OHA subsdiary to suspend operations at Makaweli Poi Mill this month

May 23 will be the last day of operations for the West Kauai factory.

Hawaii Independent Staff

Operations at Makaweli Poi Mill will be suspended soon, according to a statement from Hi‘ipoi LLC, the mill’s operating company.

The mill was established by farmer (and Kaua‘i fire captain) John ‘A‘ana in 1993 in the aftermath of Hurricane ‘Iniki, which destroyed the Waimea Poi Mill. ‘A‘ana sold the mill to Hi‘ilei Aloha LLC, a subsidiary of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, in 2007 for $185,000. Hi‘ilei Aloha LLC established a new company, Hi‘ipoi LLC, to operate the mill.

The full statement is reprinted here.

Hi‘ipoi LLC is suspending operations at Makaweli Poi Mill effective May 23, 2012. Hi‘ipoi made the decision largely for financial reasons. The West Kaua‘i community has been very supportive of Makaweli Poi Mill, and Hi‘ipoi believes the community holds the key to success for the operation. As a result, Hi‘ipoi is in discussion with several community groups to consider taking over and resuming operations within a few weeks. Hi‘ipoi is comitted to working with the community to support the poi industry.

When Makaweli Poi Mill suspends its operations on May 23, all employees will be laid off and eligible to apply for unemployment benefits as provided by law. The new community group that takes over will hopefully consider rehiring most or all of the current employees.

We are grateful to have been a part of the Poi Mill’s history, and we look forward to transitioning the Mill to a strong community partner.