Looking Back


Maui No Ka Oi Magazine first issueWhen we asked Diane Haynes Woodburn to talk about launching Maui No Ka ‘Oi, we knew how far the magazine has come in twenty years. The first issue was just fifty pages, and the publication came out four times a year. (We went bimonthly in 2006.) But what Maui No Ka ‘Oi lacked in size it made up for in enthusiasm. Our first issue introduced readers to a remote and scenic wilderness, tackled the issue of big-box stores vs. mom-n-pops, and featured an interview with Maui resident Willie Nelson.

“EVIL” COSTCO? “We took on Costco, which had just opened. An Island Issues story in our very first issue! We were a little nervous about what our writer might say; a former Maui News reporter, Tom Stevens was no fan of development. But he went to mom-n-pop stores like Morihara and Hanzawa’s, and found out they liked being able to buy from Costco. That big-box store wasn’t ‘evil,’ after all!”

Maui Costco

“The title of that story was the most embarrassing thing!” Diane laughs. “This was my first issue; I was interviewing a really big star, and writing about why people love him. He was rolling a joint as I arrived — at 10 a.m. — and I’m sure I got stoned being in his presence. One of the funniest stories he told me was the time his wife warned him not to go carousing. He did, and when he came home and passed out, she sewed him into the sheets and beat him with a frying pan! But here’s why I love Willie: he performed at a benefit for Ka Lima o Maui, the nonprofit that works with people with developmental handicaps. And he’s been donating his talents for worthy Maui causes ever since.”

Willie Nelson

“Willie wasn’t our only famous person that issue. Celebrity chefs Alan Wong, Philippe Padovani, and George Mavrothalassitis (O‘ahu’s Chef Mavro) appeared in our pages, as did Maui native Jesse Kuhaulua, who became Takamiyama, the first non-Japanese sumo champion in the sport’s 2,000-year history.”

A lot of dedicated folks have been part of MNKO’s staff in the past two decades. Some stayed for years, others for just a little while. We cherish them all.

  • Lehia Apana
  • Regina Asuncion
  • Sky Barnhart
  • Bruce Benson
  • Marti Bloomquist
  • Lance Bowen
  • Conn Brattain
  • Steve Brinkman
  • Alix Buchter
  • Lisa Castillo
  • Harry Chang
  • Diane Chisholm
  • Josh Circle-Woodburn
  • Lynette Cravens
  • Ron Dahlquist
  • Michael D’Eliseo
  • Leslie Everett
  • Cecilia Fernandez
  • Barbara Geary
  • John Giordani
  • Rita Goldman
  • Bill Harby
  • Michael Haynes
  • Jason Hilford
  • Kristine Hoffman
  • Jennifer Kekiwi
  • Charles Keller
  • Nina Kuna
  • Kao Kushner
  • Angela Lammers
  • Maren Lau
  • Adelle Lennox
  • Tamara Lester
  • Laura Lewark
  • Shelby Lynch
  • Helen Milne
  • Jason Moore
  • Jose Morales
  • Andre Mueller
  • Tootsie Namuo-Pearson
  • Cindy Nobriga
  • Ari Paralta
  • Stewart Pinsky
  • Heidi Pool
  • Eunice Raiser
  • Iva Rivera
  • Wyatt Sharpley
  • Sara De Palma Smith
  • Daniel Southmayd
  • Becky Speere
  • Kali Speere
  • Jonathan Stacy
  • Ashley Stepanek
  • Michael Stein
  • Trina Teruya-Pinsky
  • Blair Thorndike
  • Inger Tully
  • Cindy Valois
  • Punahele Welch
  • Shannon Wianecki


  • Kathy Collins
  • Matt Foster
  • Charles Fredy
  • Guy Junker


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