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Welcome to Maui!
“Here today, gone to Maui!”  This beautiful island is home to beautiful beaches, fantastic golf, dormant volcanoes, and wonderful whale watching.

Maui Fast Facts
• Area: 727 sq. miles (second largest of the Hawaiian Islands.)
• Population: 117,659
• Density: 162 people per square mile
• Island Flower: Lokelani
• Island Color: Pink
• Nickname: The Valley Isle
• Highest Point: Haleakalā (10,023 ft)
• Political: Part of Maui County (Wailuku is the seat of the county government)

Many people instantly think “Maui” when thinking of Hawai’i. I’m not sure if that’s because a lot of people go there, or because the island has a better “PR” machine than the others. For many years, “going to Maui” was what the beautiful people did, eschewing, they would tell you, the busy, crowded streets of Honolulu in order to hang out at some of the world’s most spectacular resorts, hotels and beaches.

Maui has a lot to offer anyone and everyone who is interested in the Islands, but in today’s context I think it is most widely known for its magnificent golf courses, its beaches, whale watching and Haleakalā, the larger of the two mountains that comprise the island.

Maui Geological History

Geologists have determined that the lava rock on the west end of the island is about 2 million years old, which means the volcanoes that produced it broke the surface before that. Maui is comprised of two volcanoes—the older West Maui volcano, and Haleakalā. They are joined by a narrow isthmus between them.

West Maui Volcano

The West Maui volcano rises about 5,790 feet above sea level and is 18 miles long and 15 miles wide. Scientists believe that the building of the young shield volcano to the west was completed about 1.3 million years ago and the mountain had a caldera at the summit about 2 miles in diameter. That’s big! “Haleakalā” means “House of the Sun” and In ancient Hawaiian tradition, the demigod Maui used a net to trap the sun as it crossed the sky above the island, slowing it sufficiently so that his Hina, (mother), could dry her kappa cloth.


Haleakalā is big, really big: 33 miles long and a little more than 20 miles wide, and it is believed to have first broken the surface of the ocean about 900,000 years ago. The summit is 10,025 above sea level, high enough to get snow. While not as high as Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa (both on the Big Island), Haleakalā is the largest volcano in the Islands, when considering total volume (above and below sea level.)

After erupting forcefully for approximately 200,000 years, the formation of the shield slowed; it was about then that explosive eruptions became more prevalent and continued for another 350,000 years. By this time Haleakalā had drifted to the northwest to approximately the position now occupied by Hawai’i's Mauna Kea. Haleakalā is now 140 miles to the northwest of the hot spot.

Haleakalā began another set of eruptions about 100,000 years ago, and they continue, somewhat subdued. Lava flowing down the mountain’s western slopes lapped up against the eastern side of the West Maui volcano, helping to form the isthmus between them.

Native Hawaiian tradition gives the origin of the island’s name in the legend of Hawai’iloa, the Polynesian navigator credited with discovery of the Hawaiian Islands. The story goes that he named the island of Maui after his son who in turn was named for the demigod Māui. The Island of Maui is also called the “Valley Isle” for the large isthmus between its northwestern and southeastern volcanoes.

Whales & Whale Watching

Maui is a leading whale-watching center in the Hawaiian Islands due to Humpback whales wintering in the sheltered ‘Au’ au Channel between the islands of Maui county. The whales migrate approximately 3,500 miles (5,600 km) from Alaskan waters each autumn and spend the winter months mating and birthing in the warm waters off Maui, with most leaving by the end of April. The whales are typically sighted in pods: small groups of several adults, or groups of a mother, her calf, and a few suitors. Humpbacks are an endangered species protected by U.S. federal and Hawai’i state law. There are estimated to be about 18,000 humpbacks in the North Pacific. Although Maui’s Humpback face many dangers, due to pollution, high speed commercial vessels, and military sonar testing, their numbers have increased rapidly in recent years, estimated at 7% growth per year.

Maui is home to a large rainforest on the northeastern flanks of Haleakalā, which serves as the drainage basin for the rest of the island. The extremely difficult terrain has prevented exploitation of much of the forest.

Agricultural and coastal industrial land use has had an adverse effect on much of Maui’s coastal regions. Many of Maui’s extraordinary coral reefs have been damaged by pollution, runoff, and tourism, although finding sea turtles, dolphins, and Hawai’i's celebrated tropical fish, is still common.


Polynesians, from Tahiti and the Marquesas, were the original peoples to populate Maui. The Tahitians introduced the kapu system, a strict social order that affected all aspects of life and became the core of Hawaiian culture. Modern Hawaiian history began in the mid-1700s. King Kamehameha I, king of Hawaii’s “Big Island,” invaded Maui in 1790 and fought the inconclusive Battle of Kepaniwai, but returned to Hawaii to battle a rival, finally subduing Maui a few years later. Click here to continue reading…

Maui’s Climate

The climate of the Hawaiian Islands is characterized by a two-season year, mild and uniform temperatures everywhere (except at high elevations), marked geographic differences in rainfall, high relative humidity, extensive cloud formations (except on the driest coasts and at high elevations), and dominant trade-wind flow (especially at elevations below a few thousand feet). Maui itself has a wide range of climatic conditions and weather patterns that are influenced by several different factors in the physical environment. Click here to continue reading…

Today’s Economy

The two major industries on Maui are agriculture and tourism.

However, government research groups and high technology companies have discovered that Maui has a business environment favorable for growth in those sectors. Agriculture value-added enterprises are growing rapidly.

Coffee, macadamia nuts, papaya, tropical flowers, sugar and fresh pineapple are just some of Hawaii’s premium exports and are a great example of its diversified agriculture. Maui Land & Pineapple Company and Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company (HC&S, a subsidiary of Alexander and Baldwin Company) dominate agricultural activity. HC&S produces sugarcane on about 37,000 acres (150 km2) of the Maui central valley, the largest sugarcane operation remaining in Hawaii. Click here to continue reading…