MauiThe Valley Isle


The Valley Isle

Overview of Maui

Land Area: 727.2 square miles (1,883.4 sq. km).

Size Comparison: 2nd largest Hawaiian Island.

Island Emblem: Pua Lokelani—Damask Rose (Rosa species).

Highest Elevation: 10,023 feet (3,055 m), at the summit of Haleakalā.

Official Nickname: The Valley Isle.

[Visitor Information: Lahaina Courthouse, 648 Wharf Street, 808-667-9193. ]

[Maui Visitors Bureau:]

[Illustration: Map—Maui]

Ringed with beautiful beaches, quiet coves and hidden waterfalls, Maui is about 48 miles (77 km) long by 26 miles (42 km) wide. During the November to May whale-watching season Maui is one of the best Hawaiian Islands to view koholā (Megaptera novaeangliae, humpback whales) breaching.

A well-known local saying is “Maui nō ka ‘oi,” which translates to “Maui excels”[i] or “Maui is indeed the best.”[ii] This popular Hawaiian saying comes from a song by that name written by Reverend Samuel Kapū.

Maui was formed by two separate volcanoes, which today are bridged by an isthmus of land that connects the two parts of the island. The West Maui Mountains rise to 5,788 feet (1,764 m) at Pu‘u Kukui (“Candlenut hill”[iii]), and are older and more sculpted by erosion than the younger East Maui Mountains, which rise up broad, sloping hills to the 10,023-foot (3,055-m) summit of Haleakalā Volcano, a site of ancient Hawaiian astronomy.

Throughout the 1900s, Maui’s economy was centered on agriculture, especially sugar and pineapple. In the 1970s, resort development and tourism became the driving forces of Maui‘s economy.

Today the championship golf courses and beachfront resort hotels of western Maui’s Kā‘anapali and Kapalua are world-renowned, as is the bustling town of Lahaina. Other parts of the island remain remote, undeveloped, bathed in waterfalls and rainbows, and steeped in Maui’s rich cultural history.

[i] p. 234, Pukui, Mary Kawena. ‘Ōlelo No‘eau: Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1983. Proverb 2144.

[ii] Pukui, Mary Kawena, and Elbert, Samuel H. Hawaiian Dictionary: Revised and Enlarged Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1986.

[iii] Pukui, Mary Kawena, Elbert, Samuel H., and Mookini, Esther T. Mookini. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.