No ka oi Maui Magazine
This was the official website for the Nokaoi Maui Magazine.
Content is from the site's 2008 archived pages, offering just a small example of what this island magazine had to offer its readership.
The current website for Nokaoi Maui Magazine is: https://mauimagazine.net/ where you can find all the latest information about this exotic tropical island.
No ka ‘oi means “the best”
Maui No Ka ‘Oi is the magazine for people who love Maui. We produce six handsome issues a year, each a celebration of award-winning photography and editorial on the people, places and events that make Maui “no ka ‘oi”. As the only newsstand-quality magazine devoted entirely to the best island in the world Maui No Ka ‘Oi is known among our readers for authenticity, timeliness, and an insider's view of island life.
Every issue delivers a variety of topics, enticing readers with everything from outdoor Maui adventures to the latest in island dining. Going beyond just a general interest, our editorial caters to those who have a place in their heart for Maui through exploring native culture, reporting on environmental and community concerns and delving into hot-button topics that are on the top of residents’ minds. And our special annual sections offer fun, must-have advice and information on some of Maui’s most notable topics, including golf, destination weddings, and island-style homes and gardens.
Winter, January 2008
Transient vacation rentals, long a quiet part of the Maui tourism industry, are a noisy new
Illustrations by Guy Junker
To hear a former Kïhei resident tell it, vacation rentals were one reason she left Maui four years ago. “People have a right to live in residential areas and not be imposed on by vacationers coming and going and making a racket, who are plain inconsiderate of people who have to get up and go to work.”
A current owner of a bed-and-breakfast, however, has quite a different impression of her guests. “They’re people who come here and want to be in the community during their visit, spend money locally and help keep areas like Ha‘iku country.”
Noisy or nurturing? A cottage industry that’s a source of jobs for local people or a drain on affordable housing that drives them off the island? Such arguments about transient, or short-term, vacation rentals (TVRs) have raged for years, but they’ve now been kicked up several notches as the County has simultaneously cracked down on nonpermitted TVRs and proposed a package of ordinances that in many areas will severely restrict them. Those who view these accommodations as a threat to their way of life have won the support of the mayor; those whose livelihoods depend on TVRs have taken the issue to the courts.
Over the past few years TVRs and bed-and-breakfasts have proliferated. Some are “‘ohanas,” auxiliary dwellings intended only as long-term rentals for one’s extended ‘ohana, or family—and thus outright illegal as TVRs. Then there are units in areas zoned for apartments, businesses and resorts, which allow TVRs.
“The vast majority of the 18,000-plus TVRs in Maui County are legal,” says Joseph Alueta, administrative planning officer with the county’s Department of Planning, who helped draft and review the legislation regulating nonpermitted TVRs. Before 1991, he explains, only an apartment/condominium’s bylaws determined whether a unit could be rented out short-term, regardless of where the building was located. When the law changed, those older buildings were grandfathered. “So if your condo was built prior to 1991, and its bylaws allowed TVRs, you could buy a unit there tomorrow and rent it legally as a TVR,” says Alueta. “If the bylaws forbid short-term rentals, you couldn’t. If your condo was built after 1991, and it’s not located in a hotel or resort district, short-term rental is illegal, no matter what the bylaws say.”
Finally, there are multiunit homes in agricultural, rural and residential areas. It’s these bucolic hideaways around which most of the controversy swirls. Everyone concedes that the permitting process that has faced TVR and B&B owners in communities like Pa‘ia, Ha‘iku and other places Upcountry has been a years-long ordeal of jumping through bureaucratic hoops, with television-reality-show odds of a successful conclusion. According to Dr. David Dantes, president of the Maui Vacation Rental Association (MVRA), over the last six years, only eight out of eighty TVR applicants have obtained a permit. Review by fifteen different agencies, three or four public hearings before approval is granted . . . the red tape created a backlog that both the Apana and Arakawa administrations wanted cleared up, but no bills successfully passed the council.
Meanwhile enforcement of the existing regulations was deferred, except when complaints triggered Notices of Violation. As recently as March 17, 2007, when yet another bill was filed away, it seemed the laissez-faire attitude would continue. Instead Mayor Charmaine Tavares and the planning department declared a grace period until January 1 of this year, during which all establishments without permits, whether their owners had never applied or were simply caught in the logjam, would be forced to “phase out operations.”
Spring, March 2008
Managing the Mountain
Haleakala National Park’s newest superintendent tackles traffic on the summit.
