The island of
Maui (/ˈmaʊ.i/; Hawaiian: [ˈmɐwwi]) is the
second-largest of the
Hawaiian Islands at 727.2 square miles
(1,883 km2) and is the 17th-largest island in the United
Maui is part of the State of
Hawaii and is the largest of
Maui County's four islands, which include Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, and
unpopulated Kahoʻolawe. In 2010,
Maui had a population of 144,444,
third-highest of the Hawaiian Islands, behind that of Oʻahu and
Hawaiʻi Island. Kahului is the largest census-designated place (CDP)
on the island with a population of 26,337 as of 2010[update] and is
the commercial and financial hub of the island. Wailuku is the seat
Maui County and is the third-largest CDP as of 2010[update]. Other
significant places include Kīhei (including Wailea and Makena in the
Kihei Town CDP, the island's second-most-populated CDP), Lahaina
(including Kāʻanapali and
Kapalua in the Lahaina Town CDP), Makawao,
Pukalani, Pāʻia, Kula, Haʻikū, and Hāna.
2 Geology and topography
2.2 Natural history
4 Modern development
5.2 Information technology
6.4 Kiteboarding and kitesurfing
9 Health care
10 International relations
11 See also
14 External links
Native Hawaiian tradition gives the origin of the island's name in the
legend of Hawaiʻiloa, the navigator credited with discovery of the
Hawaiian Islands. According to it, Hawaiʻiloa named the island after
his son, who in turn was named for the demigod Māui. The earlier name
Maui was ʻIhikapalaumaewa. The
Maui is also called
the "Valley Isle" for the large isthmus separating its northwestern
and southeastern volcanic masses.
Geology and topography
Maui's diverse landscapes are the result of a unique combination of
geology, topography, and climate. Each volcanic cone in the chain of
Hawaiian Islands is built of dark, iron-rich/quartz-poor rocks,
which poured out of thousands of vents as highly fluid lava over a
period of millions of years. Several of the volcanoes were close
enough to each other that lava flows on their flanks overlapped one
another, merging into a single island.
Maui is such a "volcanic
doublet," formed from two shield volcanoes that overlapped one another
to form an isthmus between them.
Looking into the
Volcanic rocks protrude on a
The older, western volcano has been eroded considerably and is cut by
numerous drainages, forming the peaks of the
West Maui Mountains
West Maui Mountains (in
Hawaiian, Mauna Kahalawai). Puʻu Kukui is the highest of the peaks at
5,788 feet (1,764 m). The larger, younger volcano to the east,
Haleakalā, rises to more than 10,000 feet (3,000 m) above sea
level, and measures 5 miles (8.0 km) from seafloor to summit.
The eastern flanks of both volcanoes are cut by deeply incised valleys
and steep-sided ravines that run downslope to the rocky, windswept
shoreline. The valley-like
Maui that separates the two
volcanic masses was formed by sandy erosional deposits.
Maui's last eruption (originating in Haleakalā's Southwest Rift Zone)
occurred around 1790; two of the resulting lava flows are located (1)
at Cape Kīnaʻu between ʻĀhihi Bay and
La Perouse Bay
La Perouse Bay on the
southwest shore of East Maui, and (2) at Makaluapuna Point on
Honokahua Bay on the northwest shore of West Maui. Although considered
to be dormant by volcanologists,
Haleakalā is certainly capable of
Maui is part of a much larger unit,
Maui Nui, that includes the
islands of Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Molokaʻi, and the now submerged
Penguin Bank. During periods of reduced sea level, including as
recently as 20,000 years ago, they are joined together as a single
island due to the shallowness of the channels between them.
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Main article: Climate of Hawaii
Rainbow over the
West Maui Mountains
West Maui Mountains after rainfall in Kāʻanapali
The climate of the
Hawaiian Islands is characterized by a two-season
year, tropical and uniform temperatures everywhere (except at high
elevations), marked geographic differences in rainfall, high relative
humidity, extensive cloud formations (except on the driest coasts and
at high elevations), and dominant trade-wind flow (especially at
elevations below a few thousand feet).
