'I'm Still Tiare'': Tiare Lawrence plans to keep fighting for her community – only now she’ll do so as Mahi Pono’s new Community Relations Director
By Deborah Caulfield Rybak
Tiare Lawrence strolled intoMauiTime’s offices last Friday precisely on time for a noon interview. Wearing cut-off jeans, a red plaid shirt, and long hair wound into a loose bun, she had agreed to meet with editor Axel Beers and me to discuss her new job. The Lahaina born-and-raised waterwoman and hula dancer is now a Pukalani-based mother of a girl, 9, and a boy, 7. While working as a small business owner and clothing designer, Lawrence became politically activated by the fight over the Olowalu Town Project. She quickly garnered a reputation as a charismatic and effective political warrior. At 36, Lawrence is the veteran of two unsuccessful campaigns for a seat in the Hawai‘i State Legislature. After her close defeat last fall, she said she was mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted. Still, she decided that loss meant that “Akua had bigger plans for me.” Apparently, it did – Lawrence has taken a job with Mahi Pono, the Maui collaboration between a California farming investment group and a Canadian pension fund and the new owner of 56,000 acres of Central Valley land and East Maui watershed. Energized and eager to explain her new job, she spoke candidly with us about her goals and challenges.