Land of ‘Iole
The nonprofit organization Kohala Institute manages about 2,400 acres in North Kohala including one of the island’s few remaining intact ahupua‘a, called ‘Iole. Ahupua‘a – traditional pie-shaped land divisions stretching from the mountain to the ocean – reflect balanced natural resource management practices employed by Hawaii’s indigenous peoples which enabled them to sustain their thriving communities. Having an entire ahupua‘a with a single owner in today’s world, and being able to utilize its system of natural resources, is rare.
‘Iole Ahupua‘a has a strong history of agricultural use and once was home to acres of lo‘i kalo (taro patches) – including what are said to have been the two favorite lo‘i kalo of Kamehameha I. ‘Iole Ahupua‘a is situated on Kohala Mountain, oldest of the five mountains making up Hawai‘i Island. ‘Iole is lush, beautiful and remote, while still being easily accessible by car. Kohala Institute is 55 miles from Kailua-Kona and 78 miles from Hilo. ‘Iole contains the Bond Historic District, which includes the Bond Homestead, Kohala Girls School and Kalahikiola Church. Our six-building GRACE Center campus was formerly the 19th-century Kohala Girls School, a boarding school run by the missionary Bond family. Reverend Elias Bond established the Kohala Girls School in 1874 by as part of the Kohala Mission station. Before the Girls School, the ground held the first courthouse and judge’s house in the area. The building is included in the 50-acre Bond Historic District, listed on the Hawai‘i and National Registers.