Members of the Hawaiian Sugar Planters’ Association (HSPA) were typically sugar plantations or mill companies and individuals who were directly interested in sugar production. HSPA was self-funded by the industry through self-assessments on each ton of sugar produced. Each plantation company contributed based on the tons sugar produced. HSPA’s Experiment Station was founded in the days of the Republic of Hawai‘i on April 2, 1895.
The HSPA Experiment Station had its beginnings in an era when farm science was theory, separated from farm practice by a great gulf of unbelief. The initial laboratory and office first opened on the ground floor of the Robinson building, corner of Nuʻuanu and King Streets. It was later moved to Makiki (on Makiki Street, near Wilder on land leased from the Kapiʻolani Estate.) HSPA also had a large leased area at Waipiʻo, the Helemano Variety Station, the Ewa Variety Station, the Kailua Substation, the Manoa Arboretum (later known as the Lyon Arboretum,) and a few other O‘ahu sites.