It all began in 1969...
...when the hippies began showing up on Maui to create a handful
of settlements with colorful names such as Banana Patch, Soul Acres
and Trouble Gulch.
At Makena, a shantytown was carved into the thick kiawe forest
on the edge of Oneloa Beach, commonly called Big Beach, and at several
neighboring beaches. In those days, nudity was the norm.
Off the beach, the strange newcomers clashed with the establishment
and were accused of freeloading and stealing. Mayor Elmer Cravalho
scolded both sides at a Kihei Community Association meeting in March
To those who didn't like the newcomers, Cravalho said that his
own grandfather might have been called a hippie and shipped back
to Portugal if he had been judged on his appearance when he first
came to Hawai'i.
To the hippies, he said hiding in the "boondocks at Makena''
was cowardly and that they should get involved in the community.
By late 1969, the police were raiding the place on a regular basis,
looking for runaways, draft-dodgers and nude sunbathers.
U.S. Marshal Howard Tagomori, a former Maui Police Department vice
officer, remembers driving on the dirt road to Makena in the early
1970s with a handful of officers to make busts.
"We were friends with most of the guys,'' recalled Tagomori,
who later became Maui's police chief. "It was like a game.
We would talk story with them.''
The Makena colony grew to 300 to 400 people before it was largely
evicted in 1972.
But nude sunbathing persisted at Makena's more remote beach, Little
Beach, which is tucked behind Pu'u Ola'i and separated from Big
Beach by a 30-foot bluff.
More History ->