The Maui County Cultural Resources Commission (CRC), in its ultimate wisdom, decided that Halloween is a desecration of the historic district, and in 2007, denied the usual permits for Banyan Tree Park ‘ohana-style fun stuff for mom, dad, tutu, uncle and the keiki. Again this year, no permits were issued for the LahainaTown Action Committee costume contest, music stages and community charity booths. The face painting, palm readings and onolicious kalua pig kine grinds and annual fundraisers by canoe clubs, surf groms, Lahainaluna High Band, and others—all denied. By CRC standards, they are all a desecration.
The permits also included floodlights, port-a-potties and cleanup crews. Apparently, the CRC wants it good and dark so 20,000 to 30,000 people can do their business in the bushes without being seen. And MPD officers will be too busy keeping people from getting run over by distracted drive-by spectators on Front Street to do much else.
Why no permits? It seems scantily clad ladies and semi-nude party animals offended the people who come to watch. After listening to numerous sympathizers testify about how offensive the nudity was on Halloween night, and how the historic district was being desecrated and the old ways needed to be preserved, I went to the library to research what things were like when Lahaina was the royal capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom.
As quoted from a University of Hawai‘i study on nudity and sex by the Pacific Center for Sex and Society: “Traditionally, nudity was not seen as being sexual. Female breasts were not covered. Adults engaged in water sports without clothes. Intercourse in public between adults and prepubescent individuals was a common occurrence. The crews of the visiting ships showed no compunction against sexual activities, and the natives assisted in the efforts.”
After reading all this, my question is, what time period in Hawaiian history were those that testified before the CRC referring to, and exactly what part of that period are they wishing to teach and preserve?
The Cultural Resource Commissioners are guilty of cultural hypocrisy. Based on over-exaggeration, they terminated all the family events, and have literally pulled the plug on a once-a-year, 10-hour celebration in Lahaina that generates hundreds of thousands of dollars for Hawai‘i, Maui and Lahaina businesses. We’re talking airlines, hotels, car rentals, restaurants, bars, surf shops, supermarkets, shopping malls, art galleries, gift stores, coffee shops, printers and convenience stores, etc. We’re talking working people: bellhops, valets, cab drivers, salespeople, consultants, advertisers, bartenders, wait help, and more.
Kona-side and Honolulu are trying to capitalize on and take over what it took Lahaina 25 years to establish—a fun and profitable night, once a year.