At the Oskie Rice Arena, the Friday night lights hung in the damp, mid-December Hawaiian air. Beaming through Maui’s notorious red clay dust, the lights served as a backdrop to one of the Upcountry’s biggest annual events. On the metal bleachers, families were bundled against their idea of the cold: a winter chill that sank just below 60 degrees. There were coats, blankets and hoodie strings pulled tight. There was Portuguese soup and Puerto Rican stew at the family-run concession stands, where the handwritten menus were scrawled in thick felt marker, crossed through as the “onolicious” fried ice cream or pork with tofu and macaroni ran out.
All around us, children treated the bleachers as a jungle gym, climbing and dangling and hopping from bench to bench. On the highest bleacher, a girl with sun-streaked hair and sun-kissed skin popped up at my feet like a mischievous gopher. Startling me, she shrieked, giggled and monkeyed away. On the grass, behind the arena’s wire-and-post fence, a little boy in a tan cowboy hat paced in black cowboy boots with tiny silver spurs.
The rodeo was about to begin.
When most mainlanders picture Maui, they see surfers sliding down mammoth waves, bays crowded with sailboats and waterfalls alongside the ragged, verdant Hana Highway. But the Upcountry, which sweeps across the island’s interior and climbs the volcanic foothills of Haleakala, is another Hawaii. Instead of beaches, surf shacks and shaved ice stands, the region has chilled air; sprawling, multigenerational cattle ranches; and a paniolo — Hawaiian cowboy — tradition that precedes its mainland American counterpart by half a century.
“They were running horses up here,” a trail guide would later tell me, “when they were still settling the Midwest.”
Ongoing drought conditions on Maui have prompted the county to adjust potable water production in the Upcountry area, the Maui Department of Water Supply said Friday.
On or about Wednesday, the department will reduce production at the Olinda Water Treatment Facility to 0.1 million gallons per day from 1.8 mgd to give Upper Kula reservoirs time to be refilled by rain.
The 30-million-gallon Waikamoi Reservoir is empty and the 100-million-gallon Kahakapao Reservoir is at 39.5 million gallons, the department said.
In the meantime, Upper Kula customers will get water from the Kamole water treatment facility in Haliimaile, the Piiholo treatment facility in Makawao and the Po‘okela well in Makawao.
Upper Kula customers may notice a change in water quality because the water from the lower elevations is disinfected with chlorine. The water meets all federal and state water quality standards.
A federal judge sentenced two Hawaii hunters to community service today after an investigation into the interisland smuggling of axis deer by helicopter.
Neither man was charged with the smuggling itself, but prosecutors said their actions introduced axis deer to the Big Island for the first time and harmed the environment as a result.
Daniel Rocha of Mountain View on the Big Island was sentenced to 100 hours of community service for having sheep in his possession without a permit. U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Richard Puglisi also ordered Rocha to pay a $1,000 fine.
Puglisi ordered Jeffrey Grundhauser to perform 100 hours of community service for taking an unlicensed hunter to shoot game animals on his ranch in upcountry Maui. Grundhauser must also pay a $15,000 fine and will be on probation for one year.
The deer were introduced to the Big Island as part of a trade in December 2009.
Rocha provided Grundhauser’s hunting ranch with about a dozen mouflon sheep that he raised at his small farm in Mountain View. In exchange, Grundhauser gave Rocha four axis deer from Maui that Rocha released on a private ranch on the Big Island.
If you go to Hawaii and don’t watch people surf then you’ve missed a big part of the culture. Even in Makawao, the town full of cowboys, hippies and art that was my first stop on Maui, I found a little surf shop. Hawaiians will be Hawaiian.
That said, there’s something different about the little drive to Makawao, something authentic. You have to pass through the trendy town of Pa’ia, which is also has a hippy and artistic flavor to it, although its far more developed and crowded than Makawao to the south along Route 390.
They have some charming little restaurants and shops in Pa’ia, which is a great place to meet up with friends in one of the fudge, coffee or ice cream shops.
Cafe Des Amis in Pa’ia has a very hospitable staff and fabulous crepes. There was a cute 30-year-old (I asked) Australian working behind the counter when I was there the first time and when I asked if they were on Twitter, he said: “What’s that?”
Along the way, there aren’t a lot of “big things” to see and do, but if you pay close enough attention, you’ll catch the smaller charming things you should take in, like the Hali’imaile General Store. There are sugar cane fields in all directions, all irrigated by water from the Hana coast.
Located on the mid-slopes of Maui’s Haleakala volcano, Makawao has one foot in its plantation past and another in its arts community. While this town is far from big, it is apparently the biggest little town in the region locally known as Upcountry Maui and is famous for its Hawaiian cowboys, or paniolo. While it may not feel quite as upcountry as it does further south along Route 377, it does cool off a little at night, although it was very hot and sunny when I was there.
FIRST PHOTO: Makawao Rodeo 2012 Queen Lauren Egger (on barrel) and Princess Jessica Hartley get the royal treatment from Hartley’s horse Sonny while competing in a Rescue Race at the Upcountry Farm and Ag Fair on Saturday afternoon at Oskie Rice Arena in Olinda. In the race, competitors must saddle their horse and race to rescue their partner stranded atop a barrel.
SECOND PHOTO: This duo toppled the barrel, however, and Sonny bolted into the air, landed with stiff legs and knocked the girls out of the race. The event also featured the Maui 4-H Livestock Show and Auction. The two-day event concludes today with animal showmanship contests scheduled to start at 9 a.m.
