Land Use: Development Period

There are thousands of references contributing to the history of Honouliuli Ahupua‘a. From those references are found classes of information covering such topics as

•  Residency: land ownership and access;
•  Pa‘akai: salt making;
•  Kai lawai‘a: fisheries and access;
•  Ranches and the land development programs in Honouliuli;
•  Water development, railroads, and the ‘Ewa Plantation; and
•  Military condemnation of Honouliuli lands and offshore waters.

The selected narratives categorized as Land Use: Development Period provide eyewitness accounts to historic events in land tenure and land use for the period of 1836 to 1910. While there are few identifiable references for the immediate area of the Hoakalei program, the narratives give us an historical context for understanding changes on the land since western Contact.


Digging for Water in Honouliuli

In this article, entitled “Seeking Water Resources at Honouliuli and on Lanai” and subtitled “Trust in the rod of diviner is unabated” and “Converts of Rev. Mr. Mason are still digging for water on island of Lanai,” an individual referred to as Mr. Mason of New Zealand is consulted to find areas to dig for water in Honouliuli. Mason uses a divining rod to find the underground water.

Huakai Makaikai a na Poe Kakau Nupepa i ke Alahao Hou: A Sightseeing Journey of the Newspaper Publishers on the New Railroad

This 1895 article shares an account of the journey made by newspaper staff, landowners, rail executives, and dignitaries on the newly opened extension of the O‘ahu Railway & Land Company track to Pōka‘ī, in Wai‘anae. While passing through the ‘Ewa District, the author-editor W. H. Kapu referenced several traditions of noted places seen along the way. The translation that follows is not complete, but is a summary.

Ewa Plantation, 1891: An Overview of the New Plantation Operations and Railroad Access

Little more than a year after the debut of the Oahu Railway & Land Company, the new Ewa Plantation Mill at Honouliuli was up and running, and major changes were underway in land use, population makeup, and loss of cultural landscape.

In 1891, a number of men interested in the sugar business visited the Ewa Plantation. The excursion included a trip on the Oahu Railway and Land Co.’s line, and a tour of the new mill.

Development of the Ewa Sugar Plantation and Oahu Railway & Land Company, 1890

Henry M. Whitney’s Tourists’ Guide Through the Hawaiian Islands [33] provides readers with an overview of sugar plantation development in Honouliuli and the larger ‘Ewa District in 1890. At the time of writing, the O‘ahu Railway & Land Company (OR&L Co.) had just opened with train service passing from Honolulu to the ‘Ewa Court House; remaining track routes to be laid shortly thereafter.

Water Development, Railroads, and the ‘Ewa Plantation, 1886–1913

While ranching remained a part of Honouliuli’s history through the mid-twentieth century, the development of the Ewa Plantation Company took over as the major revenue generator, and source of the major changes on the land. Thousands of acres were cleared for sugar fields, work force populations were developed, housing and commercial interests grew, and traditional cultural resources were erased from the landscape. Sugar cultivation dominated Honouliuli Ahupua‘a through the 1970s.

Honouliuli Ranch Water Development

Developing reservoirs capable of supporting the agriculture foreseen for Honouliuli was integral to the success of the land colonization scheme. The article below, entitled “A very large reservoir to be constructed to hold a million and a half gallons of water,” is about the Honouliuli Ranch water development. A reservoir with 1.5 million gallon capacity was planned.

Great Land Colonization Scheme

The Great Land Colonization Scheme was headed by Benjamin F. Dillingham for lands at Kahuku, Waimea, Kawailoa, and Honouliuli. He formed a joint stock company called the Hawaiian Colonization Land and Trust Company. The company would purchase the lands, and divide and develop them for convenient purchase or lease [8:151–152]. The businessmen associated with the scheme are as follows: