Kalaupap Peninsula and Kalawao County news, articles, and stories.

A Kalaupapa Commemoration

Thursday, July 11th, 2019

A Kalaupapa Commemoration

On June 26, the Kalaupapa community celebrated the Lei Hali’a Ho’olaulea, commemorating 50 years since all remaining patients were released from the settlement to live wherever they chose.

For 103 years previously, the Act to Prevent The Spread of Leprosy exiled those afflicted with Hansen’s disease to Kalaupapa. In 1969, after a cure was found and the disease was declared no longer a threat, the forced isolation was lifted. June 30th marked 50 years since the repeal. Some patients left, some remained living in Kalaupapa, and many have since passed away. Lei Hali’a, meaning a Lei of Remembrance.

“The Kalaupapa community, friends and relatives joined together in five days of events that helped deepen our understanding and appreciation for the sacrifice made by over 8,000 people, to ensure the survival of Hawaiians today,” stated the Kalaupapa National Historical Park Facebook page.…

Kalaupapa Pavilion Gets a Facelift

Thursday, January 17th, 2019

Kalaupapa Pavilion Gets a Facelift


For 53 years, a small building has stood at the edge of the ocean in Kalaupapa, holding many special occasions and happy memories for residents. The Ocean View Pavilion, built in 1965 by members of the Kalaupapa Lions Club, recently underwent long-awaited renovations and was reopened in a dedication ceremony on Dec. 19.

“After years of sea spray, rain and trade winds, the building needed repairs, specifically a new roof, some structural beams and a painting,” stated a Kalaupapa Lions news release last year. “ [It] stands as a testimony to the strength and fortitude of the residents of this tiny settlement.”

The Kalaupapa Lions Club raised funds to purchase materials and shipped them to the remote settlement on the annual barge last summer.…

Kalaupapa Trail Closed After Landslide

Thursday, January 10th, 2019

Kalaupapa Trail Closed After Landslide

The Kalaupapa trail is closed “indefinitely” to all settlement employees, visitors and mule riders after a landslide destroyed the bridge on the trail’s second switchback Christmas Day. Rhonda Loh, Acting Superintendent of the Kalaupapa National Historical Park, said the landslide was reported by a postal worker attempting to hike down the trail on the evening of Dec. 25.

The same bridge was washed out in an April 2010 landslide and in November of that year, was replaced with a new, aluminum bridge bolted into the cliffside. This time, repairs may take even longer, with the current federal government shutdown impacting National Park Service staff in Kalaupapa.…

In Memoriam

Thursday, October 25th, 2018

Community Contributed

By Father Pat Killilea, St. Francis Church, Kalaupapa

The morning meeting started right on time — Kalaupapa time that is — which usually means after the participants have done hugging, kissing, talking story and visiting the cooler for some libation. This day’s libation was cold, clear, refreshing Kalaupapa water, the best water I have tasted since my childhood days in the west of Ireland. It is almost as good as Uisce Beatha (water of life), the Irish version of Jim Beam or Jack Daniel’s — not that I am a connoisseur of either. Then the fun began. Ka ‘Ohana O Kalaupapa president and Kalaupapa resident Boogie Kahilihiwa welcomed the gathered assembly as only Boogie can.…

Kalaupapa Airport Improvements

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

Kalaupapa Airport Improvements

If all goes as planned, the tiny Kalaupapa Airport will receive improvements to its terminal, runway and safety measures in a $5 million project that would start later this year and last five years. The state Department of Transportation is proposing and funding the project to enhance operations and help mitigate safety hazards of flying into the remote peninsula.

Originally constructed in the early 1930s, the airport remains the lifeline for the peninsula. It is located on 42 acres on the northwestern tip of the Kalaupapa Peninsula and provides transportation for patient residents, employees and visitors; emergency support, supplies, and daily deliveries of mail, freight and perishable food; and transportation of solid waste off the peninsula.…

And Then The Rains Came

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

Community Contributed
By Fr. Pat Killilea, St. Francis Church, Kalaupapa

“When the rains came, I looked to heaven. When they washed away my dreams, I cried all night. In my heart I knew you’d be there because I felt the love and then I saw the light.”
As a lover of good vocalists who give us good music and meaningful lyrics (I do sing in the shower on occasion), I have been haunted in recent days by these lyrics, sung by singer and song writer, Beth Rowley. Beth, born in Lima Peru to missionaries, grew up in their native city of Bristol, Wales and has been giving voice to both soul and gospel music.…

‘I Don’t Want to Die Here’

Thursday, August 16th, 2018

‘I Don’t Want to Die Here’

Teri Waros grateful for support after close call

There’s a cast on her arm and she has six broken ribs… but there’s a smile on her face as friends, well wishers and visitors to the island pour into her store. Teri Waros, owner of Kalele Bookstore in Kaunakakai, is back at work and lucky to be alive after falling 150 feet down the cliff near the Kalaupapa Lookout on Aug. 2.

For hours, she clung to a root, just above the sheer, vertical drop off of the sea cliffs and ocean 2,000 feet below.

“It got scary. I looked down and I could see the water below me and I thought, ‘Oh, this doesn’t look good,” she recalls.…

Battle of the Airlines

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018


It’s a battle of the airlines to the tiny settlement of Kalaupapa, with two companies vying for the ridership of residents. In a drama that will play out in the coming weeks, both Makani Kai Air and Mokulele Airlines are now flying into the peninsula.

In March, Mokulele Airlines was selected to service the settlement under the federal Essential Air Service (EAS) program beginning June 1, but without the federal subsidy that normally offsets the cost of flying into remote locations that otherwise might not get air service. Makani Kai has been serving Kalaupapa under the EAS since 2011, also applied to renew its EAS contract, requesting about $700,000 annually.…

Mule Ride Evicted

Thursday, April 19th, 2018

Mule Ride Evicted

The Molokai Mule Ride has been evicted from the Kalae barn that served as the business’ base for more than four decades. Last Saturday morning, state sheriffs, Molokai police and representatives of R.W. Meyer arrived to carry out the eviction, leaving the barn’s entrance chained up.

“We are only leaving this place under duress,” said Molokai Mule Ride co-owner Kalehua Sproat-Augustiro in a live video of the eviction she streamed on Facebook. Rising tensions were caught on camera, including a sheriff’s threat to place Sproat-Augustiro under arrest. Her father, the legendary muleskinner Buzzy Sproat, operated the family business for more than 40 years and his wife and children carried it on after his death.…

Eviction Notice Threatens Mule Ride

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018

Eviction Notice Threatens Mule Ride

Almost two years of legal disputes between the Sproat family — owners of Kalaupapa Rare Adventures mule ride — and landowner R.W. Meyer, Ltd. have come to a head with an eviction notice for the mule operators. Both parties are now claiming ownership to the Kalae property where the mule barn has stood for more than 40 years.

Paul Meyer, President of R.W. Meyer, Ltd., said Kalauapa Rare Adventures’ lease ended in January 2017 and since then, the company has not paid rent and refused to negotiate a new lease. The Sproats say they have a title to the land so they don’t need to pay rent.…