In the years leading up to the Māhele ‘Āina (Land Division), the King and members of his council undertook an “experiment” of dividing and granting fee-simple interest in properties at selected locations in the islands. By this time, wild cattle and other ungulates had already led to the abandonment of lands by natives at various locations—while not specifically mentioned, Lāna‘i was already suffering from the impacts of the feral animals as well. The Māhele ‘Āina itself met with mixed success. More than half the applications made by native tenants of Lāna‘i for kuleana (personal property rights) were rejected by the Land Commission (see the Māhele ‘Āina on Lāna‘i). This problem was recognized while the Māhele was being undertaken, and Kamehameha III implemented the program that allowed native and foreign residents to apply for grants of land—in fee-simple interest—which were held in the Government Land Inventory.
Between 1855 to 1867, thirteen (13) grant applications, covering 735.93 acres, were surveyed and patented to fourteen individuals (13 natives and one foreigner) on the island of Lāna‘i. Most of the native claimants had also applied for land as a part of the Māhele ‘Āina—some grantees received awards, others did not. The land came from the Crown and Government inventory of lands in four ahupua‘a. Documentation pertaining to the successful bidders for grant lands on Lāna‘i may be viewed by following the link below.