The Community They Built
After James Dole purchased the island in 1922, Lānaʻi's main economic industry was pineapple for the next 70 years, until 1992. Immigrants from the Philippines, Japan, Korea, China, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere all came to the island in search of a better life for themselves and for their families. Lānaʻi City and our modern community today are products of the vibrant community they built.
Plantation life was so much more than just the work. While many might think of the plantation days as nothing more than the grueling field labor, we hope to provide a more nuanced perspective of this time. To those who have lived through the plantation and to those of us lucky enough to learn from them, it is apparent that this idea of a “plantation mentality” on Lānaʻi is not one of servitude or limitation.
In spite of challenging working conditions, segregation, and poverty in the early plantation days, Lānaʻi people persevered and created a community full of joy and life. They were resilient and hardworking. They held a sense of responsibility to the land and to each other. They lifted each other up across ethnic lines and grew to live in a vibrant multicultural society.
These are the values we should remember and carry with us, the values stitched in the very fabric of our community. Beyond the Labor: Plantation Life on Lānaʻi showcases the vibrant lives of Lānaʻi people, and we invite you to help us honor their legacy.