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New book explores history of Keka'a

The Lahaina News
October 23, 2014


I remember watching the Lahaina Citizens Advisory Committee hard at work updating the West Maui Community Plan in the early 1990s. Their pivotal moment was when they passed a recommendation to designate Keka'a (also called North Beach) in Kaanapali for open space.

CAC members - including the late Dave Chenoweth, the late Andrea Heath-Blundell and former County Councilman Dennis Nakamura - exchanged surprised smiles after their controversial move.

Keka'a was the only open tract between the resorts of Kaanapali and Honokowai. Residents wanted to keep it natural and beautiful, while developers had their sights on a prime location to build more hotels.

Similar to the recent Maui County General Plan review, the West Maui plan update turned out to be a gigantic waste of time. The document was gutted at the County Building, and the rest is history.

Locals and visitors can learn the whole story on Keka'a at Lahaina Public Library on Nov. 1 at noon, when author Sydney Lehua Iaukea debuts her new book, "Keka'a: The Making and Saving of North Beach West Maui."

According to the University of Hawaii Press, "Sydney Iaukea's impeccably researched account of the origins and subsequent development of North Beach West Maui is more than just a scholarly monograph. It is a story that chronicles both the Hawaiian history of the ?'aina as well as the waves of grass roots movements that sought to preserve precious spaces for future public use. Iaukea's personal connection to and love for this land is interwoven with the community's personalities and the decisions of Maui's county government."

A Mauian, Iaukea is an author, educator and surfer who holds a Ph.D. in Political Science with an emphasis on Hawaii politics. Formerly the Hawaiian Studies program manager at the Department of Education, she currently lectures at Windward Community College and the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Hopefully, the book can serve as a lesson for future battles on development vs. preservation.

U.H. Press noted that "Keka'a is a memoir of one place and a guide map for those still trying to save other spaces in Hawai'i."

North Beach West Maui Benefit Fund, Inc.

P O BOX 11329
LAHAINA, Hawaii 96761