‘ĪPUKA (ee poo ka): a Hawaiian word
meaning “doorway” or “passageway.”
‘Īpuka’s Sanctuary Park and Natural Burial Ground is a sacred story of life and death interweaving in healthy community life, protected and cared for by a nonprofit organization in perpetuity.
"We enter the world through a doorway, pass through many in the course of our lifetime, and leave at the end through another."
This project intends to:
D E D I C A T I O N
Doorway Into Light is a nonprofit educational and charitable organization on Maui providing conscious and compassionate care for the dying, the dead and their families. Since 2006 we have been educating, supporting and empowering families in end-of-life and after-death care, as well as offering community presentations and trainings.
Since 2012 we have been providing not-for-profit funeral home services that include ocean body burials. We are now taking the next step to provide not-for-profit funeral and burial services utilizing green, sustainable and spiritually inclusive practices.
Having transformed the funeral home experience by removing the ‘for profit motive’ and adding support and counseling services, we will now transform the cemetery experience by creating a healing place that people will want to visit.
Please imagine ‘Īpuka with us and be a part of making this an invaluable Maui community resource.
We have found a unique property near Hana Highway that we would be delighted to introduce to you.
In the information below, learn more about what we have been envisioning and the planning details.
A Virtual Tour
Local landscape designer and permaculture specialist Jenny Pell has helped us design ‘Īpuka Sanctuary Park. It includes a natural burial ground, memory gardens, a flower farm and botanical park, contemplative paths and arbor walkways, a pet cemetery and a playground for children.
Imagine walking through a doorway, an`ipuka. First you feel it is open and welcoming. There is a short garden path through an orchard filled with mango, coconut and avocado trees. Up ahead you see flowers everywhere and then the architecturally beautiful ‘Īpuka Sanctuary Hall. The reception/office provides information about the Sanctuary Park as well as directions to a loved-one’s grave in the burial ground. Once inside the hall, you realize it is a multi-use building that includes a hall designed for celebrations, memorial services, remembrances and community gatherings.
You also notice classrooms of different sizes and a small commercial kitchen. It is a nurturing space. A short walk brings you to the Ohana Bungalow. This is a private space intended for families. It offers comfort, refuge and support and is the place to find help when planning a funeral or a ceremony.
From there you hear the sound of falling water and find your way to a covered outdoor garden space designed for comfortable sitting and private conversations and a view of the pond and fountain.
A short walk along the scented path of flowers leads to a striking bamboo gazebo. It is an intimate space also used for remembrances, gatherings, or a cup of tea.
From there one sees a picnic area; a flower farm serving visitors to the burial ground and the larger community; a playground for children, and beyond, a terraced landscape that descends into a small lush valley; a world unto itself. What could it be? It is a burial ground set aside for beloved pets.
Returning to the Sanctuary Hall’s covered outdoor garden, you decide to venture down another pathway. On the other side of the parking area you see an arbor walkway.
Through the arbor you enter into ‘Īpuka’s natural burial ground.
Within, one finds a meditative labyrinth and a small pond; a ‘little spirits’ garden and memorial that will be a place to honor stillbirths, miscarriages and early childhood deaths; a beautiful rock wall installation to house urns; trails to wander with benches to rest and reflect. It’s so peaceful. Depending on where you stop, there are wide vistas of ocean and mountain views.
The burial ground is in a large spiral form, many acres in size. It is a compelling presence and resting place filled with beautiful flowers, shrubs and trees.
In the center is the labyrinth and it is this spiral walk that now supports your immersion into reflecting upon where you are, in the midst of a beautiful burial ground, where families, friends and visitors can experience the beauty, meaning and sacredness of life and death. Some areas are designed for quiet introspection, while other areas (such as the Stargazing Pavilion) invite you to ponder the vastness and mystery of the universe.
‘Īpuka’s Sanctuary Park is a place to visit loved ones who have died, including one’s pet. It is a place to have a quiet, contemplative walk, alone or with a friend. It is a place to attend classes and events. It is a place for community gatherings and ceremonies; a place for an afternoon out with the family.
‘Īpuka’s Sanctuary Park is a sacred story of life and death interweaving in healthy community life.
