Spring Upon Maui

Sunday April 1, 2018

Sunflowers sprung up on Maui’s verdant fields once again. A sight to behold against the backdrop of majestic Haleakala, I found myself briefly parking to sneak a pic of what is a nice surprise given that this not too familiar flower which faces the sun to bask in its warmth is rare among Hawaii’s flora. Piikake, ginger, birds of paradise, bromeliades and orchids are in abundance here. Therein, lies the question, why here and why now?

The era of sugar cane plantations came to its demise when Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Co. ended sugar production after 145 years. Last year saw a new player on the field when Hawaii’s pioneering renewable energy company, Pacific Biodiesel first cultivated the fast growing crop on a 14-acre field.. Some 1,330 gallons of precious sunflower oil were generated and more of such projects are planned in the foreseeable future. Promoting environmentally responsible, sustainable practices, and supporting the local agricultural economy are among its core values. Spreading “Kuleana” (meaning ‘responsibilty’ in Hawaiian) with a new line of oils and skin care products, made right here by Maiden Hawaii Naturals, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary will spring up in the market, and Spring is perfect!

IMReady, University of Hawaii- Maui College’s student exchange program has joined this burst of Spring. IMR stands for I AM READY. Like our biodiesel from sunflowers, this is a pioneering program. Four students have been selected initially to allow them to study in prestigious Philippine schools for a semester. The immersion program envisions that students will study significant interests for both Hawaii and the Philippines. The UH Maui College International Office jump started this partnership with Maui County’s Sister City Foundation for travel to study.

Imua Services, one of my fave charities on island which serves children and their families has its annual Spring event with a unique theme to enhance the annual fund raiser. “Bollywood” was it this year. And was it a blast! I was among beautiful, generous folks awash in splendid Indian attire Surely, the gathering elicited a rousing response to the well attended and energized event.A spectacular not- to- be missed evening, the graceful dances, inimitable performances and sumptuous Indian food capped my night as I sashayed along with my peers in their ‘saris’ and turbans galore. Namaste!

A solemn gathering on the beach at sunset winds down Maui Mania on this Spring issue. Gregory Dean Kaufman, founder of Pacific Whale Foundation was celebrated by a once-in-a-lifetime gathering of the PWF fleet. A canoe from Pacific Cancer foundation took his ashes to the middle of the circle of boats and with the Hawaiian traditional burial, the chants and prayers sent his spirit to be with the gods. We floated flowers to sea and the boats circled around the burial spot eight times. As they sailed into the breathtaking sunset, I was told the boats suddenly came upon a 60 foot False Killer Whale, such a rare sighting indeed! The behemoth touching each of the boats as if on cue from the man who made it a reality in his lifetime to leave a legacy and promise to save our gentle creatures from extinction. Farewell, Greg. A new Spring has begun.

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