Hawai'i State News

Department of Hawaiian Home Lands awards first-of-its-kind subsistence-agricultural lots

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Left to right: East Hawaiʻi Commissioner Michael Kaleikini, Charlotte Seals and ʻohana, Chair Kali Watson. Photo Courtesy: Department of Hawaiian Home Lands

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands awarded a new type of lot called subsistence-agricultural lots, 15 in total, on July 29 in Pana’ewa on the east side of Hawai’i Island.

These first-of-its-kind half-acre parcels provide native Hawaiian beneficiaries with the opportunity to both live and cultivate on their lots.

“The people that are participating in this new award program are very excited and we’re excited about that in the sense that it’s an innovative program,” said Hawaiian Homes Commission Chair Kali Watson. “Whereby it’s a subsistence farm lot with infrastructure and they have the option of putting a home on the lot but more importantly growing food for their families and neighborhoods, as well as having animals.”


By design, subsistence-agricultural lots are less than three-acres in size and in close proximity to existing infrastructure in planned communities. This homestead model will allow for small-scale farming for home consumption or supplemental income through commercial sales.

To better support the new agricultural lessees the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands will provide agricultural training workshops through the University of Hawaiʻi’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources program. Other resource partners were available Saturday to not only help beneficiaries with the planning of lots for farming, but also with construction and financing assistance.

“It was joyful to hear my name called,” said beneficiary Charlotte Seals. “After 47 years on the list, it is wonderful, and to know that I’m Hawaiian and this was offered to Hawaiians to better their lives, I am very grateful.”


The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands broke ground on this 10-acre parcel in August 2021. The contract for Panaʻewa Lot 185 was awarded to Drainpipe Plumbing and Solar for $2,497,886.88 using Trust Funds.

“By dividing and awarding lots that are smaller, we’re able to get the density, and more importantly, make more awards,” Chairman Watson said. “We have a limited supply of land so by doing it this way we reduce infrastructure costs, and more importantly we reduce the waitlist.”

Beneficiaries were provided immediate access to their lot upon signing their lease. Any and all structures must be built to county code.


Six additional subsistence-agricultural lots are planned for development in the area. Subsistence agricultural lots are also slated for development in Honokōwai, Maui, Anahola, Kauaʻi and Honomū on Hawaiʻi Island.

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