Mahukona – Saving a Cultural Treasure

by | Nov 15, 2022 | Community, Preservation

Featured photo: Ko’a Heiau Holomoana

An ancient navigational site situated on the North Kohala Coast of the Big Island is soon to be protected in perpetuity.

The Mahukona complex contains 642 acres, 175 traditional Hawaiian cultural sites, including the Ko’a Heiau Holomoana, a wahi mana (sacred space) for ocean navigators from across the Pacific. Mahukona is the dry dock home of the storied, double-hulled sailing canoe Makali’i. And, because its dynamic winds and currents are ideal for training, the area is still used for teaching non-instrument navigation and open ocean voyaging. For decades, the community has worked to preserve Mahukona from development.



In 2021, a $20 Million capital campaign was spear-headed by the Hawaii Land Trust (HILT), in partnership with community nonprofit organization, Na Kalai Wa’a, with significant funding procured from Hawai’i County and State, The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, private foundations, and individuals. With $3.3M remaining and a signed agreement in place, the purchase of Mahukona may soon be a reality.

Hawai’i Pacific Brokers, an established real estate brokerage located in Waimea, is known for trading large tracts of land on the North Kohala Coast for future conservation-minded sustainable farming and ranching initiatives. The Mahukona project fits beautifully with the company’s core value of Kuleana—to protect, steward, and connect people to the land. As such, the owners and brokers of Hawai’i Pacific Brokers are committed to helping the Hawaii Land Trust reach that goal.

Once the purchase of the property is finalized, and on-going stewardship funds raised, the property will be held in perpetuity through a Conservation Easement held by the County and managed by HILT and Na Kalai Wa’a nonprofit. In addition to continued navigational training, Mahukona will be used for a variety of education purposes and cultural practice, restoration of native species habitats, both on land and in the ocean, and archaeological preservation. The historic railway station, built in the 1880’s to haul sugar cane to the port of Mahukona, will undergo renovation for community use.

We invite you to join us in this important effort, whether it be in the form of financial donations, and/or volunteer work days to help with invasive and non-native species removal and the re-introduction of native wiliwili (Hawaiian coral tree) and ‘iliahi (sandalwood) and trees.

Wiliwili Tree

Wiliwili Tree

For more information please contact Zach Horton, Director of Philanthropic Giving, Hawai’i Land Trust at [email protected] and the Protect Mahukona Fund.