top of page

Molokaʻi Ranch Timeline



King Kauikeaouli, Kamehameha III, retains the ahupuaʻa of Kaluakoʻi.

Kaluakoʻi 1 was returned by a person named Kupa, and Kaluakoʻi 2 was returned by a person named John Stevenson and retained by the Government as the King’s personal lands during the Māhele. The Māhele ʻĀina, 1848-1850, was enacted by King Kamehameha III and was the start of land division and privatization in Hawaiʻi.


Aliʻiwahine Bernice Pauahi Pākī marries Charles Reed Bishop.


Kaunakakai claimed by the parents of Aliʻiwahine Bernice Pauahi.

Abner Kaʻehu Pākī and Aliʻiwahine Laura Kanaholo Konia, granddaughter of Kamehameha I, held the title to Kaunakakai. Aliʻiwahine Bernice Pauahi inherited these lands.


Royal Patent for Kaluakoʻi Ahupuaʻa was awarded to Charles Reed Bishop.

Royal Patent Grant #3146 signed by King Kalākaua was awarded to Charles Reed Bishop. Bishop’s property in Kaluakoʻi totaled 46,500 acres. Bernice Pauahi Bishop hired Rudolf Meyer (R.W. Meyer), who was married to Chiefess Kalama, to manage the leasing and grazing rights of Kaluakoʻi.


Aliʻiwahine Bernice Pauahi Bishop dies.

On October 16, 1884, Aliʻiwahine Bernice Pauahi Bishop dies of breast cancer. In her will she wished that a portion of her estate (375,569 acres) be used "to erect and maintain in the Hawaiian Islands two for boys and one girls, to be known as, and called the Kamehameha Schools." After her death, her husband, Charles Reed Bishop managed her estate. In her will, Pauahi names Charles Reed Bishop, Samuel M. Damon, Charles M. Hyde. Charles M. Cooke, and William O. Smith as trustees of her estate for the Kamehameha Schools.


Pauahi wills all of her lands on Molokaʻi to Charles Reed Bishop.

“Ninth. I give, devise and bequeath unto my husband, Charles R. Bishop, all of the various tracts and parcels of land situated upon the Island of Molokai, comprising the "Molokai Ranch", and all of the live-stock and personal property thereon; being the same premises now under the care of R. W. [Meyer] Esq.; and also all of the real property wherever situated, inherited by me from my parents, and also all of that devised to me by my aunt Akahi, except the two lands above devised to H. R. H. Liliuokalani for her life;... to have and to hold together with all tenements, hereditaments, rights, privileges, and appurtenances to the game appertaining, for and during the term of his natural life; and upon his decease to my trustees upon the trusts below expressed.”


Kamehameha School for Boys is established.

Kamehameha Schools started as an all-boys school with the girl's school built later on. The school opens on October 3, 1887, and starts out with just 4 instructors and 37 pupils.


The 1887 Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi (The Bayonet Constitution).


King David Kalākaua dies and Queen Liliʻuokalani ascends the throne.


Illegal Overthrow of the Hawaiian Nation.

On January 17, 1893, the oligarchy illegally overthrew the Hawaiian Nation. Queen Liliʻuokalani immediately protested the illegal behavior. Her letter addressed to Sanford Dole stated:

" I, Liliuokalani, by the grace of God and under the constitution of the Hawaiian Kingdom, Queen, do hereby solemnly protest against any and all acts done against myself and the constitutional Government of the Hawaiian Kingdom by certain persons claiming to have established a Provisional Government of and for this kingdom.

That I yield to the superior force of the United States of America, whose Minister Plenipotentiary, His Excellency John L. Stevens, has caused United States troops to be landed at Honolulu, and declared that he would support the said Provisional Government.

Now to avoid any collision of armed forces, and perhaps the loss of life, I do, under this protest and impelled by said forces, yield my authority until such time as the Government of the United States shall, upon the facts being presented to it, undo the action of its representative, and reinstate me in the authority which I claim as the constitutional sovereign of the Hawaiian Islands.

Done at Honolulu, this 17th day of January, A. D. 1893."


Charles Reed Bishop gifts nearly 96,000 acres of his personal estate to Bishop Estate.


“The Hon. C. R. Bishop has given the Kamehameha schools an esteemed donation, namely his entire land parcel of Kaluakoʻi in Molokaʻi.”

“This land parcel is nearly 96,000 acres.”

“The land title was given to the trustees of Kamehameha school and they will maintain the property for the benefit of the schools.”


Trustees of the Bishop Estate sell the lands gifted by C.R. Bishop to Molokai Ranch Co.


Molokai Ranch acquires 70,000 acres from Bishop Estate and begins Sugar endeavors on the land.

