The traditional moku (district) of Kāʻanapali consisted of five major stream valleys Honokōwai, Kahana, Honokahua, Honolua and Honokōhau), all of which were extensively terraced for wet taro (loʻi) in early historic and later times.
Honokahua Valley has been described as having wet taro (loʻi) lands, although not in great abundance. Sweet potatoes were reportedly grown between Honokōhau and Kahakuloa Ahupuaʻa, presumably on lower kula lands. South of Kapalua Resort, Kahana Ahupuaʻa, was known as a place of salt gathering for the people of Lāhainā.
There are six bays located on Maui’s west shore whose names begin with the word Hono. These bays and coves are collectively known as Hono a Piʻilani. From South to North, six of the identified bays are Honokōwai (bay drawing fresh water), Honokeana (cave bay), Honokahua (sites bay,) Honolua (two bays), Honokōhau (bay drawing dew) and Hononana (animated bay).
The Kāʻanapali District is noted for an alaloa (a path or trail) that reportedly encircled the entire island. Walker wrote: “The north end of Maui also is traversed by a paved trail. Sections of it can be seen from Honolua to Honokōhau to Kahakuloa. It is paved with beach rocks and has a width of four to six feet.” (PBR)
According to oral tradition, Piʻilani unified the entire island of Maui, bringing together under one rule the formerly-competing eastern (Hāna) and western (Wailuku) multi-district kingdoms of the Island. In the 1500s, Chief Piʻilani (“stairway to heaven”) unified West Maui and ruled in peace and prosperity. His territory included the six West Maui bays, a place he frequented.
Piʻilani’s prosperity was exemplified by a boom in agriculture and construction of heiau, fishponds, trails and irrigation systems. Famed for his energy and intelligence, Piʻilani constructed the West Maui phase of the noted Alaloa, or long trail (also known as the King’s Highway.)
His son, Kihapiʻilani laid the East Maui section and connected the island. This trail was the only ancient pathway to encircle any Hawaiian island (not only along the coast, but also up the Kaupō Gap and through the summit area and crater of Haleakalā.)
Four to six feet wide and 138-miles long, this rock-paved path facilitated both peace and war. It simplified local and regional travel and communication, and allowed the chief’s messengers to quickly get from one part of the island to another. The trail was used for the annual harvest festival of Makahiki and to collect taxes, promote production, enforce order and move armies.
Missionaries Richards, Andrews and Green noted in 1828, “a pavement said to have been built by Kihapiʻilani, a king … afforded us no inconsiderable assistance in traveling as we ascended and descended a great number of steep and difficult paries (pali.)” (Missionary Herald)
When chief Kekaulike died, his younger son Kamehamehanui (uncle to Kamehameha I) was named heir to rule Maui. In 1738, Kauhi‘aimokuakama (Kauhi,) his older brother, began to wage war to win the title of ruling chief.
Battles were fought across West Maui, from Ukumehame to Honokōwai. Kamehamehanui engaged the forces of his uncle from Hawai‘i to fight with him, whose troops numbered over 8,000, and Kauhi brought troops of warriors from O‘ahu.
“What was this war like? It employed the unusual method in warfare of drying up the streams of Kaua‘ula, Kanaha and Mahoma (Kahoma – which is the stream near Lahainaluna.) The wet taro patches and the brooks were dried up so that there was no food for the forces of Ka-uhi or for the country people.” (Kamakau)
“The hardest fighting, even compared with that at Napili and at Honokahua in Kāʻanapali, took place on the day of the attack at Puʻunene.” (Kamakau)
The war ended with the battle Koko O Nā Moku (“Bloodshed of the Islands.”) Over several days, the blood of fallen warriors from both sides flowed from a stream into the shorebreak and caused the ocean to turn red. (Kamehamehanui won.) (Kāʻanapali Historical Trail)
In 1765, Kahekili inherited all of Maui Nui and O‘ahu and was appointed successor to his brother Kamehamehanui’s kingdom (not to be confused with Hawai‘i Island’s Kamehameha I.)
