Maui Nei Native Expeditions was an organization that ran authentic Hawaiian cultural tours in Lahaina and Kaanapali. These walking tours were entertaining as well as educational. Unfortunately, they went out of business and their tours discontinued on April 30, 2018.
There were three tour choices from Maui Nei: Lahaina History & Culture, Discover Old Hawaii, and Kaanapali History & Legends. The first of those, Lahaina History & Culture, is a 2-hour tour that walks you through Lahaina while demonstrating and telling about the town’s history, from before western contact, through the times of the missionaries, the whaling days, the Hawaiian monarchy, and the plantation era. The second tour choice, Discover Old Hawaii, is 3.5 hours, and is the best of the three tours, because it includes hands-on lessons allowing you to learn such ancient skills as taro pounding, nose flute making and playing, print stamping, cordage braiding, dance, song and chant (not every skill is taught on every tour). The third choice of tours, Kaanapali History & Legends, 2 hours, walks you along Kaanapali Beach and golf course while you learn about Hawaiian mysteries and warrior battles, ancient villages, and plantation life.
I took the Discover Old Hawaii tour in March of 2018. Although I have been coming to Maui every year for over 35 years, and have made an effort to learn about its history and culture, I still learned many new things from the excellent guides and teachers of Maui Nei. As shown in the photos and video below, I loved the experiences of print-making with red dirt dye on taro cloth, making and attempting to play a bamboo nose flute, pounding taro root into poi, and keeping those things that I had made as remembrances of my tour.
One of the most important things I learned on this tour was the importance of Mokuula, an area of former wetlands in Lahaina that was home to high chiefs of Hawaii since the 16th century and a royal residence in the 19th century. Kamehameha III ruled Hawaii from Mokuula from 1830 to 1845, when Lahaina was the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii. One of the fun things I learned on the tour was that the stacked coral stones at the two front corners of Banyan Tree Park in Lahaina are not the actual stones of the fort that used to be there. These current pieces of stone walls were built for the 1961 movie “The Devil At 4 O’Clock” starring Frank Sinatra and Spencer Tracy.
Maui Nei means this Maui of ours that we embrace and care for. That’s certainly an appropriate name for the organization that produces these cultural tours, giving residents and visitors an appreciation of Maui’s history.
Details about each tour, and booking arrangements, are at MauiNei.com.
See photos and video below. Or click for more things to do on Maui.
Maui Nei Tour Photos
Teaching printing with red dirt dye
Printing on tapa cloth
Nose flute teacher
Making nose flute from bamboo
Teacher for poi pounding
Pounding taro root into poi
Learning about Mokuula
Learning Lahaina history
Click to play video:
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