In the aftermath of the wildfires that swept through Maui in August 2023, a concerned resident from West Maui joined supporting organizations in initiating the creation of the Mālama Maui Pin. This collaborative effort with in collaboration with the Maui Chamber of Commerce, Maui Hotel and Lodging Association, Lahaina Town Action Committee, West Maui Taxpayers Association and Maui Vacation Rentals Association, stems from a recognition of the grief and trauma experienced by the community.
“As we work towards recovery, we confront a unique challenge. Our economy is intricately tied to tourism, yet our residents urgently require the time and space to grieve and heal,” according to a news release announcement. “With many being called back to work, they are left with limited opportunities to process the trauma they have endured.”
In response to hearing and talking with many residents about this delicate balance, the Mālama Maui Pin was born.
The pin, named after the Hawaiian phrase “Mālama Maui,” signifying “Caring for Maui,” hopes to offer solace to residents while providing guidance for visitors. Its fundamental purpose is to establish a supportive environment for residents by offering a visual cue to visitors, signifying the importance of refraining from inquiring about the experiences of Maui residents, thus respecting their privacy.
Lisa Paulson, executive director for Maui Hotel and Lodging Association said “The Mālama Maui Pin coordinates beautifully with all our messaging on how to visit Maui with respect and compassion. Many survivors are not ready to share their experiences with others.”
This seemingly small gesture, embodied by the Mālama Maui Pin, hopes to serve, and safeguard our people and provides a visual cue for visitors to understand how to engage or not engage with the community.
Guidelines for the Mālama Maui Pin:
- Privacy and Healing: By wearing the pin, community members signal that they may be processing their experiences in their own way and request that their privacy be respected.
- Promoting Empathy: If you encounter someone wearing the hospitality pin, refrain from asking about their experiences or the fire unless they initiate the conversation. Give them space to share their thoughts and feelings if they choose to do so.
- Fostering Community Unity: The hospitality pin fosters a sense of unity, reminding everyone that they are part of a caring community that supports one another during times of hardship.
- Be a Good Listener: If someone wearing the pin decides to open up, be a compassionate listener. Offer support and understanding without judgment.
- Spread the Message: Encourage others to respect the privacy of individuals wearing the pin. The more people who understand its significance, the more supportive the community will be.
“Both residents and visitors want to be respectful to all impacted by the wildfires and understand many residents and those returning to work are not ready to discuss the impacts of the wildfires or share their stories. Therefore, the Mālama Maui pin was created to give us all guidance on how we can honor and best care for those wearing them,” said Maui Chamber of Commerce President Pamela Tumpap. “The Maui Chamber of Commerce is proud to support this community effort by helping make pins available for those who wish to get them for themselves or give them to their family, friends or employees.”
For more information or to obtain pins, visit MauiChamber.com or contact email@example.com.