Kapalua Resort is situated along this coast between Honokahua and Honokeana.
Agricultural use of the property for pineapple cultivation began in approximately 1912 when Honolua Ranch (which included the property) was converted from a cattle ranch into a pineapple plantation. By the 1920s, pineapple had been planted across West Maui from Miihinahina ahupua’a to Kahakuloa ahupua’a A cannery was built in Honokahua in 1914 and, in 1923, Honolua Ranch became Baldwin Packers, Ltd.
In 1962, Maui Land & Pineapple Company, Inc. was formed when Baldwin Packers merged with Maui Pineapple Company. Maui Land & Pineapple Company, Inc., created the wholly-owned subsidiary named Kapalua Land Company, Ltd., which conceived of and developed the master-planned Kapalua Resort featuring the Kapalua Bay Hotel at the shore of Honokahua ahupuaʻa. The hotel opened in 1978, beginning the change of the former ranch and pineapple lands of Honokahua into a world-class destination resort complex.
Starting in 1987, to prepare for proposed ocean-side construction of the Ritz Carlton at Kapalua more than 900 ancestral native Hawaiian burials were excavated from sand dunes at Honokahua, Maui. When the extent of the burials became more widely known, native Hawaiians from around the state staged protests.
Eventually a plan was devised in September 1989 for the proper reburial of the native Hawaiian remains disinterred. Associated with that, the state paid $6-million for a perpetual preservation easement and restoration of the burial site. A 14-acre site is now a historical and cultural landmark.
In addition, as a result of this, Hawaiʻi’s burial treatment law, passed in 1990, gives unmarked burials, most of which are native Hawaiian, the same protection as modern cemeteries. The law:
- Burial Sites Program was set up within DLNR’s Historic Preservation Division
- Burial Councils were set up at Kaua’i-Ni’ihau, O’ahu, Maui-Lānaʻi, Molokaʻi and Big Island
- Procedures to deal with the inadvertent discovery of human skeletal remains were established
- If human remains are found during a construction project, construction, there stops and if the remains appear to have been buried 50 or more years, procedures were established to preserve them in place or relocate them
- Provided penalties for unauthorized alteration, excavation or destruction of unmarked burial sites
“Honokahua changed the history of Hawaiʻi. They have set precedent that we will never ever go back to this complacency and complete disregard for the iwi of our kupuna. Honokahua has created the laws, Honokahua is the law, this stands as the kahili (feather standard, a sign of royalty) for all burial sites from here on to perpetuity. This is the battleground, this is the piko (navel, umbilical cord) of these new laws.” (Naeole, DLNR)
Now, Kapalua at Honokahua includes The Ritz-Carlton, the Ritz-Carlton Club and Residences at Kapalua Bay, the Kapalua Spa, eight residential subdivisions, two championship golf courses (The Bay and The Plantation,) ten-court tennis facilities, several restaurants, and over 800 condominiums, single-family homes and residential lots. (In 2006, the Kapalua Bay Hotel was taken down.) Fleming Beach Park is at Honokahua Bay.
The history of Baldwin Packers dates back to 1836 when Dwight Baldwin, a doctor with the fourth company of American missionaries to Hawaii, settled on Maui.
After seventeen years of service, Doctor Baldwin was granted 2,675-acres, the lands of the Mahinahina and Kahana ahupua’a, for farming and grazing. From that base, new lands were acquired until the holdings, known as Honolua Ranch, reached 24,500 acres in 1902.
The business of Honolua Ranch included fishing, raising cattle and farming crops of taro, mango, aloe and coffee bean. It’s ranch manager, David Fleming, was from Scotland.
First, after careful study of resources, water was directed from streams and gulches, providing water and electricity to the new headquarters of Honolua Ranch which was moved from Honolua Bay to Kapalua, an area more suitable for agriculture. Likewise, Fleming reforested watershed land with sandalwood and koa.
West Maui’s roots in the historic pineapple industry began in 1912, when Fleming began growing pineapple there; almost overnight the pineapple industry boomed. Honolua Ranch was soon renamed Baldwin Packers; at one time they were the largest producer of private label pineapple and pineapple juice in the nation.
