisces of growing up on Maui in newest book (July 23):

You don’t have to have grown up on Maui to be able to relate to the stories (“Barefoot Boy in the Mango Tree: A Memoir of Maui and Me”), and Moniz has a real talent for storytelling. He makes the reader feel like a long-lost friend that he’s just catching up with.

“I thought my life was so boring, so ordinary,living here until the eigth grade,” said Moniz. “It was when we moved to Hilo and then Honolulu and I went to school there that I started to realize how lucky I was, growing up on Maui.”

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A “Spineless” mysterious world – Susan Middleton returns to Maui with a new photo exhibition (Aug. 6):

“Susan connects the dots of how everything fits together beautifully for us through her lens,” explains Neida Bangerter, director of the Schaefer International Gallery at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in Kahului. “While educational, she displays a great sense of humor in her work. She’s delighted to do what she’s doing, and it shows and that makes it more interesting for the rest of us.”

“Susan doesn’t take pictures,” says Bangerter. “Her photographs are museum art, fine art. There’s a distinct difference.”

Middleton has been on the leading edge in setting a new standard in nature photography since the early 1980s.

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Akaku Upstairs – Community experts enrich and enlighten (Sep. 3):

“We launched these salons so people can get together and press the flesh. So many people don’t get together just to talk anymore. It’s kind of like a free university. It’s an educational and non-threatening environment,” says Akaku CEO Jay April.

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Millennial muses about life . . . ‘Am I missing something?’ – Social media is not a virtual handshake (Sep. 10):

So now I’m thinking maybe I should be showing up at an employer and shaking their hand, rather than sending an online application alongside a million others.

Maybe we should actually turn off our phone, not just lock it and pretend like we can resist looking at the meme our friend just tagged us in, penned contributing writer Ali Hanna.

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Malama Wao Akua – Artful conservation yields a bounty (Sep. 17):

Celebrating its 13th year, and its third year hosted at the Hui No’eau, Malama Wao Akua hopes to raise awareness about native species on Maui Nui — that is, only species that arrived here via wind, water or wings, without human help.

“People don’t see the things we are trying to protect,” Allison Borell, community outreach and education liaison of the East Maui Watershed Partnership explained. “This (art exhibition) was a way of bringing that out of the mountains, or out of the oceans, which people don’t normally see and make it more approachable.”

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Like to sip a cuppa? – Nicky ‘Beans’ Matichyn of Maui Coffee Roasters brews backstory to 70 years of life (Oct. 23): 

Whatever name you choose to call him, Nicky “Beans” Matichyn is a longtime expert in the Hawaii coffee industry. He gave our island a big jolt of caffeine adrenaline, and he deserves the monikers.

Years ago, Maui Coffee Roasters sold mostly Kona varietals. Now, the tables have turned and it sells more Maui coffees.

“It’s because of the awareness and the quality of Maui coffee,” says Nicky. “In this year’s statewide Cupping Competition, Olinda Organic won the state Creative Division, with a score that was higher than any that entered in the state Commercial Division.

It’s true — Maui Coffee Roasters is No. 1. It once again rose like cream to the top as the Best Local Coffee Store in the Best of Maui 2017 contest. Its top-selling coffee is Maui Red Rooster and aficionados flock to the store like bees to a hive for sips of it in cold brews and espresso drinks.

“Even as a small business owner, Nick Matichyn, aka ‘Nicky Beans,’ always has been a big supporter and a contributor to our Maui community,” says former employee Bobo Rowlands. “His friendliness and easy going manner have made Maui Coffee Roasters a very successful enterprise, a place ‘where everyone knows your name.’ “

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Talkin’ tequila – Here’s the juice on premium barrel programs expanding in the islands (Nov. 12):

Whisper the word, “tequila,” and images of shots and beers, spring break, tail-gate parties, dirty dancing and Cinco de Mayo may pop into your head.

But let’s leave its silly, raucous reputation alone. Serious tequila aficionados are growing by leaps and barrels, becoming as sophisticated as wine connoisseurs.

Tequila fanciers also know that the western Mexican state of Jalisco is where blue agave grows and top producers are situated. They know that mezcal is different from tequila. And that tequila has styles from blanco to reposado to anejo to extra anejo and beyond.

Savvy Maui restaurateurs, chefs and managers are on to this. Some travel to Mexico, buy their own barrels, and bring back proprietary blends to serve to their in-the-know guests who can be as picky as wine snobs.

With thousands of tequilas on the market, and diners who seek out rare craft spirits by boutique producers, proprietary barrels are one way that a restaurant can stand out.

