Two East Maui Icons Win a Nature Conservancy Award
Tweetie and John Lind have spent their lives preserving traditional subsistence practices and Hawaiian lifestyles in Kīpahulu.
Tweetie and John Lind, co-founders of Kīpahulu ‘Ohana and Kapahu Living Farm, are shown working in a taro patch in 1997 in the ahupua‘a of Wailua in Hāna, Maui. The Linds in October received the Kāko‘o ‘Āina Award from The Nature Conservancy, Hawai‘i and Palmyra chapter for their lifelong commitment and community leadership in protecting Maui. I asked Tweetie Lind about their work.
What does this award mean to you?
I feel like it recognized all our conservation, community organizing and Hawaiian culture work. John, who passed away last year, had a gift for bringing people together and he made people feel like they were part of the community and these bigger efforts.
How did growing up in Hāna shape your and John’s appreciation for Maui’s lands and waters?
It’s a lifetime story. John and his family were always farming, fishing, surfing, throwing nets. This area was his playground. John and I got married right after high school and moved to O‘ahu, where he organized local meat cutters. We moved back to Kīpahulu in 1975 and started talking to the community about what they wanted for its future. The vision is to keep Hāna, Hāna because it is the last Hawaiian place. We went for simple things and we kept our vision focused on the Native Hawaiian culture.
What is the importance of the Kīpahulu Moku Community Based Subsistence Fishing Area designation that Kīpahulu ‘Ohana has been working on?
It will protect traditional subsistence practices and Hawaiian lifestyles. We just acquired ‘Ōpelu Point, which overlooks Lelekea Bay and is an important location for managing this designation. You can see the ocean, monitor people, check the weather, and it could become a birthing spot for akule.
You’ve accomplished a lot. What efforts are you most proud of?
Opening the taro patch up at Kapahu Living Farm, which is our baby. It’s a gold mine for us spiritually, physically, educationally, culturally. It’s also where we organize people.
To learn more, visit kipahulu.org.