Photography by Haleakala National Park | Ron Dahlquist
Haleakala, Maui’s tallest peak, possesses a magnetism that draws nearly two million people to its summit each year. They come to witness Haleakala National Park’s awe-inspiring volcanic terrain, spectacular array of native species, and superior view of the sun and stars. Activity companies woo visitors with competing tours: see the summit by bus, van, downhill bike, horseback, or helicopter.
Unfortunately, wilderness and commercial enterprise don’t necessarily mesh well. Maxed-out parking lots, trouble on the trails, and a recent fatal collision between a biker and bike van spurred park Superintendent Marilyn Parris and her team to buckle down on commercial activity at the park—pleasing some park users and alienating others.
A tall, imposing woman with a deep, gravelly voice, Parris has decades of park management under her belt. She left her most recent post at Lassen Volcanic National Park in California to take the reigns at Haleakala in October 2005.
“When I got here, I thought, ‘This is a mob scene,’” says Parris. “The park had turned into Disneyland, and the summit is one of the most sacred places to Hawaiian culture.”
Haleakala was among the first sites designated for preservation when Congress established the National Park Service back in 1916. Today, Haleakala National Park is a tremendous natural and cultural resource: 34,294 acres of public land, including 28,819 acres of wilderness.
Summer, August 2008
Drawing Lines in the Sand
Maui’s population is growing. The number of beach parks is not. As pressure mounts, activity companies say the County has left them stranded
Photography by Jason Moore
Daydreaming about taking a scuba dive or kayak tour of Maui’s rugged southern coast? Better check if it’s permitted, first. The island’s idyllic shoreline has recently become the stage of a tug-of-war between ocean-activity operators and Maui County regulating forces.
Complaints that county beach parks are overcrowded and that unregulated businesses are benefiting at the public’s expense spurred Parks and Recreation officials to revise the rules governing commercial ocean-recreation activity (CORA). When the County released the proposed new rules last August, local business owners panicked.
Currently, fifty companies hold permits to offer surfing, windsurfing, kiteboarding, scuba diving, snorkeling, or kayaking excursions at twenty-two beaches islandwide. The proposed new ordinance would have limited the number of CORA permits issued, nullified the transfer of permits, specified limited hours during which commercial activity is allowed, required the use of shuttles to alleviate parking congestion at some beaches, and eliminated several beaches formerly open to commercial use.
Fearing these strict new regulations would drive them out of business, several CORA operators wrote letters to The Maui News and petitioned lawmakers to reconsider. In response, County officials placed a moratorium on new CORA permits, and extended current permits until the new rules could be hammered out. Months have passed, numerous public meetings have been held, several revised drafts of the rules have been circulated, and there’s still no consensus on exactly how to manage commercial business at county beach parks.
At a Kïhei Community Association meeting in April, activity operators sat down with concerned community members to brainstorm solutions. It was a chance for stakeholders to discuss problems face to face. While County representatives declined to attend, suggestions made throughout the evening were compiled and submitted to the Parks Department.
Local resident Michael Duberstein was among those at the Kïhei meeting with concerns about commercial traffic’s effect on the natural resources.
“I don’t know the answer, but some sort of understanding has to be reached with these commercial operators who say they’re doing everything to protect the reefs,” says Duberstein. “It’s a little hard to just go on their word. We know the coral reefs are suffering. Every study that’s been done on reefs shows that they’re in desperate condition.”
While concerns about marine impacts are valid, they don’t fall directly under the purview of the County ordinance. County jurisdiction ends at the high-water mark, where the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) takes over. The County’s focus is on land, where commercial vans and buses monopolize parking, and equipment such as dive tanks and kayaks take up precious real estate on beach walkways.
“Complaints from the general public regarding the overcrowding of beach parks, the lack of adequate parking, the need for upgraded restroom facilities, better shower drainage, more picnic tables, more barbecues, and less people to scare fish away are made many times a week to our staff,” says Parks and Recreation Director Tamara Horcajo. “These are usually anonymous and come out of frustration from individuals or families who want quiet time at the beach park.”
Ironically, CORA operators have voiced some of the loudest complaints to the County, petitioning officials to regulate the renegade, fly-by-night operations that give the industry a bad name.
“There are some very good and solidly built ordinances that aren’t being enforced,” says Kiteboarding School of Maui owner Martin Kirk. “The rules say you can’t have a van at the beach. Right now we have guys on the beach who don’t have a permit, who don’t have insurance. They’re renting equipment out of their cars. I’m operating at a huge economic disadvantage because they get all the walk-in traffic.” Kirk went as far as hiring an attorney to convince the County to enforce its own rules—to no avail. “All I want is the County to be consistent—either enforce the rules or eliminate them. Right now I follow the rules and I can’t be competitive.”
