Haleakala Highway: Bringing the World to Maui

Dawn Duensing

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    This paper presents a new theme in Pacific historiography by examining a case study in the development of public infrastructure in the Hawaiian Islands. The history of Haleakala Highway on Maui illustrates how a scenic road was planned and built as a commercial enterprise to help develop tourism as a new industry in Hawai'i. It demonstrates how Maui's haole elite (white businessmen and landholders) persistently advocated the road over the course of nearly three decades. To facilitate construction, these leaders forged successful partnerships with the Territory of Hawaii and the US government, taking advantage of funding, but also the technical expertise of federal agencies. Building Haleakala Highway also prompts questions about the attitudes of indigenous Hawaiians towards the project, their involvement, and its impact on their lives. The English-language archive, however, appears to be silent on this issue. Completed in 1935, Haleakala Highway today is a cultural resource that exhibits the landscape ideals of the US National Park Service and engineering standards of the US Bureau of Public Roads.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)303-324
    JournalJournal of Pacific History
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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