Pacific | Hawai'i

‘It’s all gone’ - Hawaiian families devastated after losing homes in wildfires

Statistics have revealed over 3,000 homes have been destroyed as a result of the wildfires that killed at least 96 people on the Hawaiian Island of Maui.

At least 2,800 of those homes were in the town of Lahaina resulting in over $1.1 billion worth of damage.

Nathan Kahaiali’i was one of those who lost their home and says he’s still left in disbelief.

“Beyond heartbreaking is the best way to put it. You know, you’ve lived there your whole life. All of these families have lived there their whole lives and now it’s all gone.”

Ricky Chadderton (Ngāti Kahunugunu) and his wife Kūlia were among the lucky few whose homes weren’t devoured by the wind fuelled fires that began last week.

“We are literally the last subdivision left in Lahaina,” says Kūlia who was raised in Lahaina.

Heartwrenching devastation

Ricky shares a heart-wrenching account of the reality of their life at the moment, constantly hearing stories and experiencing first-hand the devastation these wildfires have caused.

“The other day here at work where two Tongan gentlemen come over and asked if I knew where some of their family members were and I had to tell them that I haven’t heard of anyone with those names here. And then I find out a few days later scrolling through social media that the people that they were looking for actually died in their car. All four of them.”

Thousands have nowhere to live and rebuilding on an island that relies heavily on imported goods won’t be easy. But both Nathan Kahaiali’i and Kūlia Chadderton are confident that the aloha spirit will push them through to a hopeful future.

“You see it come out in full force, and we are not going to abandon each other we’re not going to leave each other hopeless,” he says.

You can help the Chadderton whānau and their community by donating here