Skip to Main Content

Hawaiʻi - Land Tenure Resources & Readings

Background Info

Locating Land Grants is the process of looking for lands that were purchased by individuals from the Hawaiian Kingdom when they were made available for purchase in mid-1800s. When doing this research, you are looking for the following documents:

  • Palapala Sila Nui (aka Government Grant)


Today, finding Land Grants is very easy to do because there are a number of databases that index and provide access to the records. This research though can be confusing because each database will provide different levels of access to these records. Below is a summary of the key databases and what they provide.

  • Kipuka - geographical information system (GIS) database that geo-references Land Award records. Provides digitized original records of Mahele Awards, Land Grants, Royal Patent Grants, and Survey Boundaries & Notes.
  • Waihona ʻAina - comprehensive database of archival land documents that are transcribed, cross-referenced, and proofed. Including databases on the Mahele, Boundary Commission, Royal Patents, and Land Grants.

Printed Indexes

Prior to the Land Grants being made available and searchable through the various databases above, printed indexes were the main tool to find these records. There are three indexes. Both are used today to verify and cross-check the Land Grants found online, such as checking to make sure all the records available were retrieved by the databases.