Production begins for new comedy TV show based in Maui called ‘Moku Moku’

Nestled off Makawao Avenue is the homebase for Hawaii's newest slice-of-life TV comedy show.
Published: Jan. 10, 2023 at 7:32 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 10, 2023 at 8:09 PM HST
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MAKAWAO (HawaiiNewsNow) - Nestled off Makawao Avenue is the home base for Hawaii’s newest slice-of-life TV comedy show.

“My grandfather’s from Makawao, my grandmother’s from Napili… they joined the Marine Corps, and they made their life in San Diego,” said Kawika Hoke.

Hoke said he spent most of his life on the “continent” and always had to explain “upcountry” to his friends.

“They’re like, ‘You’re Hawaiian. Why do you wear cowboy boots?’” Hoke recalled.

Hoke is the creator, co-writer and showrunner of Moku Moku — a comedy about three best friends living the Upcountry life.

Hoke hopes Moku Moku transforms the way Hollywood does business with Hawaii.

“Hollywood sees us a specific way. They expect beaches in Waikiki and sand and ocean and all that stuff. But there’s so much more life that goes on,” Hoke said.

The satire is about three close friends living in Makawao faced with struggles of living in paradise.

Hawaii native Bronson Varde plays a character named Kimo.

“A young Hawaiian from Maui who is real laidback, go with the flow type of braddah, just trying to figure things out,” Varde said on Moku Moku’s Instagram page.

Chino LaForge plays the character Pili.

“Fun-loving, zest for life, very vivacious, kind of like ‘life is a buffet’ type person,” Chino says in the video.

Patty Lee plays the role of Leilani.

“I’m just really excited about having this opportunity for the local community to be represented on screen for the rest of the world in an accurate way. In a way that’s not like some fancified version with bright colors on the ocean, that’s like the ‘idealized version’ of what Hawaii is really like,” Lee said in Makawao on Tuesday.

“I think it’s gonna be a really good thing for the world to see that there’s more to this place than just the beaches and the timeshares and the resorts,” said Lee.

Pre-production started on Tuesday and filming starts on Sunday.

They hope to finish filming by the end of summer and release the first season next January.

The team said it hopes to sell it to a national streaming service, but plans to debut the first episode for local residents only on Maui’s public access station Akaku.

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