The Great Maui Mix: Racial Diversity on Maui
"Chop suey," is the way Mauians affectionately describe their cherished racial
diversity. There is no other state in the nation (and probably no other place
in the world) where interracial marriages approach fifty percent. The children
of Maui are a golden blend of East and West, happy heirs of many cultures.
When asked about background many a Maui beauty will proudly reel off an ancestor
list that may include Hawaiian, Chinese, Korean, Filipino, Irish, Portuguese
and German. Islanders happily celebrate each other's holidays, wearing flowers
on Lei Day, donning kimono and honoring ancestors during the Japanese obon
season, and flying the Stars and Stripes on the Fourth of July.
Maui lifestyles are equally eclectic. Some people choose resort living
year-round, settling into a sort of endless holiday along an emerald golf
course. Others are happy in their old homes under the palms, along the ocean.
Pockets of Beverly Hills pop up in unexpected places. Many islanders prefer
life in a small town such as Haiku or Hana with their rural charm, where
families have known each other for generations. There are even old Hawaiian
settlements at Kahakuloa and Keanae where people fish, raise taro and let the
commotion of the world pass them by.
The old plantation lifestyle has its fans who stay snug in a time warp in
tiny homes with tin roofs, front porches and overwhelming gardens, while their
offspring might choose the new suburbs of Kahului with bright new kitchens
and baths, and a two-car garage.
Upcountry, traditionally a farming and ranching community, has lately become
fashionable, drawing artists, writers, families and reclusives to its cool climate,
and its green beauty pierced with magnificent mountain light. Because Upcountry
farmers once grew fat shipping food to the miners during the gold rush, the
area was dubbed Nu Kaliponi, New California. With the new crop of hot tubs,
herbal healers, book stores, art galleries and espresso shops, the name still fits.
The cowboys who ride across volcanic meadows, who know each hill by name and
can count the kinds of wind, still call out their commands in Hawaiian as
they ride herd, rounding up the animals, shouting "Hah pipi (cow)! and "Ai
lepo (eat dirt)."
Maui makes room for a fascinating variety of lifestyles, all clearly visible
and accessible. Every Saturday and Sunday, the real estate sections of local
newspapers advertise "open house," homes for sale that are open to the public
for viewing. It's an opportunity for visitors to glimpse Maui's many
lifestyles, and -- who knows -- maybe end up calling Maui home.
Here, people not only accept each other, they embrace. It's not part of
Maui's magic. It's the very fiber of the spirit of aloha, of greeting each
person with the acknowledgement of their unique sanctity. It only looks
Article Courtesy of the Maui Visitors Bureau
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