The Ka'u Story
Learn the History of Ulu Ka’u
The lands of Ka’u are ancient and filled with legends and tales of the past. Songs and chants about Ka’u are inspriring and a testament to the strong will of the people who live here.
Over a thousand years ago ancient Polynesian voyagers sailed the ocean (Moana) and discovered the island chain of Hawaii. First landing in Ka’u they established settlements here are made repeated voyages back to “Kahiki” bring more settlers, plants, and animals with them. These Polynesian discovers were the first Hawaiians named after the ancient leader of the voyages: “Hawaiki”. Soon the other island where populated and crops and animals spread to help sustain the growing population of Hawaii.
A hierarchy of leadership resulted in a royal leadership and ownership of lands. The lands were broken into Ahupua’a, sections of land that extended from the sea to the forests above. In 1778 Capt. James Cook was the first European to discover Hawaii. Cook discovered a society that had achieved a high level of affluence with rules, religion, levels of authority, successful agricultural plantations, and the ability to play, enjoy games, sports and competitions.
Over the next 100 years Hawaii changed to where in 1848 King Kamehameha III allowed for the Division of Kingdom lands, “The great Mahele”. In this division many ahupua’a were given to Chief’s and royal members. The lands of Ulu Ka’u Farms was comprised of the ahupua’a of Kahilipali Nui and was awarded to Prince Leleiohoku. It was sold to Samuel Parker of Parker Ranch fame in 1882. Rather than raise cattle on these lands Parker sold the lands to Hutchinson Sugar Plantation in 1884.
The land remained in sugarcane cultivation for 110 years when in 1994 the sugar plantation closed and the lands were again sold to others. In 2015 the lands made its final and current transaction being acquired by Xiaoyuan Liu and Ka’u Royal Hawaiian Coffee & Tea, L.P.
The lands has royal heritage and links to the past that teach us about the history of Hawaii and Ka’u.
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