Puʻunene, Hawaii

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Puʻunene sugar mill, built in 1901

Puʻunēnē (Hawaiian: Puʻunēnē) is an unincorporated community in the central part of Maui, Hawaii, United States, near Kahului with a population of around 50. Although the land is fairly level, the Hawaiian language name Puʻu nēnē means "nēnē goose hill".


Puʻunēnē's primary industry was growing, harvesting and processing sugarcane for over a century but production ceased in 2016. In 2019, a field of potatoes was planted by Mahi Pono where sugar cane used to be grown. This 40-acre (16 ha) initial planting was the beginning of using these fallow lands to increase local food production.[1]

The Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum is housed in the former residence of the superintendent of Puʻunene Sugar Mill, which the Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company (a division of Alexander & Baldwin) operated across the street since 1901. Its mission is "to preserve and present the history and heritage of Hawaii's sugar industry, and the multi-ethnic plantation life which it engendered."[2] Also located in Puʻunēnē is the Puʻunēnē School, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[3]

About three miles to the south of Puʻunēnē is the site of a former Naval Air Station (1940–1947),20°48′59″N 156°27′38″W / 20.81639°N 156.46056°W / 20.81639; -156.46056.[4] This would later be known as Pu’unēnē Airport, and was the site for the second Maui Airport, after Maalaea, and part of the struggle to achieve an adequate landing strip of the Island of Maui for Hawaiian Airlines to use. An old runway is now used as a drag strip for Maui Raceway Park.[5]

Puʻunēnē's ZIP code is 96784. The mill is located at 20°52′3″N 156°27′16″W / 20.86750°N 156.45444°W / 20.86750; -156.45444Coordinates: 20°52′3″N 156°27′16″W / 20.86750°N 156.45444°W / 20.86750; -156.45444, just east of Mokulele Highway, Hawaii Route 311.



  1. ^ CERIZO, KEHAULANI (August 22, 2019). "'This is history in the making' as Mahi Pono set to begin first plantings". The Maui News. Retrieved August 24, 2019.
  2. ^ "Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum". web site. Retrieved January 18, 2010.
  3. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  4. ^ "Puunene Naval Air Station / Maui Airport, Puunene, Hawaii". Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields web site. Retrieved January 18, 2010.
  5. ^ "Maui Raceway Park". web site. September 20, 2009. Retrieved January 18, 2010.
  6. ^ Gary T. Kubota (2007-06-22). "Sugar, memories planted at Puunene: A planned reunion recalls special memories for a plantation townn". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved 2010-03-24.
  7. ^ Gary T. Kubota (2006-12-25). "Historic church faces possible demolition". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved 2010-03-24.

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