Baldwin Packers started pineapple canning in 1914 and at first its cannery was located close to its pineapple fields in the Honolua section. Difficulty in securing labor in the busiest seasons of packing and the distance of the haul from the cannery to Kaʻānapali, which was then its shipping point, made it advisable to secure a location nearer town.
Baldwin Packers Pineapple cannery was eventually located at Lāhainā, this addressed transportation (proximity to Mala Wharf) and labor concerns. At Mala, the cannery was eight or ten miles from the fields and the fruit is transported to the plant by rail and truck.
In 1922, Mala Wharf was built and it was hoped that this new pier would facilitate transporting the pineapple, however, it was discovered that the ocean currents at Mala Wharf were too treacherous for the ships to navigate safely. Produce had to be taken by barge to awaiting ships.
By 1924, the Baldwin Packers Ltd. Cannery was producing 4,500 cases of canned pineapple per day. The pineapples were transported from the fields to the cannery by the Pioneer Mill Co. Railroad Line. By 1932, the roads have been improved enough to transport the fruit by truck to Kahului Harbor.
The Baldwins became one of the Big Five families who dominated Hawaiʻi’s business community in the century before World War II, establishing a far-reaching business empire with holdings in agriculture, ranching, coffee, canning and other activities.
The Baldwins’ growing and canning operations in Lāhainā continued for many decades. However, in 1962 the Baldwins’ east and west Maui holdings and pineapple operations were united when Baldwin Packers merged with Maui Pineapple Company. It was around that time that the Baldwin Packers pineapple cannery in west Maui was closed.
One of the businesses spawned from the varied interests of the Baldwins was Maui Pine’s earliest direct predecessor, the Keahua Ranch Co., which was incorporated in December 1909 to control a portion of the family’s pineapple operations.
In 1929 the Keahua Ranch Co. was renamed the Haleakala Pineapple Co., Ltd., three years before the pineapple operations of Haleakalā and Maui Agricultural Company were consolidated to create Maui Pineapple Company, Ltd.
J. Walter Cameron, a descendant of the Baldwin family, was appointed manager of the new company, presiding over its development for the next 30 years until a flurry of corporate maneuvers created the Maui Pine that existed during the 1990s.
In August 1962, Alexander & Baldwin, a principal Baldwin family concern, merged three of its pineapple operations, Baldwin Packers, Ltd., Maui Pineapple Company, Ltd., and the old Haleakala Pineapple Company, to create what four months later became the Maui Pineapple Company, Ltd.
In 1969, it became Maui Land & Pineapple Company, Inc. (ML&P), the largest employer on the island of Maui. The company’s president was Colin C. Cameron, a fifth-generation descendant of the Baldwin family.
All operations were moved to the Kahului plant and the Lāhainā cannery plant was closed soon after. The idea of utilizing the old cannery site as a mall was first conceived in 1972.
However, by 1985, the original cannery building had fallen to such disrepair that any hopes of renovation had to be abandoned, along with the original structure.
In 1987, the Lāhainā Cannery Mall was built on the same site where the original plant once stood; it was designed to look like a pineapple cannery with the corrugated style and factory-like open conduits inside were adopted for the design.
Maui is the second largest of the Hawaiian Islands, and covers about 730 square miles. Maui consists of two separate volcanoes with a combining isthmus between the two.
The Mauna Kahālāwai (West Maui Mountain) is probably the older of the two; Haleakala (East Maui) was last active about 1790, whereas activity on West Maui is wholly pre-historic.
“…West Maui has many sharp peaks and ridges, which are divided by deep valleys, and which in descending towards the sea open out and form sloping plains on the north and south sides of considerable extent.” (Wilkes, US Exploring Expedition of 1840-1841)
West Maui has played an important role in the history of Maui and the neighboring islands of Moloka‘i, Lānaʻi and Kahoʻolawe, with West Maui serving as the Royal Center, selected for its abundance of resources and recreation opportunities, with good surfing and canoe-landing sites being favored.
