Running for: East Maui Councilmember
Occupation: Chair of the Maui County Cultural Resource Commission, organic farmer
MAUI TIME WEEKLY: Why should people vote for you?
SAM KALALAU: I’ve been very
active in Maui County for the past 25 years. I’ve sat on various boards
and commissions, like the Planning Commission and the Grants Review
Commission. I’ve also stood on the Lanai Burial Council, which is a
state board. Presently I am the chair of the Maui County Cultural
What’s the biggest problem facing East Maui right now?
One of the biggest problems I think is our old, overused highway
system. Hana Highway needs to be improved for safety, and in the
meantime we need to protect the cultural values of the highway.
Your father was on the original Hokule`a crew that sailed to Tahiti in 1976. How did that affect you?
That was neat because I had the opportunity to help a lot with the
inter-island Hokule`a voyages in the ’70s. Then I flew down and met
them when they arrived in Papeete, Tahiti. I felt a connection with the
people down there. The only difference was the language barrier—they
speak Tahitian and French—and they drive on the opposite side of the
highway. And they have siesta time, where they close down all the shops
in the afternoon and take a nap. I think they should have that in
What do you think about the Superferry?
As a Hawaiian—as somebody who was involved with Hokule`a—and because
on land we get all this traffic congestion, I think the Hawaiians had
the right idea with ocean travel. I do think ocean travel would help
the congestion on land. Maybe the answer isn’t the Superferry, but
other types of ocean travel. You go Tahiti, New Zealand, Hong Kong, or
Indonesia, they have super ocean traffic with boats and ferries.
Hawai`i doesn’t utilize that opportunity. Whether Hawai`i is ready for
the Superferry—with our ports and infrastructure—is really the
What about George W. Bush?
Enough is enough. I think he should get more of his priorities in
line… I have a son and he’s been to Iraq three times—in fact he’s still
there. I think he should start bringing everyone home already.
What would you do about ice?
It’s an epidemic. The state and county are coming on real strong,
but more needs to be done. There’s no treatment house on Maui—people
have to go to Oahu to get clean. It’s very important for these guys
when they get back home to have a job or place to go back. I am
supporting building a housing project for those people when they come
back home—a half-way house—in Hana.
What’s the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you?
I kind of get along with everybody real well. I no shame. If you no shame, you no more embarrassing moment.
What’s the last book you read?
It’s a little book called Letters to the Valley. The author is David
Mas Masumoto. It’s all about a little farm and growing up in the old
What’s your favorite thing about Maui?
Maui is unique. We can still live the way we want to live. We still
have those quality moments and quality places we can connect with. MTW