TedxMaui January 13, 2013

by Marilyn Jansen Lopes on December 31, 2012

It’s time for TedxMaui 2013. When I first heard of Tedxtalks I hadn’t a clue. I’d heard they were going on all over the United States and the world. People were giving the twenty minute talk of their life about technology, education and design. They were meant to inspire, enlighten and make this world a better place. I watched a few talks, one about vulnerability, how it was okay to be vulnerable human beings, others by inventors and designers of amazing sculptures that intrigue and shock one to move and rescue as it appears to fall and then rights itself. A twelve year old talked of sustainability and neighborhood gardens in New York City. Award winning journalist Amy Cortese spoke about Locavesting and how a community could be transformed by investing in the local businesses within a fifty mile radius. All this inspired me to support and  bring attention to local farmers on Maui and to dream of ways to grow food on our island by representing Ag Tourism and sharing Maui’s Agricultural Beauty. Dr. Arthur Medeiros taught us about Auwahi: Hope on a Hawaiian Volcano.  Together with Ulupalakua Ranch owner Pardee Erdman, he is doing a restoration project of our native Hawaiian plants. We can do our part to continue the restoration project. It’s a ten year old forest that is truly inspiring and hopeful.
The opening act TedxMaui2012  TAIKO DRUMMERS took the stage.
I was blown away. It was exciting and beautiful. We took our seats in the lovely Castle Theater at the Maui Arts and Culture Center with all our friends from Social media. The word had spread through Twitter and Facebook.

The very first speaker Dr. Elizabeth Lindsey was captivating and beautiful. Her talk “Ancient Wisdom For A Modern World” made us realize that in our busy, rushing about world we miss so much. It is important to slow down and feel and just be.


When I arrived at Tedxmaui2012 it was with eager anticipation to hear two of my favorite ladies, Lani and Pomai Weigert, speak. Lani is Co-Founder of the Ali`i Kula Lavender Farm and Pomai is her daughter who practically grew up on the farm. She had turned in her glamorous life of travel and tourism for the country chic life of the Lavender Farm. Together they coined the phrase “Sustainable Aloha” and with Ali`i Chang, who passed away in 2011, they created the renowned farm in Up-Country Maui. Nothing like it had ever been done. By partnering with local product makers of jellys, jams, gelato, scones, chocolates, coffees, teas, they enhanced our community and with Lani’s marketing genius they put Ali`i Kula Lavender on the map all over the world. Ag-Tourism has become a new phenomenon and they became my inspiration to become a part of the farm to table movement on Maui.

These are the three talks that stand out in my mind. The amazing Paula Fuga, singer, songwriter and once the face of homelessness told her story of being a young girl living with her parents on the beach at Sand Island in Honolulu with nothing…nothing but a tarp to cover themselves with when it rained. I was moved to tears. She was asked once “What do you want to be when you grow up?” and she saw herself on a stage performing for a crowd with a blue light shining on her as she sang, but she replied “A teacher.” She kept her dream to herself so no one would try to destroy it. She knew the importance of keeping negativity out of her life. Even though it appeared to be a hopeless situation she knew somewhere deep inside herself there was hope and she must believe that she was here for a much bigger purpose. There was a dream and to achieve that dream one must have a plan, and pursue it with all their heart.  Then she sang and played ukulele for us and again at the after party for TedxMaui 2012. I downloaded her CD “Lilikoi” and fell in love with her music. She is such a talented writer with soul and feeling. Her voice is deep and moody and jazzy with a melancholy that can’t be denied but still so beautiful.   The mood was hopeful, exciting and happy for Katie Mac and Sara Tekula the producers of TedxMaui 2012. The after party which was included in the ticket was fantastic. Catering was by Dana Pastula of Cafe o’ Lei. The music, dancing and mingling in the afterglow of all the inspiration is difficult to describe. I can only say I was changed and I know everyone was.

 

Google TedxMaui to see all the amazing speakers and get your tickets for January 13, 2013