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Maui draft outlines rules for building Hawaiian huts
Honolulu Star Bulletin ^ | Thursday, August 22, 2002 | Gary T. Kubota

Posted on 08/22/2002 9:09:06 PM PDT by Vidalia

WAILUKU >> Getting back to that little grass shack in Hawaii may become a bit easier for Maui residents.

A Maui County advisory committee has finished drafting proposed rules that allow the construction of four different kinds of Hawaiian grass huts using materials mainly grown on the islands -- the first proposal of its kind in the state.

"It's a long time in coming," said master builder Francis Sinenci.

The draft, if adopted, would allow qualified builders to go through the same process to construct Hawaiian huts as they would for a Western dwelling.

Sinenci said he has been frustrated that getting a permit to build a Western dwelling was easier than getting one to build an indigenous structure.

He said he had to obtain building variances in the past to build Hawaiian huts, including four structures at the Hana Cultural Center.

Under the proposals, the dwellings would have a maximum dimension of 30 by 60 feet and be used for limited purposes, such as eating, meeting, sleeping and storing canoes.

"These buildings will be expensive to build. They're very labor-intensive," said Hans Riecke, retired architect and a member of the county's Indigenous Architecture Task Force.

Rather than using nails and milled lumber, the builder would rely on natural posts and lashing techniques to hold the structure together.

"It's intricate. It's a work of art," Riecke said.

The draft was scheduled to be discussed today at a Maui County Cultural Resources Commission meeting. The meeting starts at 9 a.m. in the county planning conference room.

The rules are expected to be sent by tomorrow to the Maui County Council for its review. The Council passed a bill about two years ago requiring the county administration to develop the draft rules.

Riecke said an indigenous building code would not only allow the development of traditional huts, but also perpetuate the knowledge of how to build them.

Sinenci is expected to teach a course at Maui Community College on how to build a Hawaiian hut.

Supporters of the draft say it also bucks a trend of using Western materials.

PHOTO COURTESY OF RIECKE SUNNLAND KONO ARCHITECT LTD. Supporters of a Maui draft say it will encourage the use of island materials in building huts like the one above in Hana, Maui.


Uniform building codes here and nationally are based on using materials from the mainland, such as milled Douglas fir and oak, that have been tested by engineers for their strength. Part of the goal of developing an indigenous architecture code of rules is to encourage the use of materials grown in Hawaii.

County codes administrator Ralph Nagamine said a University of Hawaii engineer has been reviewing the use of various Hawaiian materials to determine their strength, including wood from trees commonly found in Hawaii.

Nagamine said while the engineer has come up with a preliminary conclusion based on similar properties of some woods, he also will be conducting tests on Maui to determine the strength of the materials. Some trees that are scheduled to be tested include ohia, ironwood, eucalyptus, strawberry guava, mangrove and kiawe.

Nagamine said the county will be seeking some $23,000 from the state Legislature to conduct the engineering study.

He said under the draft, the Hawaiian huts would be allowed in areas where their use is appropriate to the zoning.

For instance, a hale allowed for sleeping would be permitted in a residential area, and a canoe hale, near the beach, Nagamine said.

Except for a sprinkler system on the roof, the traditional house would have no electricity or plumbing.

Riecke said while there were Hawaiian hale for cooking, the group decided not to allow cooking inside the huts at this time because they did not have enough information. He said the draft also allows parachute cord to be used as lashing material.

The draft also allows the use of materials other than pili grass for thatching because there is very little on Maui. But Riecke said adoption of the indigenous architecture code may change the availability of materials.

"If this becomes possible to do, I think people will begin growing pili grass in the future," he said.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; US: Hawaii
KEYWORDS: construction; grass; huts; maui; regulations; silliness
Well, just in case you ever think about building a hut and the Governmental aspects you might want to consider...
1 posted on 08/22/2002 9:09:07 PM PDT by Vidalia
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To: Vidalia
What in the world did the ancient Hawai'ians do before there were bureaucrats?

2 posted on 08/22/2002 9:12:55 PM PDT by Tony in Hawaii
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To: Tony in Hawaii
Apparently, they used up all the pili grass..
3 posted on 08/22/2002 10:12:15 PM PDT by Drammach
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To: Tony in Hawaii
Reading this article, I could almost picture it being written several hundred years ago by a tribal chief. LOL!
4 posted on 08/22/2002 10:16:13 PM PDT by Brett66
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To: fish hawk
Litttle Grass Shack Ping...

Are you still on Maui or are you on the Klamath river fishing ?
5 posted on 08/22/2002 10:23:14 PM PDT by tubebender
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To: Tony in Hawaii
No offense to those who know the history and read between the lines.

Otherwise for those who think they know the history of the world by reading Cliff notes, "KISS MY ASS AND GET READY FOR THE LARGEST LIT FART THAT YOU WILL EVER SEE IN A LIFETIME, SINCE YOURS MAY END WITH THE LIGHTING OF THAT VERY FART...

They fared so much better before the Massachusetts missionaries showed up, regardless of the clothing optional situation.

The Polynesian culture of pre-1700s Hawaii was Crime free, Disease free, Class warfare free, and had at their beck and call all the pure flora and fauna to feed, cultivate and use as medicinal sources.

The Bible-toting asses from the EXTREME Northeastern states (the ORIGINAL RIGHT WING EXTREMISTS) brought with them the BEST of the Christian world.

1) Clothing to cover their naked bodies - Paraphrasing..."What's the nastiest part of your body? It's your BRAIN!", and therefore these holier-than-thou bastards began to "cover the heathen in the cloth of the Lord".

2) They had an organized and balanced working "faith system" with the powers they felt dealt them a good deal. There was a give and take that existed for hundreds of years without "the Real God of the Missionaries" bearing down upon these people and "showing Himself" or whatever, forcing them to change ways that had worked for centuries.

3) If "all people are God's people, then why did HE not show up to show the Polynesian His way of the Commandments, etc., or maybe they had it already and the New England Missionaries actually screwed THAT up?

4) Regardless of the religious hierarchy thoughts, this is for sure:
a) The Polynesian/Hawaiian race and ethnic culture are almost extinct.
b) The holier-than-Thou bastards also brought syphilis, the Pox, and Influenza with them that the Islanders has no reason to fear, or even know what hit them, and therefore died by the thousands in days at a time, without any hope of aid, other than the "prayers of the holy bastards" who were moved far away from the villages and source of whatever the New England Holy man and his accompaniment brought with him.
6 posted on 08/22/2002 10:35:39 PM PDT by Vidalia
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To: Tony in Hawaii
What in the world did the ancient Hawai'ians do before there were bureaucrats?

I gotta think the inspectors weren't getting enough bribes under the old system...

7 posted on 08/22/2002 10:44:32 PM PDT by Drango
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To: Vidalia
Coffee shacks. "I wanna go back to my little grass shack in Kealakekua Hawaii . . ." For victory & freedom!!!
8 posted on 08/22/2002 10:46:41 PM PDT by Saundra Duffy
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