A-maize-ing: Kohala Mountain Farm creates island’s first corn maze

Lend me your ears: There’s a corny new attraction opening this fall at the Kohala Mountain Farm.

With flags, paint and grass killer in hand, Braden Bair began mapping out and creating passageways for a giant labyrinth Thursday in a roughly 3-acre cornfield at the picturesque farm, located makai of Kahua Ranch on Kohala Mountain Road between Hawi and Waimea.

The 25-year-old Brigham Young University student works as a consultant for The MAiZE, a cornfield maze consulting and design company based in Spanish Fork, Utah. Since the company was founded in 1996, it has created more than 2,000 corn mazes worldwide.

Bair has created more than 200 mazes — including at least 75 mazes this summer — since getting into the business in high school. The Kohala Mountain Farm’s maze was expected to take about three hours to complete, but the grass killer takes about a week to work, he said.

This is the first corn maze on the Big Island, and Kohala High School junior Daylan Higa designed it, said Stacy Hasegawa, Kohala Mountain Farm project coordinator.

Higa won a maze design contest, which had 23 entries from local high school students in the Hawaii School Garden Network Program. His winning design features the Hawaiian Islands, taro leaves, a poi pounder, the star Hokulea and the word “Kohala.”

As the first place winner, Higa will receive $1,000 for Kohala High’s garden from MacArthur & Co. Sotheby’s International Realty and a helicopter tour of his creation, compliments of Blue Hawaiian Helicopters. The runner-up, Makalii Bertelmann of Kanu o ka Aina Public Charter School, will get a zip-line trip, compliments of Hawaii Forest & Trail.