Maui itself has a wide range of
climatic conditions and weather patterns that are influenced by
several different factors in the physical environment:
Maui is situated within 5 miles (8.0 km) of the island's
coastline. This, and the extreme insularity of the Hawaiian Islands
account for the strong marine influence on Maui's climate.
Gross weather patterns are typically determined by elevation and
orientation towards the Trade winds (prevailing air flow comes from
Maui's rugged, irregular topography produces marked variations in
conditions. Air swept inland on the Trade winds is shunted one way or
another by the mountains, valleys, and vast open slopes. This complex
three-dimensional flow of air results in striking variations in wind
speed, cloud formation, and rainfall.
Maui displays a unique and diverse set of climatic conditions, each of
which is specific to a loosely defined sub-region of the island. These
sub-regions are defined by major physiographic features (such as
mountains and valleys) and by location on the windward or leeward side
of the island.
Windward lowlands – Below 2,000 feet (610 m) on
north-to-northeast sides of an island. Roughly perpendicular to
direction of prevailing trade winds. Moderately rainy; frequent trade
wind-induced showers. Skies are often cloudy to partly cloudy. Air
temperatures are more uniform (and mild) than those of other regions.
Leeward lowlands – Daytime temperatures are a little higher and
nighttime temperatures are lower than in windward locations. Dry
weather is prevalent, with the exception of sporadic showers that
drift over the mountains to windward and during short-duration storms.
Interior lowlands – Intermediate conditions, often sharing
characteristics of other lowland sub-regions. Occasionally experience
intense local afternoon showers from well-developed clouds that formed
due to local daytime heating.
Leeward side high-altitude mountain slopes with high rainfall –
Extensive cloud cover and rainfall all year long. Mild temperatures
are prevalent, but humidity is higher than any other sub-region.
Leeward side lower mountain slopes – Rainfall is higher than on the
adjacent leeward lowlands, but much less than at similar altitudes on
the windward side; however, maximum rainfall usually occurs leeward of
the crests of lower mountains. Temperatures are higher than on the
rainy slopes of the windward sides of mountains; cloud cover is almost
High mountains – Above about 5,000 feet (1,500 m) on
Haleakalā, rainfall decreases rapidly with elevation. Relative
humidity may be ten percent or less. The lowest temperatures in the
state are experienced in this region: air temperatures below freezing
Black sand beach at Wai'anapanapa State Park
Showers are very common; while some of these are very heavy, the vast
majority are light and brief. Even the heaviest rain showers are
seldom accompanied by thunder and lightning. Throughout the lowlands
in summer an overwhelming dominance of trade winds produces a drier
season. At one extreme, the annual rainfall averages 17 inches
(430 mm) to 20 inches (510 mm) or less in leeward coastal
areas, such as the shoreline from Maalaea Bay to Kaupo, and near the
summit of Haleakalā. At the other extreme, the annual average
rainfall exceeds 300 inches (7,600 mm) along the lower windward
slopes of Haleakalā, particularly along the Hāna Highway. "Big Bog,"
a spot on the edge of Haleakala National Park overlooking Hana at
about 5,400 feet elevation had an estimated mean annual rainfall of
404.4 inches over the 30-year period of 1978 to 2007. If the
islands of the State of
Hawaii did not exist, the average annual
rainfall on the same patch of water would be about 25 inches
(640 mm). Instead, the mountainous topography of
Maui and the
other islands induce an actual average of about 70 inches
Kahikinui coastline near Kaupo
In the lowlands rainfall is most likely to occur throughout the year
during the night or morning hours, and least likely in mid-afternoon.
The most pronounced daily variations in rainfall occur during the
summer because most summer rainfall consists of trade winds showers
that most often occur at night. Winter rainfall in the lowlands is the
result of storm activity, which is as likely to occur in the daytime
as at night. Rainfall variability is far greater during the winter,
when occasional storms contribute appreciably to rainfall totals. With
such wide swings in rainfall, it is inevitable that there are
occasional droughts, sometimes causing economic losses. These occur
when winter rains fail to produce sufficient significant rainstorms,
impacting normally dry areas outside the trade winds that depend on
them the most. The winter of 2011-2012 produced extreme drought on the
leeward sides of Moloka'i, Maui, and
Island of Hawaii.
