“The destruction caused by these fires is heartbreaking, but our community’s resilience and strength will shine through,” said actor Jason Momoa.
It’s been a few weeks since wildfires devastated the Hawaiian island of Maui, leaving thousands without a home and a death toll that has risen to over 100. The fast-moving flames burned more than 2,000 acres and over a thousand structures in Lahaina were completely destroyed. It has now become the “largest natural disaster” in Hawai’i’s recent history.
For celebrities from Hawai’i — whether they grew up there or are residents now — there’s an unimaginable sense of grief for their ‘ohana that has been directly impacted by the fires. These stars are doing whatever they can to support their home in its time of need, from sending supplies to encouraging others to make donations. While it will take years to rebuild Lahaina, these stars will be there every step of the way.
Here’s what these Hawaiian celebs had to say…
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1. Dwayne Johnson
Dwayne Johnson spent some of his childhood in Honolulu, Hawai’i and still maintains a close connection to the island. Following the disastrous wildfires, Dwayne said he was “completely heartbroken” for the people of Maui and was working with organizations on the ground to help in whatever way he could.
“I’m completely heartbroken over this, and I know that all of you are too. Everything that I’ve seen transpire over these past couple of days, everything that continues to transpire, hour-by-hour, minute-by-minute, it’s all heartbreaking,” he said in an Instagram video.
In the caption, he added, “All our local families, our ohana, our aiga, stay strong thru this devastating time. Resilience resolve is our DNA. Our ancestors are in our blood. This is who we are. This is what we do. I love you. Stay strong.”
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2. Bette Midler
Bette Midler was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawai’i and even attended the University of Hawai’i at Manoa for a short period of time. In the wake of the wildfires in Maui, Bette sent her condolences to everyone affected — and called on her followers to recognize how climate change has impacted Hawai’i. She also encouraged others to donate to the Hawai’i Community Foundation’s Maui Strong Fund.
“The beautiful island of #Maui in the most beautiful state in the union, is suffering. My family and I send our deepest and most profound sympathies to everyone who has lost anything or everything in the #MauiFires,” Bette wrote on X (formerly Twitter).
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3. Barack Obama
Barack Obama spent much of his childhood and adolescence in Honolulu, Hawai’i and says that he and his wife Michelle are “absolutely heartbroken” to see the “devastating images” of Maui following the wildfires.
“You know as someone who grew up in Hawai’i, as someone who has taken my family to enjoy the incredible beauty of that island and the hospitality of the people of Lahaina, we now find ourselves mourning the lives that are lost and our thoughts and prayers go out to the families that have lost so much,” Barack shared in a video on social media.
The former president encouraged viewers to go beyond just “thoughts and prayers” though, asking for those who are financially able to support organizations like the Hawai’i Community Foundation’s Maui Strong Fund and Maui Rapid Response.
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4. Jason Momoa
Jason Momoa was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and while he didn’t spend his childhood on the island, he returned as a teenager to attend the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa and lived there while starring on Baywatch Hawaii. Following the Maui wildfires, Jason has been incredibly vocal about how to help those affected and has been sharing posts from the nonprofit ‘Āina Momona.
“My heart goes out to all those affected by the devastating fires across the Island of Maui. In times like these, we come together as an ‘Ohana, a family, to kāko’o and kōkua one another. The destruction caused by these fires is heartbreaking, but our community’s resilience and strength will shine through,” he said in a statement to People.
He continued, “I urge everyone to stay safe and heed the advice of local authorities. Let us all do our part to prevent the further spread of the fires and support those on the front lines, working tirelessly to protect our homes and natural treasures.”
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5. Auli’i Cravalho
Auli’i Cravalho, who was born in Kohala, Hawaii, has used her social media following to help gather resources and donations for victims of the Maui wildfires. In addition to raising money herself, Auli’i also created a list of items that are needed by the people of Maui and how you can help.
“On a personal note I feel numb and close to tears every time I talk about this. Of all the natural disasters we have faced; earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis and flooding… to say we were under-prepared for this disaster is an understatement. DO NOT TRAVEL TO HAWAIʻI UNLESS YOU ARE RENDERING AID. This has been declared a FEDERAL DISASTER. Your vacation can wait. My heart and funds and donations are headed your way Hawaiʻi, even if I physically am not,” Auli’i wrote on Instagram.
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6. Jack Johnson
Musician Jack Johnson was born and raised on Oahu’s North Shore — and still lives there on a farm to this day. In the wake of the Maui wildfires, Jack and his Johnson Ohana Foundation are donating to numerous organizations including the Hawai’i Community Foundation’s Maui Strong Fund and the Maui Food Bank. Jack even took part in a fundraiser concert, where he performed in his backyard.
“After these recent fires, Maui could use all of our love and support right now,” he said on Instagram. “We know it’s going to be a long road ahead and there’s a lot of communication in the works to keep the community support coming. So to all of our family and friends over on Maui, we love you guys.”
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7. Carlos & Alexa Penavega
Carlos and Alexa Penavega didn’t grow up in Hawai’i but it’s now where they’re raising their family. The couple and their three children weren’t on Maui when disaster struck but have “so many friends and family members who have lost their homes” and “family members and friends who didn’t make it.” The couple hasn’t been able to make it home yet and don’t know if their house survived the fires.
“Our town that we live in, Lahaina, has completely burned to the ground and it’s really hard to look at. And the news is showing some stuff but we have friends on the ground that are saying that it’s far worse than you can imagine because they can’t show how bad it really is,” Alexa said on Instagram.
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8. Kelly Hu
Kelly Hu, who was Miss Hawaii USA in 1993, spent some of her childhood in Maui while living with her grandparents. She encouraged her followers to donate to Maui Rapid Response or any other organization to help those who have suffered “so much loss” and “so much heartbreak.”
“I spent two years growing up on Maui with my Grandparents so Maui holds a very special place in my heart…If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to experience the splendor of this island please find it in your heart to donate to help people who will be affected by this fire for years to come,” she wrote on Instagram.
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9. Mick Fleetwood
Mick Fleetwood has been a resident of Maui for the past 25 years and even owned a restaurant called Fleetwood’s on Front St. in Lahaina — which was unfortunately destroyed in the wildfires. While Mick and his family are safe, he says his primary concern has been the staff of his restaurant and the community.
“MAUl and The Lahaina community have been my home for several decades. This is a devastating moment for MAUl and many are suffering unimaginable loss. Fleetwoods on front Street has been lost and while we are heartbroken our main priority is the safety of our dear staff and team members,” he wrote on Instagram. “On behalf of myself and my family I share my heartfelt thoughts and prayers for the people of MAUI. We are committed to supporting the community and those affected by this disaster in the days month and years to come.”