Kepa Maly of Pulama Lanai is a passionate advocate for Lanai’s history and culture. // © 2018 Hawaii Community Foundation
Feature image (above): Puu Pehe, also known as Sweetheart Rock, is one of Lanai’s many breathtaking and storied natural landmarks. // © 2018 Hawaii Tourism Authority/Joe West
Increasingly, Hawaii visitors are searching for ways to experience local culture and history. On Lanai, Kepa Maly is doing his best to assist them in achieving that goal.
Maly was born on Oahu, but he moved to Lanai during his teenage years and lived as part of a family with deep roots in the island. Caring for him like one of their own, the family instilled in him an abiding love and respect for the local culture — a passion that Maly has sustained throughout his life.
Now, as senior vice president of culture and historic preservation for Pulama Lanai — a company that works to develop, advance and nurture a sustainable community for Lanai — Maly serves as a caretaker of the island’s heritage. Through his efforts, Lanai visitors have access to places and programs that help them appreciate and understand its essence.
Here, Maly discusses how clients can learn more about Lanai’s distinctive qualities.
What are some key ways in which Lanai, as a visitor destination, stands apart from other Hawaiian islands?
Lanai is largely untouched by development. The island residents are friendly and willing to share stories of their home. People who are best suited for a visit to Lanai are travelers who crave unique experiences. It calls to clients who want to discover the island’s restorative spirit.
Lanai has always been more off the beaten path than the other Hawaiian islands. Even today, it is not the easiest place to get to. So its visitors have always been special in that they seek quiet. They’re looking for access to a living, natural landscape.
When visiting Lanai, travelers are offered the chance to connect with the Hawaii of an earlier time, one that isn’t built up at every turn, where the land still echoes with the spirit of place.
How and where can clients learn about Lanai’s history and culture to enhance their visit to the island?
Before arriving on the island, clients can go to www.lanaiguideapp.org, which presents more than 100 features for exploring and learning about Lanai’s history. The Lanai Guide is also free for downloading on Google Play and the Apple Store. Use of these web-based tools will help people uncover things to do, see and experience while visiting.
Once on the island, the Lanai Culture & Heritage Center should be a traveler’s first stop. There, they will meet knowledgeable residents and find out about road and trail conditions, and they are welcomed like family members.
Additionally, a walk around historic Lanai City and an exploration of island resources lays the foundation for memorable experiences.
What is Pulama Lanai, and how does it intersect with the island’s visitor industry?
Pulama means “to cherish or treasure,” and we don’t take that lightly. Pulama Lanai strives to live up to its name by engaging guests in one-of-a-kind pastimes while also respecting our island environment.
We are committed to providing residents and visitors alike with opportunities to be touched by the spirit of the island and to serve as stewards of its legacy.