The blend of warm tropical sunshine, varying humidity, ocean breezes
and trade winds, and varying elevations create a variety of
microclimates. Although the
Maui is small, it can feel quite
different in each district resulting in a unique selection of
micro-climates that are typical to each of its distinctive locations:
Central Maui; leeward South
Maui and West Maui; windward North Shore
and East Maui; and Upcountry Maui.
Although Maui’s daytime temperatures average between 75 and 90
degrees year round, evening temperatures are about 15 degrees cooler
in the more humid windward areas, about 18 degrees cooler in the dryer
leeward areas, and cooler yet in higher elevations.
Maui consists primarily of Kahului and Wailuku. Kahului is
literally the center of the island, and tends to keep steady, high
temperatures throughout the year. The micro-climate in Kahului can be
at times muggy, but it usually feels relatively dry and is often very
breezy. The Wailuku area is set closer to the West
range. Here, more rainfall will be found throughout the year, and
higher humidity levels.
Leeward side includes South
Maui (Kihei, Wailea and Makena) and West
Kaanapali and Kapalua). These areas are typically
drier, with higher daytime temperature (up to 92 degrees), and the
least amount of rainfall. (An exception is the high-altitude,
Maui summit, which boasts up to 400 inches of
rainfall per year on its north and east side.)
Windward side includes the North Shore (Paia and Haiku) and East Maui
(Keanae, Hana and Kipahulu). Located in the prevailing, northeast
trade winds, these areas have heavier rainfall levels, which increase
considerably at higher elevations.
Maui (Makawao, Pukalani, and Kula) at the 1,700- to
4,500-foot levels, provides mild heat (70s and low 80s) during the day
and cool evenings. The higher the elevation, the cooler the evenings.
During Maui's winter, Upper Kula can be as cold as 40 degrees in the
early morning hours, and the Haleakala summit can dip below freezing.
An exception to the normal pattern is the occasional winter “Kona
storms” which bring rainfall to the South and West areas accompanied
by high southwesterly winds (opposite of the prevailing trade wind
Maui is a leading whale-watching center in the
Hawaiian Islands due to
Humpback whales wintering in the sheltered ʻAuʻau Channel between
the islands of
Maui county. The whales migrate approximately 3,500
miles (5,600 km) from Alaskan waters each autumn and spend the
winter months mating and birthing in the warm waters off Maui, with
most leaving by the end of April. The whales are typically sighted in
pods: small groups of several adults, or groups of a mother, her calf,
and a few suitors. Humpbacks are an endangered species protected by
U.S. federal and Hawaiʻi state law. There are estimated to be about
22,000 humpbacks in the North Pacific. Although Maui's Humpback
face many dangers, due to pollution, high-speed commercial vessels,
and military sonar testing, their numbers have increased rapidly in
recent years, estimated at 7% growth per year.
Maui is home to a large rainforest on the northeastern flanks of
Haleakalā, which serves as the drainage basin for the rest of the
island. The extremely difficult terrain has prevented exploitation of
much of the forest.
Agricultural and coastal industrial land use has had an adverse effect
on much of Maui's coastal regions. Many of Maui's extraordinary coral
reefs have been damaged by pollution, run-off, and tourism, although
finding sea turtles, dolphins, and Hawaii's celebrated tropical fish,
is still common. Leeward
Maui used to boast a vibrant dry 'cloud
forest' as well but this was destroyed by human activities over the
last three hundred years.
Main article: History of Maui
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The "needle" of ʻĪao Valley
Tahiti and the
Marquesas Islands were the original
people to populate Maui. The Tahitians introduced the kapu system, a
strict social order that affected all aspects of life and became the
core of Hawaiʻian culture. Modern Hawaiʻian history began in the
mid-18th century. Kamehameha I, king of the island of Hawaiʻi,
Maui in 1790 and fought the inconclusive Battle of Kepaniwai,
but returned to Hawaiʻi to battle a rival, finally subduing
few years later.
