|Welcome to Molokai
The Most Hawaiian Island. Often called "The
Friendly Island" because the aloha spirit flourishes
The only one of Moloka'i's five epic valleys that's easily
accessible. The land speaks of its past as you hike among
ancient heiau. Two silver waterfalls cascade hundreds of
feet, and there's a blue lagoon and a golden beach - where
legends say some of the first Polynesian voyagers landed
in their double-hulled canoes - at the mouth of the valley.
Moloka'i's town center is a laid-back gem, a real Hawai'i
original. Ala Malama street is just a block long, with a
potpourri of eateries and shops. Check out Friendly Market,
Mrs. Ko's Lunch Counter, Imamura's Store, Moloka'i Pizza
Cafe (yummy), Kanemitsu's Bakery, Outpost Natural Foods
(super fresh lunches), and Pascua's General Store. And at
Kaunakakai harbor, do not miss the famous Moloka'i Ice House,
voted to have the best poke, sashimi and lomi ahi in the
whole state. All their marvelous fish concoctions are as
fresh as humanly possible, deliciously prepared and seasoned,
and very reasonably priced.
A contender for the finest beach in all Hawai'i, at three
miles in length and 100 yards wide it is the second largest
in the state, and definitely the best on Moloka'i.
With recently widened and paved streets, and plans for artisans
studios and new restaurants, Maunaloa is Moloka'i's "happening"
village. It now offers the island's only movie theatre (a
triplex!) and fast-food spot - a Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Check out the General Store, the Village Grill and the whimsical
Big Wind Kite Factory.
Also in Maunaloa is this legendary "bonanza" of
a ranch. Still a working cattle spread, Moloka'i Ranch today
has dedicated itself to providing every sort of thrill-seeking
excitement and fun imaginable. So buckle up and get ready
- it's a great ride! Shop at the one-of-a-kind Outfitter
Center, and stay at the shoreside camps, with their unique
bungalows and beach-and-barbeque lifestyle, or at the new,
luxurious and spacious Moloka'i Ranch Lodge.
Take the mule ride, hike or fly down to this picturesque,
isolated peninsula, a National Historic Park. Made famous
by Father Damien, its pristine splendor is surrounded
by the astonishing North Shore pali, sea cliffs which
vault straight up for 3,000 feet - the tallest on earth.
Pala'au State Park
Overlooking Kalaupapa, this 34-acre recreation area has
more than magnificent views -- the hike among aromatic eucalyptus
and whispering ironwood trees and the 1,000 ft. elevation
make it a blissful retreat.
Kamakou and Mo'omomi
The Nature Conservancy manages Kamakou Preserve, a spellbindingly
lush, 2774-acre rainforest sanctuary filled with over 250
indigenous plants and native birds on the slopes of the
isle's highest mountain. Also under the care of The Nature
Conservancy, the Mo'omomi Dunes - a scenic, wind-blown preserve
that can only be visited by four-wheel-drive jeep. Important
to archaeologists, botanists, and marine biologists, the
Smithsonian discovered bones of prehistoric birds here that
existed nowhere else on earth.
One of the largest platform heiau in all Hawai'i, this Hawaiian
temple is believed to have been three times its current
size of over 3,000 s.f. and up to 22 ft. high. Emanating
vibrations of a powerful past, it is a peaceful place to
learn about time-honored Hawaiian traditions. Hike or horseback
or wagon ride the dirt path to the heiau's lush setting.
Ancient Hawaiians practiced a very sophisticated form of
aquaculture, and this is one of the finest examples of Moloka'i's
fishponds. Most were built 700-800 years ago, and at one
time more than sixty were operating on the island's southern
BIOLOGY Molokai has a wide variety of plant, marine
and animal life. Many species are rare and endangered including
the Pueo (Hawaiian owl) and the Humpback Whale (the official
state marine mammal). Vegetation zones include coastal,
dryland forest, mixed open forest, and rain forest.
CLIMATE Like most of the Hawaiian Islands, Molokai
has only two seasons: "summer" between May and
October and "winter" between October and April.
The island is divided into an arid western region and a
verdant eastern region. Depending upon locale:
- average temperature ranges from 75 (°F) to 85 (°F)
- yearly average rainfall is 30 inches
CULTURAL HISTORY Molokai, from earliest times, was
revered and feared as a center for mysticism and sorcery.
Today Molokai is a sanctuary for those who seek the real
A Word about Kalaupapa: Starting in 1866, Hawaii's victims
of Hansen's Disease (Leprosy) were dumped on Molokai's Kalaupapa
Peninsula to die. The isolated settlement was literally
hell on earth until the arrival of Father Damien in 1873.
