8.6 acres at Hāmoa, Maui forever protected for cultural preservation, stewardship
Ke Ao Hāliʻi, a Hāna-based nonprofit community organization, in partnership with the County of Maui, State of Hawaiʻi, and Hawai‘i Land Trust, has completed the purchase of 8.6 acres of Hāmoa lands for permanent cultural preservation and stewardship.
This effort is part of the Save Hāna Coast campaign to protect over 150 coastal acres, spanning two decades of cooperative work by landowners, the County of Maui’s Open Space Program, the State Legacy Land Conservation Program, HILT, and the Hāna community.
The Hāmoa lands, located on Haneo‘o Road just above Hāmoa Beach, which in the past were used for pasture, are concentrated with cultural sites where aliʻi lived due to the nearby heiau, loko (fishponds), surf, and rich soil for agriculture.
The 8.6-acre acquisition builds on Ke Ao Hāliʻi’s commitment to reconnect generational families and the community to ‘āina, informed by cultural practice and protocol. These lands also provide an ideal space for Ke Ao Hāliʻi to create an ‘āina stewardship headquarters and gathering area for the local community.
The County of Maui contributed $800,000 and the State of Hawaiʻi Legacy Land Conservation Program contributed $247,500 toward the purchase.
Community members donated countless hours of in-kind services.
The Save Hāna Coast campaign includes:
- 2002 & 2014 – In 2002 HILT worked with landowner Hāna Ranch to permanently protect 46 acres at Makaʻalae fronting Pōhakuloa Bay. In 2014 HILT protected 14 additional acres at Makaʻalae with conservation easements.
- 2018 – Members of the the Hāna community united to “Save Hāna Coast,” establishing Ke Ao Hāliʻi, a community-based nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting undeveloped, open-space Hāna lands.
- 2020 – Ke Ao Hāliʻi completed its initial purchase of 27 acres at Mokae overlooking Hāmoa Beach in partnership with HILT, the State LLCP, and the County of Maui’s Open Space Program. These lands are now permanently protected as undeveloped open space under a conservation easement co-held by HILT and the County of Maui. Hāna Ranch Partners subsequently donated an adjacent 2-acre parcel along Haneoʻo Road, to Ke Ao Hāliʻi.
- 2021 – Ke Ao Hāliʻi, with HILT, the State LLCP, and the County of Maui’s Open Space Program, acquired an additional 30 acres at Makaʻalae. Acquisition of this iconic coastal land extended the open space protected by a conservation easement co-held by HILT and the County of Maui.
- 2022 – Ke Ao Hāliʻi, Hawaiʻi Land Trust, the State LLCP, and the County of Maui’s Open Space Program acquired an additional 33 acres, conserving lands adjacent and between those protected in 2020 and 2021.
- 2023 – HRP Hāna donated the nearly 60 acres that had been previously protected under a conservation easement to Ke Ao Hāli‘i.
- 2023 – The 8.6-acre Hāmoa parcel is the northernmost parcel in the project, helping support Hāna’s subsistence and cultural lifestyle.
“The people of Hāna, Maui live in deep connection with the ‘āina. When we protect our ‘āina, we are protecting our Hawaiian culture and way of living,” said Mary Ann L K Kahana, a member of the Ke Ao Hāliʻi Board of Directors. “This is just a small portion of the lands that need to be protected. Ke Ao Hāliʻi has been blessed to be trusted with sacred lands, critical landscapes such as Hāmoa complex that holds historical significant value to the Hāna people, especially with Hale O Lono and Kaluanui heiau nearby. Mahalo nui to HILT, LLCP, County of Maui, and private landowners for supporting the mission of KAH.”
“HILT is thrilled and humbled to support communities and government partners achieve proactive solutions that safeguard and provide for the wellbeing of Hawaiʻi. Equally, we mahalo private landowners for believing in a better future and showing a strong interest and commitment to seeing these unique conservation transactions through,” said Shae Kamakaala, HILT’s Director of ʻĀina Protection.
“Mahalo nui to those who have worked long and hard protecting our cultural and historical sites by saving this portion of Hāmoa lands. Mindful protection of our ‘āina is critical now, perhaps more so than ever before. Supporting the Legacy Land Conservation Program, as well as community organizations committed to cultural and ecological preservation and undeveloped open spaces, is a priority we must not disregard. This significant milestone establishes a precedent for future wise stewardship of all our sacred lands, which must be replicated throughout our State,” said Rep. Mahina Poepoe, House District 13, which includes Hāna.
“This is a tremendous example of a community led effort to preserve our ‘aina, our culture and our natural resources, that was accomplished by the Hāna community, County of Maui, State of Hawai‘i, and landowners working together for the common goal of conservation and preservation,” said Sen. Lynn DeCoite (Senate District 7: Hāna, East & UpCountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, Kaho‘olawe and Molokini). “This partnership with Hawai‘i Land Trust shows what CAN happen when the community is brought to the table and everyone’s voice is listened to. Mahalo to all to worked together to help preserve Hāmoa and the greater Hāna coast for generations to come.”
“I have great appreciation for Ke Ao Hāli‘i,” said Maui County Councilman Shane Sinenci. “Their willingness to take on the kuleana to acquire, manage and mālama our culturally important lands strengthens our community by helping to ensure our cultural heritage is honored and protected.”