Probably there is no portion of our Valley Isle, around which gathers so much historic value as West Maui. It was the former capital and favorite residence of kings and chiefs.
After serving for centuries as home to ruling chiefs, West Maui was selected by Kamehameha III and his chiefs to be the seat of government; here the first Hawaiian constitution was drafted and the first legislature was convened.
On its eastern side, from the highest peak of Pu‘u Kukui to the shoreline of Kahului Bay, the ahupua‘a (land division) of Wailuku was a favorite place of Ali‘i and a ruling center of Maui.
‘Īao Valley is part of the ahupua‘a. For centuries, high chiefs and navigators from across the archipelago were buried in secret, difficult-to-access sites in the valley’s steep walls.
The Pu‘u Kukui Watershed Preserve (Pu‘u Kukui Preserve) was established in 1988 to protect watershed forests and associated native plants and animals.
A subsidiary of Maui Land & Pineapple, Inc. (ML&P) owns the property and began management programs in August 1988, under a management agreement with The Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i.
The Pu‘u Kukui Preserve stretches from about 480 feet elevation at Honokōhau Stream to the Pu‘u Kukui summit – the highest point on Mauna Kahālāwai (West Maui) at 5,788 feet elevation. It lies between the Kahakuloa and Honokowai sections of the state’s West Maui Natural Area Reserve.
These three areas, together with the 1,264 acre Kapunakea Preserve (managed by The Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i), form 13,000 acres of contiguous forests that are protected by the programs of state and private natural area managers.
The Pu‘u Kukui Preserve encompasses a very large area, much of which is remote and extremely rugged. Access to the Preserve is restricted by ML&P.
This policy is intended to minimize trampling of fragile soils and rare plants, prevent the spread of weeds by hikers, and protect public safety.
At over 8,600-acres, the Pu`u Kukui Preserve is the largest privately-owned nature preserve in the state.
The rain forests, shrub lands and bogs of the Pu‘u Kukui Preserve serve as a significant water source for West Maui residents and industries.
It is the summit of Mauna Kahālāwai and the West Maui mountainside that form a backdrop to Kapalua Resort, Kā‘anapali Resort and broader West Maui community. It is home to plant and animal species that exist nowhere else in Hawai‘i, let alone the rest of the world.
It’s also one of the wettest spots on earth (average yearly rainfall at the rain gage since 1928 is about 364 inches;) Pu‘u Kukui is a natural watershed on most of the West Maui community rely for water.
Conservation measures expanded in 1998, when the property was included in the West Maui Mountains Watershed Partnership.
The West Maui Mountains Watershed Partnership, like other Hawai‘i Watershed partnerships is a voluntary alliances of public and private landowners committed to the common value of protecting large areas of forested watersheds for water recharge and conservation values.
This partnership coordinates conservation efforts of the private and public landholding entities of Mauna Kahalawai (West Maui mountains), allowing for management of natural systems regardless of property boundaries.
The preserve is home to at least 36 species of rare plants, three native forest birds, and at least seven species of rare native tree snails. It stretches from the 480 foot elevation at Honokōhau Stream to the 5,788 foot elevation at the Pu‘u Kukui Summit.
The rain forest and the shrub lands of the area serve as a significant water source for both West Maui residents and industries alike.
Dwight Baldwin was born on September 29, 1798 to Seth Baldwin (1775 –1832,) (a framer) and Rhoda Hull Baldwin in Durham, Connecticut, and moved to Durham, New York, in 1804. His father, He was the second of 12 children. (Baldwin Genealogy)
He was employed with his father on the farm, enjoying the benefits of the common school, and generally in winter of a select school, till the age of sixteen. In the fall of 1814, he commenced the study of Latin, with a view to prepare for College.
The last of his teachers being a graduate of Williams College, he was induced to enter at Williams, where he spent two years; and then he left Williams and entered Yale College, where he graduated in September, 1821.
