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Sunday, October 26, 2014

The "Tree Trimming Hawaiian Style" Story

The two tree trimmers can be seen in this photo.
It was an ordinary day.  Watching the tree trimmers mount the trees at the bottom and climb to the top in what seems like record speed.  The spikes on their shoes dig into the bark of the coconut palms that line the courtyard of the Kaanapali Beach Hotel in Maui, Hawaii.  I was standing next to one of the employees of the hotel who was telling me about the crew that was going from tree to tree trimming the seeds and the lower branches off the palm trees.  The palm trees were brought to the island years ago from Tahiti and Samoa.  The tall coconut palms where brought to Hawaii from Tahiti while the shorter ones came from Samoa.  None of the palm trees on the islands of Hawaii were native to the islands.  The two-man crew climb to the top of the Tahitian palms and chop away with their machetes.  
Here you can see how the trimmer is
held in place with a rope.
I asked the hotel worker what they make for risking their lives climbing the more than 80 foot high trees.  "They make $35 dollars a tree for the taller ones and $30 for the shorter palms," the worker said.  Also asked if most of the trimmers were native Hawaiians and were told native Hawaiians weren't dumb enough to climb the palms.  All the tree trimmers were from Tonga
.  I watched and photographed the trimmers for about an hour and during that time they both trimmed about seven or eight trees.  Remarkable workers that seem to fear nothing.  After the trimmers were finished another independent work crew came behind them to clean all the branches and seed pods from the area.  All crews are union labor and each has just one job to do.  After the group had piled all the trimmings in small piles around the courtyard they left the premises and the hotel grounds crew gathered the remains on their carts and took them to a recycle pile where they would be picked up and make into mulch.  Interesting procedure made very entertaining by the daredevil tree trimmers.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.


This photo and the following one shows the trimmer using his machete to trim the Tahitian palm trees.

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