Chapter 22 – Alaka’i Paleka
Can you tell me a little about yourself?
I’m the program director of the only Hawaiian radio music station on Maui. I’ve been here for 29 years. I work at the Royal Lahaina Luau as the MC. And I MC all of the Hawaiian functions on Maui. I’m a half-breed. My mother is German and my father is Hawaiian. I was born on Oahu where my dad was a marine. I grew up in Pasadena and moved to Maui when I was 4 years old.
Can you tell me what brought you to Maui?
I bought the family house and moved back to Maui when I was 27. I’ve always wanted to live on Maui because I loved Maui as a child.
Can you tell me about Kahului?
It’s the capitol town of Maui. It has four shopping centers in a one-mile radius. This is where our radio station is located, and I live three blocks down the street. It’s an urban area in terms of Hawaii, but no one from the mainland would call it urban.
If you were choose a section of Maui to live in, where would you choose?
Paia, because it’s the closest to my stomping ground, but it has nice beaches and nice homes. This is assuming someone would just give me a house, not that I would buy it. I would want to live in Paia Kuau, in that area.
Who lives in your part of the island?
It’s mostly populated by county, state, and business workers. The majority—maybe 60% of the population is established. There’s not a lot of new population here. This is the old-school, working class area.
What do you like about living in Kahului that was a surprise to you?
I was surprised that I still know the people. You never know who you are going to be related to. I know my classmates’ grandchildren. The net is cast wide when it comes to people in Hawaii. Any two people can probably find some common family member.
What sort of people would like living in your neighborhood?
My neighborhood is great for worker people that have jobs, that look forward to retiring in their same home and passing it on to their children or grandchildren. That that is their house, their special place. I’d say most of the homes in my neighborhood are on less than a quarter of an acre. Where I live was called Dream City, where they put affordable housing back a long time ago. Everyone has a Plumeria Tree, not a white picket fence.
What sort of cultural activities are available to you?
You can dance hula, you can sing hula, you can do martial arts. You can do Maui Academy of Performing Arts for American stage artists. There’s something for every culture.
How is the weather?
Gorgeous. It’s war, and lately the whole world’s been hot. Our winter hasn’t been very wintry. So we are stuck at 65-70 degrees. There is good visibility. We don’t have seasons, so it’s just beautifully warm and sunny all the time.
If you could, what would you change about Maui?
I’d build more homes, more affordable homes, on bigger lots. We have a lot of people coming to Maui with a lot of money because they can afford to buy paradise. So that ups the supply and demand. We need more affordable homes on bigger lots so we can all grow victory gardens.
What advice would you give someone considering a move to the Maui area?
Do your homework. Because on Maui we still burn sugar cane, if you have asthma don’t come here. Find out about the culture about where you live, and know your neighbor. You shouldn’t buy a palace in the middle of a cultural reserve, even if you can afford it. Check out what’s going on with the land you want to purchase.
Do you visit the other islands often?
They are not as great as Maui. The people make Maui special
What do you do to stay out of the way of the tourists?
I work at a luau so I appreciate tourists. They pay my salary! I enjoy tourists.
How are the business opportunities? Would you recommend moving here without finding work first?
It would depend on your skill level. Like any job, if you show up and work well, it’s hard to get fired. Show up on time, have a great attitude. You would have to go entry level to get hired on Maui. You’d have to prove yourself.
How is the cost of living, compared with other areas you have lived?
It’s high. I deal with it by working two jobs. That’s the price of paradise, but I’ll work my two jobs to live on Maui.
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