‘We need action’: With every heavy rain, this historic Maui church and cemetery flood
KIHEI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Maui farmers and ranchers dealing with drought conditions were glad to get some much-needed rain Monday. But some people in South Maui were hoping it didn’t rain too much.
Over the years, Trinity Episcopal Church by the Sea off Kulanihakoi Street in Kihei has endured significant flooding. The most recent flood was this past September.
“During that last flood in September, the mud was already up to here,” said Scott Zipf, a member of Trinity Episcopal Church by the Sea, pointing to the middle of a pew.
It took months ― and thousands of dollars ― to clean everything up after the flood on Sept. 9.
“This place has been a site of Christian prayer and worship for over 150 years,” said Rev. Hauoli Tomoso.
The church was built in 1853 by David Malo, the first ordained Hawaiian minister in the Kingdom of Hawaii.
Father Hauoli Tomoso said the area is sacred, but there is no stopping Mother Nature.
“It literally inundates our campus, but it also inundates the Lihue cemetery, which is a pre-and-post-contact cemetery. So literally, our iwi, the remains of all of our kupuna get drowned every time,” Tomoso said.
County crews were out cleaning the culvert next to the church Monday morning. The director of Public Works said it was maintenance work because of the recent rainfall in the area.
“It comes and hits the chain link fence over here and then floods down the street,” Zipf said.
“It floods and completely takes all debris, floods through our columbarium area, around our parish hall right into our parking lot and right into where we actually have our service.”
The county has a Kihei Drainage Master Plan. Church members pray it can be completed soon.
“They say they have a master plan in effect, but we’re waiting for it. It’s been 15 years, but we definitely need to take action now,” Zipf said.
Copyright 2022 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.