I live in Kihei, and was born-and-raised, coming from at least four generations on Maui. My father waited tables at “Raffles” in Wailea, while my mother sold shoes at the old Liberty House. My three siblings and I didn’t have much, but they showered us in love and taught us the values of hard work, respect, and aloha.
My family’s incredibly diverse heritage is deeply rooted in Maui’s plantation history. On my mom side, Grandma Lourdas Fernandez comes from Portugese and Spanish immigrant roots. She met my Grandpa Daniel Saito, a Japanese WWII veteran, at the statehood celebration on Maui in 1959. Grandpa worked as a dispatcher for Maui Electric for 40 years, while Grandma was a homemaker for their three children. My father never knew his father and was hanai’d by his Hawaiian and Chinese, Dutch, Irish grandparents at birth.