Suggestions for things to do to learn about Hawaii's native cultural history while in Maui.
May 26, 2010 6:24 AM   Subscribe

What are some things I can do/see on my upcoming trip to Maui to best learn about the island's native cultural history?

I'm interested in the pre-European part of Hawaii's history (although I'll probably check out some of the Whaling-period stuff) and would like to take advantage of actually being there to learn and experience more. What would be some places I could go to (are there ruins? really good museums? etc) for this? And if there are places where the reality hasn't been blunted so as to not offend delicate non-native tourist sensibilities, even better. And now that I think about it, the European-takeover period would probably be interesting to learn about too, so throw that on the list.

I am operating under the assumption that there's more available than just luau's at the resorts and other corny tourist stuff... I hope that's correct.
posted by TheManChild2000 to Society & Culture (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
I grew up on the Big Island, but only visited Maui once. I'd send an email to someone at the Maui Historical society and ask them. http://www.mauimuseum.org/index.php
posted by Nothing at 10:06 AM on May 26, 2010


The "ruins" you're thinking of are called heiaus. Check here: http://www.alternative-hawaii.com/activity/mhc.htm for a list of sites and museums. Also, don't miss sunrise on Haleakala - the most spectacular sunrise I've ever seen and worth getting up early for. Dress warmly.
posted by zanni at 3:04 PM on May 26, 2010


I searched and found MauiNei, which offers walking tours of Lahaina. I don't know how in-depth they go as far as pre-European-contact history, but the site claims they begin with the arrival of the first settlers to the islands. There's a fee for the tour.

These two state parks have ancient temples ("heiau"):
Halekii-Pihana Heiau State Monument
Wai‘anapanapa State Park
I think the rules are pretty strict regarding the temples, in that you can't climb onto anything or otherwise handle the plants and rocks in the area. These religious sites are pretty fragile, after all. I'm sure taking pictures is fine.

Another state park, the ‘Iao Valley State Monument, has some history attached to it, in addition to showing some of the flora brought over by the first settlers. And all three state parks are free admittance.
posted by CancerMan at 3:05 PM on May 26, 2010


I'm a published Maui travel guide author and private guide on Maui. Mefi mail me any questions you may have and I will answer to the best of my ability.
posted by Muirwylde at 1:07 AM on May 28, 2010


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