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Introduction of Cattle
Cattle for Cash
Mexican Vaquero
Paniolo Skills
Major Ranches
Ranch Lifestyle
Famous Paniolo
Bibliography - Paniolo

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Major Ranches

Some of the earliest ranches were begun by enterprising men who selected some of the better wild cattle and built their own domesticated herds. Don Marin established his ranch this way in Waianae on O`ahu. Richard Charlton, the British Consul to Hawai`i in the 1830s, got his early ranch going in Hanalei, Kaua`i.

The oldest and most famous of Hawaii's ranches is Parker Ranch on the Big Island. John Palmer Parker, a sailor from Massachusetts, settled in Hawai`i in 1815 and worked for Kamehameha I as a bullock hunter and keeper of royal fishponds. After marrying cheifess Keli`ikipikaneokaolohaka, he established a two-acre ranch on the slopes of Mauna Kea, buying the land from Kamehameha III and later expanding it with his wife's 640 acre inheritance. Parker's descendents continued to expand the ranch, eventually making it the largest ranch under individual ownership in the United States with 225,000 acres and 50,000 cattle.

Farther south, half-Hawaiian John Avery Maguire established Huehue Ranch in 1886 on the slopes of Hualalai. Maguire leased lands from the Bishop Estate and inherited lands from his first wife, Luka Hopulaau; he later added acreage acquired from Kapi`olani at Kaloko. Two generations after Maguire's time, his granddaughter's husband, Arthur Stillman, took over ranch management and built Huehue into one of the top 20 landholdings in Hawai`i, its 40,000 acres running from the sea to high forested lands.

Pu`uwa`awa`a, also on the Big Island, was established in 1893 by legislator Robert Hind and paniolo Eben Low. Like Huehue, Pu`uwa`awa`a ran from the sea to a point high up on Hualalai. Its acreage included six miles of coastline featuring Kiholo, a port that was a major stop for shipping into the 1930s. This ranch became the second largest in Hawai`i with 15,000 head of cattle on 40,000 acres.

Other large ranches grew up on the slopes of Haleakala on Maui. `Ulupalakua got its start with Captain James Makee who established his Rose Ranch there. Makee pursued both sugar and ranching ventures, bringing in a large stock of cattle and dairy cows. Harry Baldwin later bought the ranch from the Makee family, returning its name to the original Hawaiian `Ulupalakua and increasing its profitability.

Moloka`i also had a major ranch which continues to exist today. Moloka`i Ranch got a royal start when the original land parcel was awarded during the Mahele to Kapuaiwa, the high chief who later held the throne as Kamehameha V. Moloka`i was a favorite retreat of the king and he built a home at Kaunakakai. Kamehameha V also served as first president of the grazier's association, a group started on O`ahu in 1856 to promote ranching. Moloka`i Ranch began as a sheep station and was later turned into a cattle ranch. After the death of Kamehameha V, the land passed to other royal descendents and then was bought in 1989 by a group of Honolulu businessmen who continued the ranching enterprise.

Ranchers established smaller operations on the other islands as well. On Kaua`i, Makaweli, Kipukai, Kipu, Princeville and the Gay & Robinson ranches are still active today. O`ahu has `Ohikiolo and Kualoa. Ni`ihau Ranch - begun in 1864 when Mrs. Sinclair purchased the island from Kamehameha V - remains the primary employer on that small, remote piece of land.

Many ranches had their beginnings as part of sugar plantations or they were later add-ons to plantations. The grazing activity made use of marginal plantation land and cattle provided meat and dairy products for the plantation community.

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