Kahului Harbor lies on the northern shores of Maui island in the State of Hawaii. Kahului Harbor is about 153 kilometers (95 miles) east-southeast of Honolulu Harbor on Oahu island and some 195 kilometers (121 miles) northwest of Hilo Harbor on Hawaii island. Kahului Harbor is the biggest community on Maui and the island's retail center. Until modern residential and business zones were created in the 1950s, Kahului Harbor's population was largely transient. In 2010, the US Census reported a population of over 26 thousand in Kahului Harbor, over half of whom are of Asian descent.
Kahului Harbor has Hawaii island's chief airport, and it is the only deep-water port on the island. The port is connected by railway with sugar plantations and pineapple canneries located near Kahului Harbor. Kahului Harbor is the location of light industry and shopping centers that serve Hawaii island. While Kahului Harbor is not a major tourist destination, it is home to several attractions in addition to its beautiful beaches.
Maui was an important hub for commerce and trade in the Hawaiian islands since the rule of King Kamehamehama I who conquered the islands and established the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1810. Whalers stopped at Kahului Harbor to get fresh water and supplies. Later, agriculture grew in importance.
The City of Kahului was established in the 1850s when Samuel Alexander and Henry Baldwin secured land to grow sugar. Having no source for fresh water, they built a 27-kilometer (17-mile) irrigation ditch from Haleakaka. After the ditch was finished in 1876, their plantation thrived. They soon purchased additional land to build sugar mills.
Kahului Harbor was called Maui's "Dream City" because the plantation offered so many jobs. As the number of workers grew, so did the Kahului Harbor community. Markets, subdivisions, and roads emerged. When the port and the international airport opened, Kahului Harbor's status as the island's major city was firmly established.
Being Maui's economic capital, Kahului Harbor has a healthy mix of businesses and rural subdivisions. Today, the community's leaders are working hard to make Kahului Harbor a popular vacation spot. The port at Kahului Harbor is an important distribution center for processing sugarcane products and pineapple. In addition, retail trade is a vital component of the local economy.