“Development of this property failed for the reason that the pumps, which had been installed in surface wells to irrigate the cane fields, were of such large capacity that they soon exhausted the sweet water, and pumped water with such a high salt content that it could not be used for cane culture. Thus, [the American Sugar Company] sugar plantation had to be abandoned.”

-Charles M. Cooke, 1898.


The Territory of Hawaiʻi is Established.

  • 1894: Republic of Hawaiʻi

  • 1895: Imprisonment of Queen Liliʻuokalani

  • 1897: Kūʻē Petitions

  • 1898: Illegal Annexation

  • 1900: Territory of Hawaiʻi


Charles M. Cooke buys out the partners’ interests in Molokai Ranch.


Ideas of Rehabilitation and Homesteading begin within the Territory.

“IT IS THE PLAN [...] to bring to the attention of Hawaiians the following: That he must wake up and fully realize that he is ‘nobody’ and that he has “nothing”; that he must start a new life, by going back to the soil and by fishing, as his ancestors did; [...] That he must work hard, and work hard every day, or else he will be a thief, stealing, to keep his lazy body alive; [...] That he must save and think of his future, or else he will slowly starve to death, a burden to his fellow-men; [...] That he must be a student and a thinker, or else he will be a simpleton unfit to receive the attention of this neighbors; [...] That it is a thousand times better for him to be a laborer on the plantation where he will have good and sanitary quarters, than to be a street-walker looking for jobs, dying in a filthy tenement room; [...] That his best friends are the Athertons, Baldwins, Castles, Cookes, Dillinghams, Joneses and the Rices; that said “old families” and their children will always help him when he proves himself deserving and that it is to his advantage to “look up” to them, for they will always have kindly feelings for him; [...] That his is a subservient Race and it is only by bettering his condition, pulling himself up to the standard of the other more enlightened and earlier civilized races that he can ever expect to be their equal…”


Hawaiian Homes Commission Act passed by Congress.

“Those who contend that [...] Hawaiians [...] ought to have first choice of the highly cultivated lands, completely misunderstood the purpose of rehabilitation. We don’t want to make the Hawaiians rich, we want to make them work. [...].Give these same squatters rich cane land and they would sit on the lanai and strum a guitar or tickle a ukulele, while some Japanese did the hoehana in the fields. That isn’t what we want, that isn’t rehabilitation.”

Executive Files, Charles McCarthy


The Admission Act enacts statehood in Hawaiʻi.

“I do not feel...we should forfeit the traditional rights and privileges of the natives of our islands for a mere thimbleful of votes in Congress, that we, the lovers of Hawaii from long association with it should sacrifice our birthright for the greed of alien desires to remain on our shores, that we should satisfy the thirst for power and control of some inflated industrialists and politicians who hide under the guise of friends of Hawaii, yet still keeping an eagle eye on the financial and political pressure button of subjugation over the people in general of these islands.”

Senator Alice Kamokila Campbell


Molokaʻi Ranch Developments.

  • 1970: Kaluakoʻi Resort property developed

  • 1972: Libby, McNeill, and Libby sell to Dole Corporation

  • 1977: Kaluakoʻi Resort developed

  • 1980: Mauna Loa housing development begins

  • 1987: Kaluakoʻi Resort sold to Kukui Resort Inc.

  • 1994-96: Kukui Resort water pipeline

  • 1997: Proposed U.S Marine Corp training in Kaluakoʻi.

  • 1999: Kaluakoi Resort sells land to the Maui County Water Department=

  • 2000: Kukui Resort closes

  • 2001: Brierley Investments purchases Kaluakoi Resort

  • 2002: Molokaʻi Ranch opens Kaluakoʻi Golf Course

  • 2008: Molokaʻi Ranch closes all operations


From 1848 to the present day, the ranch lands in question have gone through a turbulent history that has left the island, its people, and its resources in a state of ʻehaʻeha, or pain. What this timeline reveals is the steadfast dedication that the Molokaʻi community has to their ʻāina. The name chosen for the non-profit dedicated to achieving social and environmental justice is ʻāina momona, which literally means fat, fertile, or rich land or soil. We understand “ʻāina momona” to mean land of abundance. In actuality, the soil and the lands of Molokaʻi’s west end are far from rich and fertile. Time, climate change, and improper land management have left those lands to be classified as wastelands for over a century now. The once rich and fruitful brown soil of Molokaʻi is now red, eroded, and infertile for most crops. The water once contained within the land has been pumped dry, and what was once a legacy of abundance has been unjustly transformed into a legacy of mitigation. What is it, then, that makes Molokaʻi an “ʻāina momona?”

2,054 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page