Support for the Protection of Māhukona

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Hawaiian Islands Land Trust (HILT) and Nā Kālai Waʻa, 501(c)(3), have partnered to purchase and permanently protect the Māhukona Navigational and Cultural Complex, encompassing 642 acres and six ahupuaʻa along leeward Kohala, Hawaiʻi’s cultural, agricultural, and coastal landscape. With its prime location and agricultural and resort land use designations, the lands of Māhukona are at risk to be sold to resort and high-scale residential developers.

HILT and Nā Kālai Waʻa are currently in the stage of seeking public funding from the County of Hawaiʻi’s Public Access, Open Space, and Natural Resources Fund; the State of Hawaiʻi’s Legacy Land Conservation Program Fund; as well as other public and private land acquisition funding sources. The following are a few highlights of HILT and Nā Kālai Waʻa’s Māhukona Navigational and Cultural Complex project. A conservation purchase and permanent protection of Māhukona will:

  • Effectively prohibit future subdivision and development of Hawaiʻi’s agricultural lands, while protecting Kohala’s agricultural tradition of the Kohala Field System. 
  • Permanently protect Māhukona’s prominent Hawaiian cultural landscape and the hundreds of ancient heiau and cultural sites still cared for by ʻohana and practitioners, while protecting the integrity and continuation of the area’s ongoing cultural and religious practices including but not limited to non-instrumental navigation and subsistence fishing practices.
  • Protect and provide restoration opportunities of Māhukona’s native flora and fauna habitat, including the endangered ʻIliahi (Santalum freycinetianum).
  • Maintain cultural, subsistence, and recreational use of the area’s trails and swimming areas.
  • Successfully complete a portion of the conservation corridor, connecting the protection of Lapakahi State Historical Park to the south to the County’s Kapaʻa Beach Park to the north, effectively contributing to the Kohala community’s vision for a conservation corridor and protection of scenic view planes as outlined in the North Kohala Community Development Plan.
  • Ensure the integrity and health of Māhukona’s ocean resources, including endemic and endangered marine species. 

HILT is a Hawaiʻi 501(c)(3) nonprofit land trust that protects and stewards the lands that sustain Hawaiʻi, and perpetuates Hawaiian values by connecting people to ʻāina. Our current land protection priorities consist of Hawaiian cultural landscapes, coastlines, and lands that produce healthy food for Hawaiʻi’s people. HILT has protected over 21,000 acres throughout Hawaiʻi, owns and stewards 7 preserves, holds 52 conservation easements restricting private lands, and connects thousands of people annually to wahi kūpuna or places of Hawaiʻi’s ancestral past.

Nā Kālai Waʻa is an education-based, non-profit organization dedicated to the cultural values, knowledge and practices of deep-sea voyaging utilizing the double-hulled sailing canoe Makaliʻi, which spends its days out of the water dry-docked at Māhukona. Nā Kālai Waʻa was introduced to Māhukona's history and its sites, through its original founders, Uncle Sonny and Aunty Marie Solomon, whose geneology and kuleana to care for these sites has been handed down through time. Nā Kālai Waʻa continues to perpetuate its educational programs and place based cultural practices of Māhukona, in partnership with ʻohana with genealogical ties to Māhukona, and the community.

By signing this petition, you are sharing your support of HILT and Nā Kālai Waʻa’s initiative to raise public and private funding for the conservation purchase, in order to ensure the lands of the Māhukona Navigational and Cultural Complex are protected in perpetuity.

(Photo: Koʻa Holomoana Heiau; Photo Courtesy of Greg Mauldin)