By the recommendation of President Day, the next two years he was employed as Principal of the Academy in Kingston, Ulster County, NY. A third year was spent in teaching a select school in Catskill, Greene county. He then devoted himself to the study of medicine, at the same time teaching a select school in Durham, NY.
Then, he got caught in the religious fervor; about the first of March, 1826, he found relief in believing in an Almighty Redeemer, a hope which has never forsaken him. Religion became the all-absorbing subject of his thought by day and by night. (Baldwin Genealogy)
He soon came to the decision to join a mission, and September 3, of that year, he united with the Congregational Church in Durham, NY, and soon after he entered the Theological Seminary at Auburn, where he spent three years, offering his services into the American Board of Boston for a Foreign Mission … and they were accepted.
He did not have time to await official recognition of his medical degree so at direction of the Prudential Committee he took his diploma as Master of Science. He was ordained at Utica, NY on October 6, 1830.
He was introduced by a friend to Charlotte Fowler, daughter of Deacon Solomon Fowler of North Branford, Connecticut, and a few weeks later was married to her on December 3, 1830. Twenty-five days later they set sail with the Fourth Company of missionaries to Hawaiʻi on the ship ‘New England;’ he arrived at Honolulu, June 7, 1831. (Baldwin)
They ended up in Maui. Construction on the coral-and-rock Baldwin House began in 1834 and was completed in 1835; it’s the oldest house in Lāhainā.
The thick walls were made of coral and stone. The structure was sturdy consisting of hand-hewn timbers. In 1840, a bedroom and study was added, and in 1849, an entire second story was completed.
The faithful restoration of the Baldwin Home by the Lāhainā Restoration Foundation is based on careful documentary and archeological research.
It is part of the Lāhainā National Historical American Buildings Survey. It was deeded to the Lāhainā Restoration Foundation by the HP Baldwin Estate in 1967. It can never be sold and will remain in the Public Domain in perpetuity.
The home itself, the household furniture, the aged photographs and artifacts, the displays and library present a picture of the missionary who was both a physician and a constructive community force.
His educational background coupled with many natural abilities guided him to be helpful in the establishment of a system of just and democratic laws and most importantly the education of the Hawaiian people who learned much besides religion.
They were taught reading and writing in Hawaiian and English trained in agriculture and mechanics, studied the practical arts in the high school above Lāhainā; and finally learned to understand constitutional government, diplomacy and finance.
As a practicing physician, Rev. Baldwin treated and helped save the people of Maui, Molokai and Lāna‘i.
A series of epidemics swept through the Hawaiian Islands, whooping cough and measles, soon after followed by waves of dysentery and influenza; then, in 1853, a terrible smallpox epidemic.
Although precise counts are not known, there were thousands of smallpox deaths on O‘ahu; Baldwin is credited with keeping the toll to only a few hundred on Maui.
Dwight Baldwin was patriarch of a family that founded some of the largest businesses in the islands. His son, Henry Perrine Baldwin (1842–1911) and Samuel Thomas Alexander (1836–1904; also son of a missionary) met in Lāhainā, Maui.
They grew up together, became close friends and went on to develop a sugar-growing partnership that spanned generations and left an indelible mark on Hawai‘i – Alexander & Baldwin (one of Hawai‘i’s Big Five companies.)
In addition, sons Henry Perrine Baldwin and David Dwight Baldwin laid the foundation for what is now known as Maui Land & Pineapple Company, Inc in the late 1800s through the acquisition of land and formation of associated companies.
In 1870 Dwight and Charlotte moved to Honolulu as their health deteriorated and lived with their daughter Harriet (called “Hattie”). Charlotte died October 2, 1873, and Dwight died on January 3, 1886; they are buried at the Kawaiahaʻo Church cemetery.
Lāhainā Restoration Foundation oversees and maintains 11 major historic structures in Lāhainā and provides tours of the Baldwin House. Hours of Operation: Open Daily from 10 am – 4 pm ($5 Kama‘āina admission); Candlelit Tours Fridays 6 pm – 8:30 pm ($6 Kama‘āina admission)