A crowd including about 50 government officials and family members from China and Taiwan broke into applause after a 8-foot tall bronze statue of Sun Mei was unveiled at Sun Yat-sen Park in Keokea on Monday morning.
Sun Mei was the elder brother of Sun Yat-sen, the first president and founding father of the Republic of China.
A Kula resident, Sun Mei was the owner of Kahului General Store as well as 100 different properties on Oahu and Maui and a leader of the local Chinese community.
Sun family members said while Sun Yat-sen planned the revolution in China, Sun Mei sold his assets to support his brother financially. Today his descendants honored Sun Mei for the significant role he played in the revolution.
“Working together, these two brothers changed the world, and we are proud that they did this from right here in Kula,”Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa said. “We hope that Chinese visitors will come to Maui to see these statues and to learn more about the part our island played in their nation’s history. I want to personally convey my gratitude to the Sun Mei family for this beautiful statue.”
The Sun Mei statue was crafted in China from bronze and donated to the Department of Parks and Recreation upon approval by Maui County Council members.
“Aside from the beauty of the statue being a significant tourist attraction, our relationship with China is deeply rooted in the history associated with the Sun family and the freedom they fought for,” Maui Council Chair Gladys Baisa said. “We are deeply honored to have the delegation become part of our family and will look forward to their return.”
During the ceremony on Monday at Sun Yat-sen Park were Sun Mei’s descendants, government officials from China and Taiwan and curators from the Sun Yat-sen Museum in Guangdong, China.
Maui County Council members Don Guzman, Don Couch, Mike Victorino, Stacy Crivello and Council Chair Gladys Baisa also participated in the ceremony.