A Brief History

The fate of Captain Cook


Long before Captain Cook set foot on Hawai’i’s shores, Hāmākua was home to a bustling community composed of generations of Native Hawaiians. This was the original birthplace of kings, and locals believe this place has been infused by mana and honua—power and peace.  

 Legend has it that Waipi’o Valley, located at the heart of Hāmākua, was formed by a boastful warrior who dragged his club through the land to demonstrate his strength.  

King Kamehameha was hidden in this Garden of Eden and raised on its fertile shores.  


Other stories detail how Polihau, a beautiful goddess, formed the verdant beauty and striking  presence of Mauna Kea, the source of many of Hāmākua’s sheer falls and streams.  

Below are details and photos of some of the historic moments of the islands and of this   impossibly exquisite region:  
  •  1779: Captain Cook moors in nearby Kealakekua Bay.
  • 1802: Chinese immigrants begin refining sugar in Hawai’i.
  • Religious colonialists of 1820

    1820: Missionaries land in Hawai’i. 

  • 1898: Hawai’i is declared a U.S. Territory.
  • Annexation day in Hawaii 1898

1899: Hāmākua Sugar Company is formed via a consolidation of seven plantations.

Hamakua Sugar is formed in 1899


Hawaii Consolidated Railway Train


 Hawaii Consolidated Railway passenger train emerges from Maulua Tunnel and crosses over Maulua Gulch headed for the line’s end at Hamakua Mill yard below Pa’auilo.

  • 1930: Honoka’a People’s Theatre is built.

    Honokaa People's Theater

  • 1941: Pearl Harbor is attacked.

    Japanese attack Hawaii in 1941

1959: Hawai’i is declared the 50th state of the U.S.

Hawaii becomes thte 50th state


  •  1986: The first Native Hawaiian wins an official position: Governor John. D. Waike’e III
  • John Waihee


  • 1993: Sugar plantations close; Honoka’a People’s Theatre initiates first annual Hamakua Music Festival


  • Today the community is thriving and residents celebrate its diverse culture and roots  


Paniolo o Hamakua

Japanese Bon Dance Drummers

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