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Gil McBarnet – Beloved children’s author unveils newest offering (Nov. 19):

Thirty-two years ago, a children’s literary dynasty began with a self-published book about a humpback whale named Kanani who wished more than anything she would be smaller than she was. “The Whale Who Wanted to Be Small” told the age-old story of the importance of accepting who you are, as well as taught its readers about a giant of the ocean — the humpback whale.

“I hope that Koa and Kanani’s journey to faraway lands will instill a curiosity about the world. The ‘Faraway Lands’ in ‘The Magical Journey from Hawai’i’ are regions, rather than countries, so little children can see who and what inhabits lands of ice and snow, golden deserts, jungly forests, etc. Hawaii is represented in the book pictorially at journey’s end as coral reefs and lush waterfalls.

“The underlying message is we can marvel at the diversity of our planet, but at the end of ‘The Magical Journey,’ hopefully, young readers will share Koa and Kanani’s joy to return home.” — Gill McBarnet.

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Surprise, surprise! Ritz Cultural Advisor Clifford Nae’ole honored on birthday for 25 years of service, Hawaiian-style (Dec. 10):

“As I know is true for many others, Clifford Nae’ole has had a profound impact on my life,” says the Ritz General Manager Mike Kass about the honoree.

“He has touched so many, both personally and professionally, and it was an honor to celebrate him during such a memorable evening. He has dedicated his life to others, always putting his community, work, friends and family before himself,” adds Kass.

“Clifford continues to steer his canoe with cultural practitioners and his own aloha to help others appreciate and embrace Hawaiian culture in a manner that is pono. His vision and determination to preserve all things Hawaiian are admirable,” says Kawika Freitas, the director of Public & Cultural Relations for Old Lahaina Lu’au on Front Street.

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Visions of sugar plums returns this holiday season – ‘The Nutcracker Ballet’ whisks Maui dancers to Hawaii Island (Dec. 17):

” ‘The Nutcracker’ is steeped in ballet tradition and has been a staple of Christmas celebrations for generations,” explained Kula Batangan. “It is a rich ballet production that is exciting for dancers since it provides an array of stylistic performance opportunities with diverse and nuanced roles. ‘The Nutcracker’ has heartwarming scenes and is tremendously fun to take part in.”

Holte sums up the likely reason this ballet has endured and is so beloved.

MAPA’s guest ballet instructor and choreographer, Virginia Holte. Holte is the founder and artistic director of the West Hawaii Dance Theatre in Kailua-Kona on Hawaii Island.

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Chocolate oasis – There really is a pot of Hana Gold at the end of an East Maui rainbow (Dec. 24):

Hana Gold is a humble 10-acre working cacao plantation on the Waianapanapa side of town. It produces Maui’s only branch-to-bar chocolate, meaning it’s a single-source, organic producer that uses only cacao nibs from its trees and it takes it from fermentation to the finished product onsite and at a commercial kitchen in South Maui.

Led by Aldon Frost, whose family has owned the property for 45 years, the tour is fun as well as educational. As icing on the cake, it ends with tastes of chocolate.

“The tour is such an eye-opener for a lot of our guests,” says Travaasa concierge Michelle Prest. “When I first suggest it, guests go, ‘cacao tour? Really?’ Then they come back and are just raving about it. The Frosts are so passionate about what they do.”

King David Kalakaua’s former isle cottage houses the tasting room and a revamped History Room -- Photo courtesy MauiWine

Cascading juniper bonsai -- CATHERINE KENAR photo

Outrigger canoes launching during Hawaii Sailing Canoe Association’s race, Wa‘a Kiakahi -- Photo courtesy Ka‘anapali Beach Resort Association

“Mermine” by artist Hermine Harman -- Photo courtesy the artist

Whale-Dolphins in jade amethyst agate by Lyle Sopel

“Kaluanui Gold” was featured in the Hui No‘eau’s retrospective of Maui artist Judy Bisgard. -- Photo courtesy of Hui No‘eau

Brothers Jeff (left) and Mark Pisoni flank their famous dad Gary Pisoni in the family’s Santa Lucia Highlands vineyards in California. -- Photo courtesy GARY PISONI

Clifford Nae‘ole (with lei), the longtime cultural advisor of the Ritz, is surrounded by his St. Anthony school mates Charleen Parker (from left), Stacey Eaton, Esta Miller, Cindy Nobriga, April Santos and Cindy Collins -- Photo courtesy APRIL SANTOS

West Hawaii Dance Theater’s production of “The Nutcracker” -- Photo courtesy WHDT

Latest book from Maui author Gil McBarnet

Maui author Wayne Moniz -- Photo courtesy author

Top 10 Pitmaster of the South from North Carolina, Sam Jones -- CARLA TRACY photo

Tiger cowry -- SUSAN MIDDLETON photo