Lā 208: Maui Aloha ʻĀina Unity March Draws Estimated 6,000 Participants

By Rodney S. Yap Posted October 19, 2015, 05:24 AM HST Updated October 19, 2015, 03:08 PM HST

The Aloha ʻĀina Unity March down Front Street in Lahaina on Sunday was a huge success, according to event organizers, calling it a “a beautiful day of activation.”

Determined to raise awareness about development and the exploitation of the natural and cultural resources of the Hawaiian Islands, Aloha ʻĀina enjoyed an epic day that started with a march from Mala Wharf to Mokuʻula, followed by a rally at Kamehameha Iki Park, where leaders and performers took the stage.

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“I’m feeling absolutely wonderful,” said Tiare Lawrence, one of the march organizers earlier today. “I’d say we had close to 6,000 people who showed up and took a stand today. I am extremely ecstatic, it turned out to be a beautiful day of activation.”

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Lawrence said: “This event was really about awareness, education and activation about the issues that are affecting us here on Maui and the state of Hawaiʻi.

“We wanted to really bring awareness to Aloha ʻĀina and our march was actually led by our ʻŌpio — our youth. It was awesome to see our youth come out. Kula Kaiapuni had a lot its students come out and several were speakers and they performed. We had various hula hālau, and we had numerous environmental groups.”

More than 30 organizations sponsored or endorsed the event, ranging from cultural and environmental groups to surfers and local small businesses.

“We couldn’t have done it without our amazing support team and everybody who volunteered,” Lawrence added.

In addition to the overturning by a judge of a moratorium on genetically modified organisms passed by Maui County voters last November and the restoration of water to island streams that have been diverted for sugar, organizers have been concerned about the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope at the summit of Maui’s Haleakalā and the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea on the Big Island.