Visit ‘Iole Stewardship Center

About The Center

As a Hawaiian cultural based education nonprofit, we create experiences where learners and visitors understand their environment, natural resources and discover the impact they can have on their world and their community. Our programs take place on a 2400-acre campus in the ahuapua‘a of ‘Iole. ‘Iole Stewardship Center lives on the ancestral lands dating back to Chief Nae‘ole and his family and Kamehameha the first. Hawaiians have been stewards of this land and waters since time immemorial.

Schedule A Tour

Experience ‘Iole Stewardship Center by booking a cultural tour of ‘Iole Ahupua’a .

The ahupua‘a of ‘Iole is well documented by notable historians, Kamakau, Elbert and Mookini, and Pukui, as having strong connections to ali’i nui. The lands provided a place of recreation, respite, training, and farming. Because of the relationship between ali’i and ‘aina there are many historically significant sites.

Unfortunately, many of the sites no longer exist today. As a 21st century ahupua‘a ‘Iole Stewardship Center has prioritized the restoration of as many historic sites as possible to honor that legacy and to integrate the legacy in today’s environment. Today the ahupua‘a leases portions of it lands to cattle ranchers, equitrians, macadamia nut farmers, and the aquaculture venture, Kohala Mountain Fish Company.

Cultural Sites

Heiau, Loko I‘a, Hālau Wa‘a

Three heiau are associated within ‘Iole Ahupua‘a and all three were located makai, ocean side, of the government road. Palapala Ho‘omau Heiau, Mulei‘ula Heiau, and Ohau heiau. A fourth heiau, Hale o Ka‘ili, was located in the adjoining ahupua‘a. All four heiau were connected to Kamehameha.

Two loko i‘a or fishponds are also described in historical contexts at Kauhola and Hala‘ula.

In addition to the heiau and loko i‘a, the kauhale o Walawala, housing complex of Princess Walawala, is part of the cultural site inventory.

Historic Landmarks

Elias Bond Homestead

Missionary presence in Kohala began between 1823 – 1837. Father Elias Bond moved to Kohala with his wife, Ellen in 1841. Elias Bond was a missionary, Reverend, architect, educator, and businessman. He built his homestead, the Kohala Girls School, started the Kohala Sugar Company, and through grants acquired ‘Iole Ahupua’a from Kamehameha III and IV, which was a part of the Kamehameha share of Crown Lands during the Mahele in 1848.

Kohala Girls School

The Kohala Girls School held classes from 1874 through 1882, when the first principal, Lizzie Lyons, passed away. After seven years of closure the Hawaiian Evangelical Association of Congregational Churches received the deed to the school in 1887, with the stipulation that the property would revert back to the Bond family if the church no longer used the school for educational purposes.

Loʻi Kalo

Two of three large lo‘i kalo known to be favorites of Kamehameha I will be restored. The ‘auwai or water course feeding into the lo’i is named after Kamehameha, illustrating his strong relationship and kuleana to this ‘āina. An excerpt from the 1927 book written by E.M. Damon. Father Bond of Kohala: A Chronicle of Pioneer Life in Hawaii, states:

“Certain it is that the old water course of Kamehameha the Great had been carefully and skillfully constructed to water the taro patches for as much as a mile down the Iole land. In the old days each taro patch had its own name. Beautiful they still are today, terraced up the hill to the outlet of the watercourse. This runs along up the side of the steep, wooded Wainaia gulch. In Kamehameha’s time it was a shallow ditch carrying off little more that surface flow, in itself abundant, from a number of springs . . . With the removal of forests in the mauka (upland) lands these springs have greatly diminished. The forest used to come much further down.”

Support Lo’i Restoration

At ‘Iole Stewardship Center, we are guided by the values, principles and wisdom of Mālama ‘Āina or to care for and properly steward the land. Your support of our center helps to restore historic cultural sites and further build on our educational programs.

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