Make Yourself at Home in Hamakua

The Hamakua district sits on the northeast coast on the Big Island of Hawaii. Part of the County of Hawaii, this place shares its name with the 50-mile long shoreline in the area, the Hamakua Coast.

The landscape of the Hamakua region differs from those found in other parts of Hawaii because of its vertical ledges and valleys, as well as the abundance of green vegetation and the absence of sand-covered beaches. Mauna Kea, a volcanic mountain, rises above Hamakua in the midst of this regionally unique terrain and is an important setting for several local legends. One tale characterizes the volcano as the place of residence for the snow goddess Poli'ahu.

During the ancient times of Hawaii's history, Hamakua was one of a half dozen traditional districts on the island. In 1847, John Palmer Parker founded Parker Ranch in the grasslands around Mauna Kea, and as the years passed, the ranch operations grew to encircle the nearby mountainside. Sugar cane was at the center of Hamakua's early economy, with many tiny communities cropping up around the plantations that thrived here through the 20th century. Toward the end of the previous century, sugar production saw a sharp decline. Farmers then turned to growing a variety of crops including papaya, coffee and macadamia nuts.

In the old days the Hawaii Consolidated Railway was expanded to serve as a connecting route between the sugar plantations and Hilo Bay, but a tsunami swept the area in 1946 and destroyed the tracks. Later on the State of Hawaii obtained the right-of-way for the realignment of the Hawaii Belt Road in 1960, a stretch known as the Mamalahoa Highway where travelers will find the Hawaii and World Botanical Gardens, Kolekole Beach Park and Akaka Falls.

Local children are educated at Honokaa Elementary and Honokaa High and Intermediate School, both of which are run by the Hawaii State Department of Education. Hawaii County provides full-time police protection for residents. A fully-staffed fire department also provides ambulance services to the region, as well as land and sea search and rescue and hazardous materials response.

Featured Hamakua Properties