Honokowai is where it all began. Extensive archeological surveys of Honokowai Valley conducted in 1999 revealed that beneath the tangle of foliage lay numerous archaeological sites, including homes, farms, trails and heiaus (places of worship). These findings showed that within the valley was once a thriving, self-sufficient village of about 600 families, likely dating from more than a century ago.
By the 1920s, sugar dominated the islands’ economy, and streamwater was diverted for its cultivation. Without a source of fresh water, the sustainability of the village vanished, and families had to abandon the valley and find new ways to live.
In 2002, when Ed Lindsey founded Maui Cultural Lands to facilitate the restoration of cultural sites, Honokowai was number one on the list. As the most historically significant in the region, with the most prolific archaeological remains, the site deserved immediate attention.