Maui No Ka Oi, A Window To The World

West Maui is considered a ‘window to the world’ because this area has seen the comings and goings of rival chiefs, kings, missionaries, whalers, government officials, the military, sugar and pineapple plantation owners, early labor immigrants, celebrities and travelers for centuries.

This ‘window’ is a metaphor. As a ‘window to the world,’ the stories of West Maui give a bigger perspective of the world, than we would otherwise have, and helps us to expand our view and broaden our understanding of the world.

History tells us much about a community – what it is and where it has come from. West Maui has a rich history dating back to the times of: Pre-contact Hawaiʻi; Hawaiian Monarchy; American Protestant Missionaries; Whaling industry; Sugar and Pineapple Plantations; and Evolution of the West Maui Community.

Each successive passage of an era has added to the cultural richness of the community. And through the tireless efforts of numerous organizations and individuals in the community, much has been done to preserve the historic character of West Maui town and to restore historic sites.

The island of Maui is divided into twelve moku; Kāʻanapali, Lāhainā, Wailuku, Hāmākuapoko, Hāmākualoa, Koʻolau, Hāna, Kīpahulu, Kaupō, Kahikinui, Honuaʻula and Kula. Two of these, Kāʻanapali and Lāhainā make up West Maui.

Probably there is no portion of our Valley Isle, around which gathers so much historic value as West Maui. It was the former capital and favorite residence of kings and chiefs.

After serving for centuries as Royal Center to ruling chiefs, West Maui was selected by Kamehameha III and his chiefs to be the seat of government; here the first Hawaiian constitution was drafted and the first legislature was convened.

Hawai‘i’s whaling era began in 1819 when two New England ships became the first whaling ships to arrive in the Hawaiian Islands. Over the next two decades, the Pacific whaling fleet nearly quadrupled in size and in the record year of 1846, 736-whaling ships arrived in Hawai’i.

Although Honolulu was originally the port most favored by the whalers, West Maui often surpassed it in the number of recorded visits, particularly from about 1840 to 1855.