Former staff writer Laurel Murphy returns to The Maui News today as a columnist with "Keiki o Ka 'Aina," which will appear weekly on Tuesdays.
Born in Honolulu, Murphy has worked as a reporter for The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Houston Chronicle and The San Diego Tribune, where she won several press club awards for feature writing. She came to The Maui News as a staff writer in 1992 and won a journalism spot news award that year for her coverage of Hurricane Iniki.
While at The Maui News in the 1990s, Murphy specialized in in-depth reports on planning issues and often focused on Hawaiian culture. After leaving the newspaper, she researched and wrote a book for Maizie Cameron Sanford on the history of the Baldwin family on Maui. It has not yet been published.
That work involved years of research in original documents at the Hawaiian Mission Children's Society Library, the Hawaiian Historical Society and the Hawaii State Archives in Honolulu, studying such events as the Mahele and the overthrow of Queen Lili'uokalani. She also researched the history of Maui decade by decade from 1835 until the present, the fruits of which she plans to share in her column.