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Honokowai Valley

Oil Road

Volunteer to Help Restore an Ancient Hawaiian Village

Five hundred years ago, long before the arrival of Westerners, Honokowai Valley housed a thriving population of more than 600 self-sustaining families. But when sugar was planted in West Maui, streams were diverted to irrigate the fields, and by the mid-1900s, the valley was a ghost town where not even memories remained.

All of that is changing, however, thanks to a group named Maui Cultural Lands that is working to turn back the hands of time.

On Saturday mornings at 9 a.m., the group meets at the Puʽukoliʽi Train Station on the north end of Kaʽanapali for a morning of working to restore the valley. Volunteers are welcome to join in the efforts, and they are transported back into the heart of a valley closed to the general public.

For the next four hours, volunteers and group members help to restore the valley by removing weeds and planting native trees. Begun in earnest in 2002, the project has managed to clear enough of the valley so that it now reveals the village.

In addition to helping care for the land, volunteers are given an authentic look at Ancient Hawaiian culture. Here, in the remote recesses of Honokowai Valley, you can feel the mana—or strength—of the rocks, which have silently stood here for centuries.