If you’ve ever hiked across the miles of acres spanning the rocky Martian ground of Haleakala Crater or gazed upon Haleakala Ranch’s extensive pastures as paniolos go about their work and wondered how this all came to be, local author John Harrisson wrote a book for that. Harrisson’s Haleakala Ranch: Celebrating the 125th Anniversary provides such an in-depth look into Haleakala Ranch’s history that it won the Interpretive Media Award at Historic Hawai‘i Foundation’s 2015 Preservation Honor Awards Ceremony in Honolulu on June 7.
“We are honored by this award,” said Haleakala Ranch Company president Don Young in a June 7 Haleakala Ranch news release. “It is a privilege to be able to record the memories and stories of the Baldwin family and so many old-timers whose labor and dedication grew Haleakala Ranch and the larger Maui community in tandem over the past century.”
Harrisson underwent seven years of intensive research collecting anecdotes and backgrounds about the Upcountry Maui’s renowned ranch, which culminated in a book that goes way beyond a textbook timeline of historical events. The bound 125-years worth of stories about Haleakala Ranch merits the “media” part in its award title for its pictures of families and employees, enabling readers to empathize with all of the Ranch’s past generations. The visual component of Harrison’s book also helps readers see past their Western perceptions of Texan cowboys roaming tumbleweed towns on horseback.
His rich illustrations and photographs show readers that these old Upcountry generations were much like community members today who worked with fellow families to bring forth progressive developments on the island of Maui, as detailed in the author’s page on the Hawai‘i Book and Music Festival’s website. John Harrisson’s efforts to combine both narrative and visual elements using a personal tone has created a beautiful project that conveys the traditional spirit of aloha in its century-spanning biography of the Haleakala Ranch.
Haleakala Ranch: Celebrating the 125th Anniversary is available in Maui County’s public libraries as well as in all public and private high schools on the island.
Book image courtesy Haleakala Ranch