The 32nd Upcountry 4-H Ag & Farm Fair, a weekend of music, ‘ono food, games, exhibits, a rodeo–and the makings of great memories–will be held on Saturday and Sunday, June 9 and 10, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Oskie Rice Field & Arena on Olinda Road above Makawao. This year, the fair will honor Maui’s paniolo with a “Keeping the Spirit Alive” theme.
In partnership with Upcountry Fair, the Maui 4-H Livestock Association, a nonprofit organization specializing in youth and agriculture, will present its 2012 4-H Livestock Show & Auction beginning at 8 a.m., on Saturday, when 4-H members will show their goats, lambs, market hogs and beef steers. The auction begins at 1 p.m.
4-H projects and activities help youth develop life skills through livestock projects in which they take on the responsibilities of feeding, managing and exhibiting their animals. Students acquire knowledge and skills in selection, production, processing and marketing, which will help them establish future careers.
4-H members’ efforts culminate in the Maui 4-H Livestock Show, which provides opportunities for them to gain experience in showmanship and judging of an animal while practicing leadership and program planning skills.
Cooperative support from the business community and public agencies make these events possible. By purchasing an animal, your business can help a 4-H member meet the objectives of his or her livestock project and encourage him or her to become a responsible, productive individual.
The annual Upcountry Fair Ranch Play Day features the ‘Ohana Ranch Rodeo, which spotlights the ranching community’s paniolo heritage with two action-packed days of challenging events and competition that combine ranch skills, horsemanship and family games
MAKAWAO – The leaking, redwood Waikamoi flume would be replaced with an aluminum channel supported by an aluminum truss along its entire 1.1-mile length, retaining precious surface water for drought-plagued Upcountry residents and providing a safe working platform for employees of the Department of Water Supply.
The flume channels water from the Haipuaena Stream to the vicinity of Waikamoi Stream and eventually into the water department’s upper Kula system, which supplies water to residents of Kula, Waiakoa, Keokea, Ulupalakua and Kanaio.
The $10 million to $15 million flume replacement project, which is pending necessary approvals, is expected to begin in the last quarter of this year and take about two years go complete, according to plans submitted to the state Office of Environmental Quality Control.
The office published the department’s draft environmental assessment and anticipated finding of no significant impact last week in its current issue of The Environmental Notice. It is available online at oeqc.doh.hawaii.gov/Shared%Documents/Environmental_Notice/current_issue.pdf.
Public comments are due June 22.
Maui County Council Member Joe Pontanilla, chairman of the council’s Budget and Finance Committee, said Saturday that more than $10 million has been appropriated for the flume replacement project in the current county budget.
Located in the Koolau Forest Reserve, the flume was originally built in the 1930s out of redwood timbers and rock and concrete masonry foundations, according to the draft environmental assessment. In 1974 and 1975, the flume box was replaced with redwood planking, although portions of the timber bridges that were built in the 1930s were kept in place.
WAILUKU – The Maui Planning Commission unanimously approved permits Tuesday for Auwahi Wind Energy to build and operate eight 428-foot-tall wind turbines on Ulupalakua Ranch land.
Two dozen people testified on the proposed special use and special management area permits, and none were opposed to the project, according to planner Ann Cua. Some testifiers shared concerns about traffic, safety and visual impacts of the wind farm.
The project would have the capacity to generate 21 megawatts, which would be enough power to supply electricity to 10,000 homes. The $140 million project’s infrastructure includes an energy storage system; a 9-mile, 34.5-kilovolt power line; an interconnection substation; a microwave communication tower; and a construction access road. Each generator pad would require about 2.4 acres of cleared area, while the entire project would cover 1,466 acres, almost entirely on Ulupalakua Ranch land.
The project aims to provide power for Maui island only. It is not part of the “Big Wind” project, which calls for wind farms on Lanai and Molokai to provide power to Oahu via an underwater cable.
Commission members attached conditions to Auwahi’s permits, including one that requires Auwahi Wind, a division of Sempra, to work with the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and Ka Ohana O Kahikinui Inc. to develop a community benefits package. The groups would develop a plan and sign a memorandum of agreement addressing the roadway improvement and other needs of the Kahikinui homestead community.
The project area contains more than 1,100 archaeological features on 174 sites, and the developer has designed the turbines and power lines to avoid culturally sensitive burials and heiau.
Throughout September Maui farmers, ranchers, local food producers and friends of agriculture are teaming up to celebrate local food. We do this because we believe that agriculture matters on Maui.
Grown on Maui Chef Demos at Whole Foods Market
Maui every Monday in September, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
September 6 Tylun Pang, The Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui
September 12 Garret Fujieda, The Westin Maui Resort & Spa
September 19 Caroline Schaub O’o Farm
September 26 Ryan Luckey, Pineapple Grill at Kapalua Resort
Grown on Maui Flower Demos at Whole Foods Market
Maui every Tuesday in September, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
September 6 Sue Cuffe, Hana Fantasy Flowers
September 12 Carver Wilson, Maui Floral
September 19 Dan Judson, Orchids of Olinda
September 26 Maui Flower Growers Association
Wednesdays From 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. the Weed & Pot Club activities at Maui Nui Botanical Gardens will focus on Hawaiian food plant propagation and maintenance.
Monday-Friday Maui Pineapple Tour presents pineapple heritage tours at the newly established Hali’imaile Pineapple Plantation.
Tour Da Food: Experience the dishes that characterize Maui cuisine, learn about the traditions and people behind the plates, soak up a sense of place with intimate excursions to Maui’s off-the touristpath culinary treasures and come away with a deeper understanding of Maui’s multicultural community and history.
Every Tuesday – Ali’i Kula Lavender is offering $1 cups of tea and 50% off guided tours.
Eat Local Challenge 2011! – Maui residents and businesses participate in the statewide initiative organized by Kanu Hawai‘i.