On November 26, 1778, explorer
James Cook became the first European to
see Maui. Cook never set foot on the island because he was unable to
find a suitable landing. The first European to visit
Maui was the
French admiral Jean-François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse, who
landed on the shores of what is now known as
La Perouse Bay
La Perouse Bay on May 29,
1786. More Europeans followed: traders, whalers, loggers (e.g., of
sandalwood) and missionaries. The latter began to arrive from New
England in 1823, settling in Lahaina, which at that time was the
capital. They clothed the natives, banned them from dancing hula, and
greatly altered the culture. The missionaries taught reading and
writing, created the 12-letter Hawaiian alphabet, started a printing
press in Lahaina, and began writing the islands' history, which until
then was transmitted orally. Ironically, the missionaries both
altered and preserved the native culture. The religious work altered
the culture while the literacy efforts preserved native history and
language. Missionaries started the first school in Lahaina, which
still exists today: Lahainaluna Mission School, which opened in 1831.
Japanese laborers on
Maui harvesting sugarcane in 1885.
At the height of the whaling era (1843–1860), Lahaina was a major
center. In one season over 400 ships visited with up to 100 anchored
at one time in Lāhainā Roads. Ships tended to stay for weeks rather
than days, fostering extended drinking and the rise of prostitution,
against which the missionaries vainly battled.
steeply at the end of the 19th century as petroleum replaced whale
Kamehameha's descendants reigned until 1872. They were followed by
rulers from another ancient family of chiefs, including Queen
Liliʻuokalani, deposed in the 1893 when overthrow of the Kingdom of
Hawaii by American business interests. One year later, the Republic of
Hawaii was founded. The island was annexed by the
United States in
1898 and made a territory in 1900. Hawaiʻi became the 50th U.S. state
Vibora Luviminda trade union conducted the last strike action
of an ethnic nature in the Hawaiʻian Islands against four Maui
sugarcane plantations, demanding higher wages and the dismissal of
five foremen. Manuel Fagel and nine other strike leaders were
arrested, and charged with kidnapping a worker. Fagel spent four
months in jail while the strike continued. Eventually, Vibora
Luviminda made its point and the workers won a 15% increase in wages
after 85 days on strike, but there was no written contract signed.
Maui was centrally involved in the Pacific Theater of
World War II
World War II as
a staging center, training base, and rest and relaxation site. At the
peak in 1943-44, more than 100,000 soldiers were there. The main base
of the 4th Marine Division was in Haiku. Beaches were used to practice
landings and train in marine demolition and sabotage.
Kahakuloa Head near the tiny village of Kahakuloa on the north side of
The island experienced rapid population growth through 2007, with
Kīhei one of the most rapidly growing towns in the
United States (see
chart, below). The island attracted many retirees, adding service
providers for them to the rapidly increasing number of tourists.
Population growth produced strains, including traffic congestion,
housing affordability, and access to water.
Most recent years have brought droughts, resulting in the ʻĪao
aquifer being drawn at possibly unsustainable rates above 18 million
U.S. gallons (68,000 m3) per day. Recent estimates indicate that the
total potential supply of potable water on
Maui is around 476 million
U.S. gallons (1,800,000 m3) per day, virtually all of
which runs off into the ocean.
Sugar cane cultivation once used over 80% of the island's managed
water supply. One pound of refined sugar requires one
ton of water to produce. Water for sugar cultivation
comes mostly from the streams of East Maui, routed though a network of
tunnels and ditches hand dug by Chinese labor in the 19th century. In
2006, the town of Paia successfully petitioned the County against
mixing in treated water from wells known to be contaminated with both
EDB and DBCP from former pineapple cultivation in the area
(Environment Hawaii, 1996). Agricultural companies have been released
from all future liability for these chemicals (County of Maui, 1999).
In 2009, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and others successfully argued
in court that sugar companies should reduce the amount of water they
take from four streams.
In 1974, Emil Tedeschi of the
Napa Valley winegrower family of
Calistoga, California, established the first Hawaiian commercial
winery, the Tedeschi Winery at Ulupalakua Ranch.
In the 2000s, controversies over whether to continue rapid real-estate
development, vacation rentals in which homeowners rent their homes to
Hawaii Superferry preoccupied local residents. In 2003,
Corey Ryder of the Earth Foundation gave a presentation regarding the
unique situation on Maui, "Hazard mitigation, safety & security",
Maui County Council. In 2009, the county approved a
1,000-unit development in South
Maui in the teeth of the financial
crisis. Vacation rentals are now strictly limited, with greater
enforcement than previously.