Thanks to the recent hiring of four park rangers, enforcement is likely to be more consistent in the future. But that only partly answers Kirk’s worries.
“My concern is that the current parks director really has an agenda: to literally drive us out of business, which would allow the County to put the parks up for bid. That was one of the first things she told me after taking office.”
Horcajo maintains that isn’t the case. “Concession agreements, where companies bid for the business, are something we could look at in the future. It isn’t what we’re looking at so far.”
Responding to criticism that the regulating process has been antagonistic to the industry, Horcajo says, “I have felt it and I’m really sorry. We know that the services are wanted. But more people are here now. We don’t have a lot of beaches, we aren’t getting new facilities, and the parking is maxed out. The time has come. We have to draw the line.”
Fall, October 2008
To the Rescue
Call him courageous. Call him crazy. He's the man they call when there's danger between the devil and deep blue sea.
By 1992, Hawai‘i Island’s ever-shifting Kilauea eruption had concentrated itself again inside fiery Pu‘u ‘O‘o—a raw pit filled with noxious gasses rising from a boiling orange pond of lava. In November of that year, a charter helicopter hovered over the caldera as a videocam-wielding passenger marveled every time the strong East Hawai‘i winds pushed the toxic whiteness aside to expose the blazing cauldron below. Then the worst thing possible happened. The chopper lost power and fell.
Instead of dropping into the lava pond to be flash-fried, the flying machine hooked onto the inner wall of the caldera. There the passengers waited for certain death—either roasted by a lava fountain or gassed by sulfuric acid or just abandoned by the world, because no one in his right mind would ever come into Pu‘u ‘Oo caldera to rescue them.
No one, that is, but Don Shearer.
“Before that happened, I thought I could do anything,” says Don, the owner and hero-in-charge of Windward Aviation. His company’s major assets—beyond balls, brains, and nonstop aerial performance—currently consist of four Hughes 500D helicopters that are painted a billiard-ball-brilliant shade of yellow. “That yellow is the brightest color I could find that wouldn’t fade,” Don told me. “My biggest fear is a mid-air collision.”
If you live on Maui, you have probably seen these gleaming yellow “flying eggs” against the rich blue daytime sky. Maybe you saw them dropping 120-gallon buckets of water (dipped out of swimming pools) against the forefront of a recent Kïhei scrub fire. Or lifting injured hikers out of remote canyons. Or hovering over the otherwise-inaccessible native forest, hitting invasive species with pinpoint-accurate blasts of herbicide. Or zooming over the monster waves of Jaws, shooting surf footage with hand-held cameras or with gyrostabilized Cineflex camera mounted above the skids. Or whisking bikini models to remote locations for fashion shoots, or delivering roof trusses to remote construction sites.
For Steven Spielberg, Don and crew sling-loaded into the boonies enough material to construct a village; when the filmmaker changed his mind, they sling-loaded the materials back out. Sometimes they drop flowers over funerals or graduations.
Windward Aviation operates out of three hangars tucked up close to the control tower of Kahului Airport. According to Don, his outfit is responsible for 85 percent or more of the utility-helicopter services in the State of Hawai‘i. He and his pilots are certified not only for all FAA-regulated functions (including crop-spraying and hauling hazardous materials), but also for the “more hardcore” standards of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Department of Defense, and the Drug Enforcement Agency—in other words, for everything. Don says that it costs the company up to $30,000 just to get a pilot completely certified.
Needless to say, the job requires not only nerve, but also extraordinary skills and experience.
Don Shearer himself is one of those rare people who just was not going to be happy unless he escaped the force of gravity. As a high school sophomore in Redondo Beach, California, he talked his way early into his school’s aeroscience program.
His side job at Kentucky Fried Chicken didn’t pay enough for him to afford flying lessons, so at age eighteen he traveled to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to get trained as an FAA-certified mechanic. Shortly thereafter he landed a job with a start-up company called Robinson Helicopter, which is today the world’s leading producer of civil helicopters. From there, Don proceeded to get “every license you can get.”
He came to Maui in 1986. “When I moved here, I was a broke-[bleep] flight instructor,” he says. “I had nothing. I owed the IRS a bunch of money and I had holes in my underwear. Today I have the best friends anyone could ever have, and I still have holes in my underwear, but I don’t owe the IRS anything.” He created Windward Aviation in 1990, intending to offer tour-flying services. No bank would loan him money, so he leased his first helicopter, using funds borrowed from private parties at hair-raising interest rates.
Maui No Ka ‘Oi magazine readers are Hawai‘i’s most coveted audience– qualified, high-income return visitors and second-home residents, as well as Maui‘s affluent and influential kama‘aina (local) communities.
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