Toward the end of WWI a unique opportunity presented itself for a major homesteading experiment in Hawai‘i. A number of the long-term, thirty-year leases written during the closing years of King Kalākaua’s reign (1874-1891) were due to expire. In anticipation of the expiration of these leases, and in keeping with the public land policies for a large-scale homesteading experiment, on June 1, 1918, land held by the Waiākea Mill Company on 7,261 acres of sugar cane land was let for homesteading.
In March, 1919, and subsequently in February, 1921, a total of 216 lots in the Waiākea homestead tract were conveyed to individuals. However, “without reference to whether the prospective homesteaders had any experience in farming, or any of the other qualifications that might have contributed to successful homesteading” – “The majority of the Waiākea homesteaders’, unlike its pioneer American prototype, had no intention of tilling the soil.” “The inevitable outcome, of course, was that the Waiākea homesteading project was an immediate and overwhelming failure.”