Hawaii Superferry, which offered
Maui and Oahu, ceased operations in May 2009, ended
by a court decision that required environmental studies from which
Linda Lingle had exempted the operator.
Fleming Beach near Kapalua
The major industry on
Maui is tourism. Other large sectors include
retail, health care, business services and government.
Maui also has a
significant presence in agriculture and information technology.
The unemployment rate reached a low of 1.7% in December 2006, rising
to 9% in March 2009 before falling back to 4.6% by the end of
2013 and to 2.1% in January, 2018.
Maui's primary agriculture products are corn and other seeds, fruits,
cattle and vegetables. Specific products include coffee, macadamia
nuts, papaya, flowers and fresh pineapple. Historically, Maui's
primary products were sugar and pineapple.
Maui Land & Pineapple
Company and Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company (HC&S, a
subsidiary of Alexander and Baldwin Company) dominated agricultural
activity. In 2016, sugar production ended. Haliimaile Pineapple
Co. grows pineapple on former
Maui Land &
Pineapple Co. land.
In November 2014, a
Maui County referendum enacted a moratorium on
genetically engineered crops. Shortly thereafter Monsanto and
other agribusinesses obtained a court injunction suspending the
Maui High Performance Computing Center (MHPCC) at the Air Force
Maui Optical and Supercomputing observatory in Kīhei is a United
States Air Force research laboratory center that is managed by the
University of Hawaii. It provides more than 10 million hours of
computing time per year to the research, science and military
Another promoter of high technology on the island is the
and Technology Center, also located in Kihei. The MRTC is a
program of the High Technology Development Corporation (HTDC), an
agency of the State of Hawaii, whose focus is to facilitate the growth
of Hawaii's commercial high-technology sector.
Maui is an important center for advanced astronomical research. The
Haleakala Observatory was Hawaii's first astronomical research and
development facility, operating at the
Maui Space Surveillance Site
(MSSS) electro-optical facility. "At the 10,023-foot summit of the
long dormant volcano Haleakala, operational satellite tracking
facilities are co-located with a research and development facility
providing superb data acquisition and communication support. The high
elevation, dry climate, and freedom from light pollution offer
virtually year-round observation of satellites, missiles, man-made
orbital debris, and astronomical objects."
"Big Beach" in Makena, on the Island's southwest shore
Snorkeling is one of the most popular activities on Maui. There are
over 30 beaches and bays to snorkel at around the island.
Maui is a well known destination for windsurfing. Kanaha Beach Park is
a very well-known windsurfing spot and may have stand-up paddle
boarders or surfers if there are waves and no wind. Windsurfing has
Maui since the early 1980s when it was recognized as an
ideal location to test equipment and publicize the sport.
One of the most popular sports in Hawaii.
Ho'okipa Beach Park is one
of Maui's most famous surfing and windsurfing spots. Other famous or
frequently surfed areas include Slaughterhouse Beach, Honolua Bay,
Pe'ahi (Jaws), and Fleming Beach. The north side of
Maui absorbs the
most swell during the winter season and the south and west in the
summer time. Due to island blocking, summer south swells tend to be
weak and rare.
Kiteboarding and kitesurfing
One of the newest sports on
Maui is Kiteboarding/Surfing. Kanaha Beach
Park is where beginner, intermediate and advanced Kiters gather. It is
known as Kite Beach. Kiters share the water with Windsurfers who have
dominated the area since the early 1980s. Since 2008 there has been an
explosion in the number of Kiters mostly due to advances in equipment
See also: Tourism in Hawaii
The big tourist spots in
Maui include the Hāna Highway, Haleakalā
National Park, Iao Valley, and Lahaina.
The Hāna Highway runs along the east coast of Maui, curving around
mountains and passing by black sand beaches and waterfalls. Haleakalā
National Park is home to Haleakalā, a dormant volcano. Snorkeling can
be done at almost any beach along the
Maui coast. Surfing and
windsurfing are also popular on Maui.
