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Covered bus stop for Kahikinui keiki

Students now sheltered from rain, intense sun

Steve Perrizo of Auwahi Wind LLC, Kyle Niehaus of Goodfellow Brothers Inc., Rae Kamai of Auwahi Wind and Kaleo Cullen of Ka Ohana O Kahikinui pose alongside a new covered bus stop for Kahikinui keiki following a blessing on March 22. Auwahi Wind plans to eventually add WiFi so the students can do their schoolwork while waiting for the bus. Photo courtesy Kaleo Cullen

Kahikinui keiki no longer have to weather any rain or intense sunlight while waiting for the school bus.

A new covered bus stop was installed off Piilani Highway near Mile Marker 23 east of Ulupalakua for seven of the children living in the remote community who attend Punana Leo o Maui and Kula Kaiapuni schools.

“It feels great, it’s been put to use,” said resident Kaleo Cullen, who back in 2018 approached Steven Perrizo at Auwahi Wind LLC for material estimates and designs for such a project. “Now the kids don’t have to wait in the sun… . They’ve been out in the elements all these years.”

Having a sheltered waiting area for keiki was a longtime vision of the kupuna, Cullen added. The final project was blessed near the end of March by Kahu Mark Dung. The the morning blessing began with an oli written by Charmaine Day specifically about Kahikinui moku.

“Definitely needed, you know, because they come down in the morning, it’s raining, it’s windy,” Cullen said. “Even when they come back, the sun is at its peak. So getting the keiki out of the elements was the main thing.”

And now that the bus stop is complete, Cullen said that Auwahi is going to install a “top of the line” security system too, including WiFi, so that the “kids will be able to do their schoolwork at the bus stop.”

Once funding is finalized, Cullen said that the installment should be complete in less than a year.

“It really inspires everyone, the community is real small, so hopefully we can get more people off the waitlist so they can enter our aina,” Cullen said.

The $35,000-project was made possible by partners Auwahi Wind LLC, CL Builders, Goodfellow Brothers Inc, and Ka Ohana O Kahikinui Inc.

* Dakota Grossman can be reached at dgrossman@mauinews.com.

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