‘Īpuka Land Acquisition Proposal
L A N D D E S C R I P T I O N
Doorway into Light, a 501C3 non-profit and sponsor of the ‘Īpuka Green Burial Ground and Sanctuary Park, has secured an option to purchase a 10.6-acre agriculturally-zoned property, at the intersection of Nahele Road and Hana Highway (across from West Kuiaha Road).
P R O P E R T Y P R I C E
The property is priced at $1,750,000.
O U R "A S K"
We are seeking cash donations to purchase this land. This is our optimal scenario. Given the selling price, we understand the purchase may require more than one donor. As a 501(c)3 non-profit, we are legally organized to be able to present a financially advantageous donor opportunity.
For example, a charitable giving strategy might include donating appreciated securities to a public charity such as Doorway into Light’s “Ipuka Project” instead of a simple sale. In doing so, taxes on capital gains are avoided and you are eligible for a charitable tax deduction on the fair market value of the stock that was donated.
We are open to other creative scenarios and invite anyone interested to engage with us in a discussion. For example, also possible is a combination of both donations and a loan to Doorway into Light with an agreed to balloon payout and secured by one of the property’s parcels.
We need community champions who connect to the potential we have been envisioning and who are financially positioned to help bring `Īpuka to life.
A F T E R T H E P U R C H A S E
Once the property is purchased, we will begin the development process and pursue manifesting the vision we have shared within this brief project overview starting with getting the cemetery operating. One aspect of the fundraising “Build-it” campaign will be to offer many Legacy opportunities to lend names to memorial gardens, garden features, benches, gazebos and buildings.
I N C O M E S T R E A M S
Along with the many legacy opportunities, income will be generated through the sale of burial plots, pet burial plots and urn placements; community events, memorials and ceremonies; sale of flowers and farm produce; ongoing classes and workshops; grants and donations.
P A T H W A Y
Our land planner and realtor, Lisa Starr, has now met with the Maui County Planning Dept. to gauge their response (very positive!) and to help us map out the permitting process to development. There is a clear pathway for applying and receiving permits to manifest this vision.
There is no doubt ‘Īpuka will become an invaluable and enduring community resource and inspiration.
Who can help us? Will you help us?
Doorway Into Light
B O A R D O F D I R E C T O R S
Aulii Mitchell is a Cultural Practitioner and Kumu Hula, has a Masters in Applied Indigenous Knowledge, is a Cultural Anthropologist, and an Advisor for Cultural Surveys Hawai`i Inc., repatriation team. He is the Vice Chair of the O`ahu Island Burial Council and member of the Indigenous Council for the World Archaeologies Congress and a Public Relations Board Member for the Society for Hawaiian Archaeologists.
David Spee is a lawyer practicing on Maui, specializing in Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts and Real Estate-Residential Law.
Gordon Becker, PhD clinical psychology, Professor of Psychology University of Nebraska at Omaha, Associate Professor of Psychology Howard University, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Economics, Cowles Foundation, Yale University. Research Associate UCLA Corporate Objectives, Long Range Planning Group GE; Manager Human Data Processing, ITEK Corp.; Chief Life Scientist, Electric Boat, General Dynamics Corp.
Ram Dass, a Maui resident, brings over 50 years as a pioneer and explorer of awakened consciousness. Ram Dass is a world-renowned author and lecturer, and co-founder of the Seva Foundation, The Prison Ashram Project and The Dying Project. He served on the faculty of the Metta Institute and continued to teach about the nature of consciousness and service as a spiritual path. He is widely known for his seminal book Be Here Now.
Reverend Bodhi Be is an ordained interfaith minister and Executive Director and founder of Doorway Into Light. Bodhi is a funeral director, hospice volunteer, coffin maker, notary public, an educator and workshop leader, an end-of-life and bereavement counselor, spiritual activist and ceremony guide. Bodhi has lived on Maui for forty four years and previously owned the Maui Juice Company, the Juiceland Juice Bar at the Ka’ahumanu Center on Maui, the Rainbow Menehune Sprout Company and the Twin Falls Juice Bar and Fruit Stand.
Leilah Be brings many years of experience as an ordained interfaith minister and counselor, and was the founder, director and teacher of a pre-school kindergarten. In addition, Leilah teaches meditation and The Dances of Universal Peace internationally, and is a senior teacher in the Sufi Ruhaniat International. Leilah is Bodhi’s wife and best friend.
Standing With Us
Green Cemeteries and Green Burial Grounds