The main tourist areas are West
Maui (Kāʻanapali, Lahaina,
Nāpili-Honokōwai, Kahana, Napili, Kapalua) and South
Wailea-Mākena). The main port of call for cruise ships is located in
Kahului. There are also smaller ports located at Lahaina Harbor
(located in Lahaina) and Maʻalaea Harbor (located between Lahaina and
Kihei). Lahaina is one of the main attractions on the island with an
entire street of shops and restaurants which leads to a wharf where
many set out for a sunset cruise or whale watching journey. Known
locally as Lahainatown, it has a long and diverse history from its
Hawaiian population beginnings to the arrival of travelers and
settlers and its use as a significant whaling port.
Maui County welcomed 2,207,826 tourists in 2004 rising to 2,639,929 in
2007 with total tourist expenditures north of US$3.5 billion for the
Maui alone. While the island of Oʻahu is most popular with
Japanese tourists, the
Maui appeals to visitors mostly from
the U.S. mainland and Canada: in 2005, there were 2,003,492 domestic
arrivals on the island, compared to 260,184 international arrivals.
While winning many travel industry awards as Best
Island In The
World in recent years concerns have been raised by locals and
environmentalists about the overdevelopment of Maui. A number of
activist groups, including Save Makena have gone as far as taking
the government to court to protect the rights of local citizens.
Maui suffered a major loss in tourism compounded by
the spring bankruptcies of
Aloha Airlines and ATA Airlines. The
pullout in May of the second of three
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line ships also
hurt. Pacific Business News reported a $166 million loss in revenue
Maui tourism businesses.
Sunrise at Haleakalā
Hawaii § Transportation
Maui Public Bus Transit System is a county-funded program that
provides transportation around the island for nominal fares.
For airports on
Lanai and Molokai, see
Maui County § Airports.
Three airports provide air service to Maui:
Hana Airport provides regional service to eastern Maui
Kahului Airport in central
Maui is an international airport and the
Kapalua Airport provides regional service to western Maui
There are two hospitals on the island of Maui. The first, Maui
Memorial Medical Center, is the only acute care hospital in Maui
County. It is centrally located in the town of Wailuku approximately 4
miles from Kahului Airport. The second, Kula Hospital, is a critical
access hospital located on the southern half on the island in the
rural town of Kula. Kula Hospital, along with
Lanai Community Hospital
(which is located in
Maui County but on the neighboring island of
Lanai), are affiliates of
Maui Memorial Medical Center. All three
hospitals are open 24/7 for emergency access. Although not technically
a hospital or emergency room, Hana Health Clinic (or Hana Medical
Center), located in the remote town of Hana on the southeastern side
of the island, works in cooperation with American Medical Response and
Maui Memorial Medical Center to stabilize and transport patients with
emergent medical conditions. It too is open 24/7 for urgent care and
Maui is twinned with:
Funchal, Madeira, Portugal
National Register of Historic Places listings for Maui
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^ "Save Makena Official Website".
^ Tayfun King Fast Track (2009-03-09). "Concerns Of Overdevelopment In
Maui". BBC World News.
^ "Bus Service Information". County of Maui. Retrieved 8 December
Maui Memorial Medical Center". Retrieved 10 October 2014.
^ "Kula Hospital". Retrieved 10 October 2014.
^ "Hana Health Clinic". Retrieved 10 October 2014.
Kyselka, Will; Lanterman, Ray E. (1980). Maui, How It Came to Be.
Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-0530-2.
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Official site of
Maui at Curlie (based on DMOZ)
High resolution Moku/Ahupua'a map
Maui Map: Can I drive around the entire island?".
State of Hawaii
Discovery and settlement
ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian Language)
Seal of Hawaii
French Frigate Shoals
Pearl and Hermes
2008 occupation of Iolani Palace
Islands, municipalities, and communities of
Maui County, Hawaii,
County seat: Wailuku
‡This populated place also has portions in an adjacent county or
Hawaiian volcanism topics (list)
Kīlauea Iki, Puʻu ʻŌʻō)
French Frigate Shoals
Pearl and Hermes Atoll
1955 Hawaiian submarine eruption
Evolution of Hawaiian volcanoes
Haleakalā National Park
Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park
Hawaiian–Emperor seamount chain
Limu o Pele
Coordinates: 20°48′N 156°20′W / 20.800°N 156.333°W /