Few places in Hawaii are packed with as much history as Lahaina Town. It was Hawaii’s first capital, where the first church was built, the first mill, school, hotel, and where the first newspaper in Hawaii was established and printed.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be talking about the rich history of Lahaina. As place names are very important in Hawaii, we’ll start with a bit about the meaning of Lahaina.
Historically, Lahaina has had many different names. For example: Lele and Lāhainā. One of the meanings of Lahaina is ever-burning torch not darken by Kaua‘ula gales. (In Hawaiian: Kukui a‘ā mau pio ‘ole i ke kaua‘ula) In Hawaii, each district is said to have it’s own wind. The affiliate wind for Lahaina is Ka-ua-‘ula .
Other meaning are a variety of sugar cane or a variety of sweet potato. But the most common translation is cruel sun, which is said to be named for droughts. And plenty of sun it has. Nestled on the leeward side of the West Maui mountains, Lahaina is perfectly located to take full advantage of Maui’s great weather.
These attributes may explain why so much has taken place in this small place. It’s always attracted those looking for an ideal setting to work, live, and raise a family. Next week, we’ll delve into the 1800s; a time of dichotomy. A time of puritanic missionaries and raucous whalers. Stay tuned…