North Beach-West Maui Benefit Fund Inc.
Softcover, 176 pp.
Soon after moving to Maui in 1983, Michelle Anderson met Maui County historian Inez Ashdown, who was then 83 years old. They hit it off immediately and Michelle became Mrs. Ashdown’s close companion for the remainder of her life. She took Mrs. Ashdown holo-holo all across Maui and escorted her to many events and to her weekly show at the old Kapalua Bay Hotel. Michelle developed a deep appreciation for the wahi pana (storied places) of Maui during these outings with Mrs. Ashdown, who regaled her with stories of the distant past in every district they visited. Michelle came to realize that many of her Hawaiian friends had never heard these stories, so she promised Mrs. Ashdown that one day she would write about Maui’s wahi pana to safeguard it for future generations.
“Michelle Anderson’s The Storied Places of West Maui, written from the research of county historian Inez Ashdown, is an uncommon treat. Difficult to put down, yet brimming with information that forces you to take your time, ask questions, and ponder. Mrs. Ashdown was tutored in the place-name history of West Maui by the Shaw sisters of Lahaina and the members of the West Maui Hawaiian Civic Club back in the 1930s and ’40s. Begin the journey, read for your kūpuna (elders), read for your descendants, and you may come to understand kuleana. It must be given, recognized and received, accepted and embraced; as did Inez, as has Michelle.” —Johanna Kamaunu, Hui Pono Ike Kanawai “The Storied Places of West Maui is a wonderfully written and illustrated work that awakens the reader to the history, legends, and hidden meanings of place names of the Sunset Side of Maui. The author has succeeded in bringing to light the copious and concentrated research of historian Inez Ashdown, who was mentored by Hawaiian elders of her day, and distilling it into digestible spoon-size bites of historic information that can be appreciated by kanaka maoli, kama‘āina, malihini, and visitors to the island alike. The special meanings of place names and their mo‘olelo of the West Maui district have power to breathe new life, ha, back into the mountains, valleys, streams, and springs that make up their storied places; engendering a greater understanding and appreciation of their historic and cultural value and a more authentic sense of place. With the resurgence of the Hawaiian language after generations of it being suppressed in Hawai‘i, there is growing interest in identifying storied places and using their traditional place names. As a kanaka maoli, I predict that this book will help fuel that interest.” —Daniel Kanahele, Maui Cultural Lands “I was happy to review this work that provides an extensive view on the stories of the past that seems to be sound mana‘o.” —Ke‘eaumoku Kapu, Na ‘Aikane O Maui Cultural Center