Molokai Ranch’s Cut Coconut Trees – The Other Side of The Story

I may not have been around the Kaluakoi Golf Course as long as most homeowners on the west end, but I have been around the maintenance shop long enough to understand its operations and long enough to know the dedicated crew who works there. They take pride in what they do and have worked hard to bring the eighteen hole Kaluakoi Golf Course back to what it is today.

At one time, the superintendent who oversees these workers had a staff of eleven. This number has since dwindled to only five who have had to rely on close teamwork in order to maintain all 18 holes of the course.

Why would the course staff want to destroy their own hard work and the beautiful landscaping at Kaluakoi? One homeowner suggested it was vengeance, and that employees were acting out on their own because of the shut down. Hello! This is property damage and something that this crew would never attempt.

In fact, condo owners residing along hole 17 know about property damage. At one time they took it upon themselves to cut trees that were not on their property to get a better view of the fairway and green.

In light of the popularity that the ranch has been receiving I don’t expect community approval on much that the Ranch is doing. I am however appalled by the actions of the homeowners towards the staff. While a few homeowners have been sympathetic, many have acted out towards the staff yelling and hollering at them.

One resident confronted the backhoe operator that was moving tree trunks and refused to move out of the way. Others have argued for various solutions which just would not have worked.

There are two sides to the story to what happened. The workers are just as much being affected by the cutting of the coconut trees as the homeowners. The employees were under the pressure of a time frame to have things completed. It was explained that the taller trees posed a safety hazard. Since these trees were eventually going to be cut it makes sense that they be utilized to secure accessible areas of the golf course.

Please know that Ranch employees are hard working people who care for the environment as much as anyone on Molokai. Many of us have kept open minds about how to move forward during these difficult times – at this point, your patience and respect can go a long way in helping us toward this goal. 

Cathy Kawamae


5 Responses to “Molokai Ranch’s Cut Coconut Trees – The Other Side of The Story”

  1. Manoakua says:

    Mahalo for these words of wisdom, sistah! There has been much evidence of far too much egocentristic behavior (a mainland characteristic that seems to be gaining hold on the island) and far too little tolerance and mutual understanding manifested in the actions of many, it would seem. Whatever happened to patience and the broader, sagacious outlook that are the legacy of our esteemed kupuna and revered aumakua? There are always two sides to everything, as you have wisely reminded us! What we need are fewer lawyers, less histrionics and inflammatory rhetoric (from both kama’aina and ‘occasional residents’), and more calm resolution to work effectively together to solve these pressing problems. Malama pono!

  2. Kuhela Morgan says:

    I agree that the workers should not be attacked for cutting down the trees. They are only doing their job. While most of us can not understand how someone could cut down these majestic landmarks, any act of defiance (as in refusing to cut down the trees) would result no doubt in termination for the employees. This is why it is very important that a company like the Ranch or any other large corporation with only a profit goal should not be on molokai. All they seem to do is make us go after each other to take the blame of themselves. As far as egocentric, John Sabas blows my mind by not even entertaining the idea of using kiawe branches for the baracades. This guy is something else. He must have known how everybody would react. Or maybe he just no care.

  3. AlanFHall says:

    The workers are not to be blamed for anything. In fact they should be praised. It was those workers who nutured and kept the trees alive for all of us to enjoy for all those years. On the other hand in my opinion the people who ordered the destruction is another story. Everything in response should be done carefully. But a little rage before the contest can’t hurt anything.

    Alan F. Hall

  4. DancingWater says:

    Auwe folks, please understand that there are many employees that are hurting deeply and not given a choice in what they are directed to do. This is not something new and they need our compassion, understanding and support now more than ever! They are tremendously invested in their kuleana: be it the aina, the time spent working for “The Ranch”, the services that they have provided with aloha & pride, their personal commitments to raising their families here, etc.
    Remember the old adage, “Unless you have walked a mile in their “slippah” (moccasins) , you have no idea…”
    To all residents of Molokai – and especially the employees of The Ranch – you are in my ‘pule ho`ouluulu’ – prayers for healing…

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