‘Maui no ka oi’ is rarely heard anymore

I rarely hear the expression “Maui no ka oi” anymore. In the 1970s, that saying was used frequently and with great pride.

A possible reason for the lack of current use is the great increase in traffic over the years. In the early ’70s, traffic was such that only three traffic lights were required on the entire island. Today I encounter 24 traffic lights traveling between Kula and Wailuku. Typically, I have to stop at half of these lights and that adds one-third to travel time just sitting idling at red lights. No ka oi?

In the ’70s, one often heard, let’s not allow Maui to grow like Oahu. Well, guess what? Today Maui is similar to the Oahu of the ’70s. It has become like the Oahu of those times and will likely be similar to the Oahu of today in 40 years.

Now traffic on the previous country road, Kula Highway, is typically filled with strings of cars going in either direction. Friends who live on the west side say they need at least an hour to travel to the central valley, and they encounter few traffic lights. The drive between Kihei and Kahului is heavy with vehicular traffic, and that is on four-lane highways that didn’t even exist in the ’70s.

Well, Maui still is no ka oi, and I am happy to have lived here during those years when that expression was frequently used.

Russ Taft

Kula