Hōkū Nui is about family, connection, community and a healthy lifestyle.Karin Frost
It’s hard to name the exact reason that called us to buy this incredibly majestic 258 acres of fallow land that had been mono-cropped with pineapple for 70 years, a process that covered it with plastic and chemicals, that created horrendous watershed runoff, and exposed it to invasive plants poised to claim its lovely open space. Was it because my brother Erik wanted to live on Maui somewhere close to the family? Was it because the land came with a well, the water critical to our survival? Was it because something about this land grabbed our hearts and drew us in, and we sensed we could somehow make a difference in its evolving story? Yes—it was for all those reasons, and so many more that we are still discovering.

I will always remember the day that Erik and I made the commitment to become the next stewards of this land. I was driving out of the gulch from Makawao town towards St. Joseph’s Church, on the phone with Erik, and to my left a mom was walking her dog, wearing her baby in an Ergobaby carrier, the company we sold which allowed us to buy this land. I knew at that moment Spirit was in support. And the restoration of this land is our family’s vision of giving back to our community in gratitude for the tremendous abundance Maui has brought us.

In the process of purchasing the land, Erik and I defined our primary mission as sustainability, with every decision dedicated to that goal. We agreed to keeping the entire project off-the-grid and generating its own energy. We envisioned taking the allotted housing parcels and clustering homes so we could reduce infrastructure costs and preserve a majority of the land for food production, and planting an indigenous corridor to restore the native habitat. We made a commitment to build aesthetically pleasing, ecological and economical homes that would appeal to a broad spectrum of the community.

After two years of exploring how we were going to accomplish all these goals, Darren Doherty, a regenerative land expert from Australia entered our world, and expanded our vision. He mirrored Erik’s keen sense for the land, and helped solidify the master plan. He emphasized working with animals in a very systematic way to rebuild the soil, and at the same time sequestering carbon while also providing desperately needed locally grown meats raised with a focus on health for the animals, the land, and the people. And he emphasized that sustainability isn’t enough: we humans now need to regenerate what we degenerated as long as agriculture has been a part of human existence.

As a part of our commitment to this land and our community, we have brought some of the world’s most skilled specialists in environmentally friendly farming to the island to mentor us. They have taught us to let the animals do the work. So cows rotate through pastures, chickens follow the cows, sheep graze, and pigs and goats will eventually join the mix. And through this symbiotic cycle of the animals being on the land we have seen native grasses return, we have witnessed growing numbers of the native Nene and other birds, bugs, and butterflies. And ultimately, we see the vitality of soil microbes rebuilding what was nutrient depleted land.

It has been a truly rewarding journey to assemble this gathering of amazing consultants, along with our committed and growing team of farming enthusiasts and leaders, as we all continue to work together with passion and purpose to restore and rejuvenate the magnificence of this land.