A catholic priest from Belgium, he treated the exiles with
dignity and gave them a sense of hope. Today, Hansen's Disease
is treatable and is one of the least contagious of all communicable
diseases. With the arrest of the disease, the remaining
small community of resident patients on Kalaupapa choose
to live in the only home they've ever known.
As part of Maui County, Molokai is a multi-cultural society
with major immigration from:
- Polynesia - 700 A.D.
- United States - 1820
- China - 1852
- Japan - 1868
- Portugal - 1878
- Puerto Rico - 1900
- Korea - 1903
- Philippines - 1906
ECONOMY Hawaii's cost of living is one of America's
highest, its per capita personal income below average. In
fact, Hawaii's cost of living for a family of four is estimated
to be approximately 27% higher than the U.S. average for
a comparable standard of living. In 1999, Hawaii's average
per capita personal income of $27,544 was 3.5% below the
U.S. average - the price of living in Paradise!
The State of Hawaii's major sources of annual income include:
- Tourism - $10.3 billion (1999)*
- Federal Defense Spending - $4.2 billion(1999)
- Sugar - $133.1 million (1998)
- Pineapple - $145.1 million (1998)
* Tourism annual income figures are deceptive, since a
percentage of tourism dollars do not remain in the Islands,
but are returned to overseas investors.
The 1990's has been the worst decade in Hawaii's economic
history since World War II due, in large measure, to the
decline in tourism from the East and the demise of the sugar
and pineapple industries. To meet the challenges of the
21st Century, Hawaii is working to diversify its economy
with a focus on industries such as science and technology,
health and wellness tourism, diversified agriculture, ocean
research and development, and film and television production.
On Molokai there are attempts at diversified aquaculture/agriculture
to offset the collapse of pineapple cultivation. Tourism
is minimal - approximately 69,657 visitors in 1999.
In ancient times Molokai was an affluent community boasting
the most fishponds in the Islands and a prosperous adze
quarry industry. Today's Molokians are the last survivors
of a lost race holding on desperately to what little they
have left - struggling to keep their island as it once was
and wants to be.
EDUCATION Molokai :
- K-12 students (1995): 1907
- Public schools (1995): 5
- Private schools (1993): 2
- Molokai Education Center - part of Maui Community College
GEOGRAPHY Molokai has 260.9 square miles of geographic
diversity. Perpetually green valleys, tumbling waterfalls,
scented pine forests, tangled bamboo thickets, trackless
beaches, drifting sand dunes, sheer cliffs that hang from
clouds to earth (the tallest in the world dropping 3,000
feet to the sea). The island is approximately 38 miles long
and 10 miles wide, with just over 88 miles of unspoiled
- located in Polynesia
- near the center of the Pacific Ocean
- just below the Tropic of Cancer
- one of the most remote spots on Earth
- 2,340 miles west of California
- the fifth largest of the 8 main Hawaiian islands
GEOLOGY Molokai (the third oldest island in the
Hawaiian chain) rose from the sea roughly 2 million years
Scientists say the Hawaiian Islands were born according
to laws of nature, that volcanic forces pushed these underwater
mountains above the surface of the ocean. The myths say
the Hawaiian Islands were born of the spirit world. Maui,
demi-god of old, stuck his giant fishhook into the ocean
and pulled the islands from the sea.
Whichever you believe - it's a world unto itself.
GOVERNMENT The Island of Molokai is part of Maui
County. In Maui County, as throughout the State, there are
no separate municipal governments. Maui County has an elected
mayor with a four-year term (two-term limit) and a nine-member
council with two-year terms. Attempts at creating an autonomous
government for Molokai have to date been unsuccessful -
its political voice goes largely unheard.
OFFICIAL COLOR AND FLOWER The official color is
green and the official flower is the kukui blossom.
- had a resident population of 6,838 in 1995
- it is estimated that over 2,500 of the island's 6,000+
inhabitants have more than 50% Hawaiian blood
- except for Niihau (a small private island near Kauai),
it is the only island where Hawaiians are the majority.
TOURISM Molokai had 69,657 visitors in 1999. Neglect
from the outside world sheltered Molokai and kept it unspoiled
and made it "the Friendly Isle". While its sister
islands have been developed, Molokai has stood still - its
clock ticks more slowly than elsewhere.
If you need to be where nothing is happening - happiness
is discovering Molokai. Time spent here is a good way to
get acquainted with the old Hawaiian-style of life which
involves family, fishing, and feasting with friends.
Data Source: DBEDT