Maui County, Hawaii
Maui County is located in the center of the Hawaiian Islands. It is the second largest island of the state and is also referred to as the Valley Isle. With a dormant volcano, Haleakala, reaching height 10,024 feet you will know why! In fact, this volcano is one of the largest and most sought out volcanoes on all of Hawaii. With growing industries of tourism, sugar, pineapple, and cattle, Maui shows signs of great progress and prosperity in the future. It is also important to note, that one pound of refined sugar requires a ton of water to produce. At one point in time, sugar cane cultivation required 80% of the islands water supply. Solutions are being brought forth to achieve smarter development while keeping the richness and beauty of Maui intact.
The island has a resident population of 117,644 and the two major cities of Maui County are Wailuku and Kahului. This population on Maui is extremely diverse and includes many ethnic groups who have originally arrived to work sugar cane and pineapple plantations from countries of the Western Pacific rim.
On November 26, 1778, Captain James Cook became the first European explorer to discover Maui. Cook never set foot on the island because he was unable to find a suitable landing. It wasn’t until seven and a half years later that Jean François finally landed on the shores of what is now known as La Perouse Bay on May 29, 1786.
Very much like a woman who possesses a delicate and natural beauty, the islands in Hawaii are enchanting and uniquely alluring enough that they don't need to be glammed up just to be noticed. Sans the exuberance of ultra-modern structures and spots, the Aloha state manages to captivate tourists with its utter simplicity and unpretentiousness. Hawaii need not put up a false facade to impress others because its natural wonders, such as clear blue beaches and warm white or black sand shores, are enough to make the tourists coming back for more.
With eight major islands, including the magnificent Maui, Hawaii is a sight to behold for tourists. Maui County serves as an umbrella region which houses Lana`i, Moloka`i, Maui island, Kaho'olawe, and Molokini. This idyllic county occupies 6,213 square kilometers or 2,399 square miles, but only 3,002 square kilometers or 1,159 square miles are dry areas. The rest of the land area, 3,210 square kilometers, is composed of bodies of water.
According to the 2003 demographics data, the lovely Maui County has the entire population of 135,605, with a population density of 43 per square kilometer. Though native Hawaiians and Americans are dwelling in the place, Asians (mostly Filipino, Japanese, and Chinese descents) make up a significant portion of the population with 33.01%. Foreign residents with a minimum of two races also abound Maui County. Other dwellers of this fantastic county are Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics and Latinos, respectively making up 10.72% and 7.8% of the population.
With a mayor-council type of government (executive and legislative authorities), inhabitants of Maui County have the right to elect mayor and the rest of the nine public seats. Successful political candidates earn the legal authority to govern the region for four years and have the chance to run in the next election period.
Maui County's History
Some historians claim that famous explorer Captain James Cook, who also discovered most of the islands in Hawaii, supposedly unearthed Maui County. But Frenchman Jean Francois de Galaup is the one credited for formally discovering the paradisiacal region in 1786. Apparently, Cook didn't exactly set his foot on the region, though he may have spotted it first.
Few years later, thousands of European traders and loggers settled in select areas of the region, most especially Lahaina. Once these foreigners penetrated an island or town, culture and tradition were inevitably modified. In Lahaina, for instance, missionaries prohibited the natives from performing some of their traditions. But not all changes were necessarily negative. The same missionaries instilled the significance of education and religion in the natives. Since the residents were thought how to read and write, history was preserved and rescued from obscurity.
Centuries before the rule of great King Kamamameha I and the modern times, original dwellers of Maui County were Marquesas, Polynesians, and Tahitians who practiced their own system of government. It wasn't until the middle of the 1700s that the abovementioned King managed to get hold of the city and organize the economy and culture of the region. He chose Lahaina as the lone capital among other islands and towns in Maui County. This region was on the spotlight during the World War II, since it primarily served as venue for training and sanctuary for the soldiers. All throughout the duration of the war, more than a hundred thousand troops flocked this region.
Fast forward to the present times, Maui County and all the towns and islands located in it are enjoying stable economy, which zeroes in on agricultural and tourism industries. The region's colorful history brought about changes, which contributed in in its distinct identity.
Maui County's Attractions
Though Maui County exudes the same brand of refreshing and relaxing aura as with other places in Hawaii, this doesn't mean Maui has nothing new to offer. Tourists, in fact, will go gaga over the numerous destination spots to visit and activities to do in Maui County. Guests have an option to avail of ready-made or customized walking and bird's eye view tour packages, which extensively explore every nook and cranny of the region -- from rustic Maui island to idyllic Molo`kai.
Sometimes referred to as the "Valley Isle," the island of Maui is one of the frequently visited islands in Aloha state. This island, probably the most popular among the sites in Maui County, is an enthralling hub for nature lovers. Nestled on the eastern side of the island is the spectacular Haleakala Crater, touted as the biggest non-active volcano in the whole world. Check out the outskirts of the volcano for an ambrosial view of silversword flower and other interesting varieties of blooms. The opposite side of the island, particularly around the West Maui Mountains, features lavish rainforests and rows upon rows of dainty art galleries and cultural centers. The towns of Kihei and Lahaina are also worthy to be visited since wide arrays of notable bazaars and boutiques selling delightful and unique what-nots can be found in these places.
Aptly regarded as the quaint "Friendly Isle," Molo`Kai cradles the world's steepest sea cliffs and a brilliant 2,000-feet waterfalls. As the fifth biggest island in all of Aloha state, Molo`Kai boasts of notable informative and fun-filled destination spots like the Pala`au State Park, Moloka`i Museum and Cultural Center, and Papohaku Beach and Park. Maui and Moloka`i islands only make up the tip of the iceberg. Much spots and sights are waiting to be visited and appreciated in the lovely Maui County.
Maui County's Economy
Blossoming tourism industry aside, Maui County was naturally bestowed with abundant grounds and favorable climate, which makes the region conducive to production of agricultural products. The county's strong economy can be attributed to the truth that this region does not only rely on one or two varieties of crops or fruits. On the fertile soils of the Maui County grow diverse organic products such as cut flowers, papaya, sweet potatoes, strawberries, onions, and coffee.
Every island in vast Maui County has its own unique chief products and specialization. In Lanai, for example, pineapple remains to be the island's piece de resistance. Meanwhile, hotels and gourmet restaurants around Hawaii and the United States import distinctly flavored herbs and a curious product called apple bananas. Agriculture in Kula island, which thrives on strawberries and onions, is also in tiptop condition. The freshest and high-quality greens and fruits grown in this island are likewise exported in and out of Aloha state. Molokai island, however, specializes on aquaculture, with an emphasis on exportable tiger shrimps and tropical fishes. The latter island also supplies sweet potatoes, alfalfa, lettuce, tomato, and coffee in local Hawaii.
Maui County farmers believe that the region will still enjoy a flourishing economy, even if unfortunate circumstances are threatening the agriculture industry. Inevitable crisis such as heavy and prolonged rainfall can seriously affect the living condition of crops and other agricultural products. The government is currently in the process of studying the areas most likely to be hit by typhoons. Intense drought is also a major calamity that can paralyze Maui County's thriving agriculture. Apart from natural calamities, residents of this region are aware that their competitors, particularly Oahu island, are also doing their best to improve the quality of their products.