Publisher’s Note


Story by Diane Haynes Woodburn

Diane Haynes Woodburn“New Years Day is everyman’s birthday.”
—Charles Lamb

Happy Birthday, 2008! Sound the noisemakers, pop the champagne, and don’t forget the confetti. I’m particularly partial to confetti because of all the different pieces—sparkling, floating, drifting, whirling—each with an individual direction, and yet all conspiring to evoke a single sense of celebration. It reminds me that amid all the holiday flurry (as opposed to the flurry we find ourselves in the rest of the year), we are each in this chaotic ride toward tomorrow together.

“I got my red belt today!” My friend Leslie, whom I have known for thirty-something years exclaimed excitedly over the phone this morning. “I did seventy military push-ups in a minute eighteen seconds—then seventy sit-ups, and then I had to split a piece of wood with my elbow. I’m really going to get in shape this year!” Get in shape? Kickboxing is no contest for a girl who kicked cancer just a short time ago. That’s what I love about New Year’s—it brings the best out in us. It’s the time when we take stock of our blessings, and renew our faith in beginnings.

As we enter 2008, Maui No Ka ‘Oi has new beginnings to celebrate, too. Our associate publisher, Sara De Palma, became Mrs. Chris Smith in August. Ashley Stepanek, our managing editor who has done wonderful work this past year, has decided to make an even bigger difference by applying to the Peace Corp. And Rita Goldman, our long-time, part-time senior editor, will finally leave the independent chaos of freelance writing and editing to become full-time editor for Maui No Ka ‘Oi.

Another beginning we’re delighted to announce is “Liddo Bidda Tita,” a new column penned by one of Maui’s most loved personalities, local DJ, actress and award-winning recording star Kathy Collins. Tita’s inaugural appearance in these pages is a take on pidgin that embodies this issue’s theme—Island Living, reflecting the colorful mix of people, ethnicities and cultures of our island home.

Our mix of stories, like so many bright pieces of confetti, does the same, celebrating past and future and the happy concoction that is island lifestyle. In remembering our past, Jill Engledow shares a glimpse into the touching reunion at Old Maui High, whose last graduating class tossed their mortarboards into the air more than three decades ago. A passion for their alma mater brought a new lease on life for this once abandoned architectural gem. Rita Goldman takes us on a cultural journey through Hawai‘i’s rich and textured past in her story on bark cloth. Here we meet one of Hawai‘i’s Living Treasures, Puanani Van Dorpe, whose life-transforming decision to learn kapa-making has resurrected a once-lost art.

In helping to preserve the blessings of the season, Sky Barnhart reports on the progress of our majestic yearly visitors, the humpback whales, whose numbers are thankfully increasing. And—lest you feel we’re overly nostalgic—take a look at the future in our trend story “Living on the Green,” exploring Maui’s newest lifestyle of luxury golf-course living. Of course, we haven’t forgotten that sometimes just being together is the best reason to celebrate. Take your sweetheart on a romantic picnic for two; we show you how, and where.

A bit of a confetti toss? Perhaps. But that’s what the New Year is meant to evoke: memory and hope, appreciation and intention. And gratitude. Always gratitude. It’s that once-a-year time of utter and complete celebration of what is wonderful, hopeful and bright—both past, and yet to come. Who knows, maybe you’ll put your elbow through a block of wood!

To all the colors of confetti, a very Happy New Year.

A hui hou,

Diane Haynes Woodburn


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