December 28, 2009||Big Island: History and Culture, Historic Hawaii Homes


Ranching in Hawaii, Part 1: A Visit to Anna Ranch

Beyond White Sand Beaches and Volcanoes

Those unfamiliar with Hawaii are often surprised at the vastness of the ranch lands here on the Big Island.  But, ranching has played an important role in the history of the Island of Hawaii.  Thanks to a recent visit to Anna Ranch Heritage Center in Waimea, we’re taking a closer look at that history in this post.  In an upcoming interview, we will talk with Clark Realty’s Lora Ayers about her ranch on the Hamakua Coast.

Early History of Ranching on the Big Island

From the Anna Ranch website:

The history of ranching in Hawai’i started in 1793 when Captain George Vancouver introduced the first cattle to the islands. King Kamehameha I, in an effort to increase the number of cattle in his kingdom, proclaimed a ten year kapu (restriction) on the killing of cattle. The end of the kapu coincided with the introduction of horses in 1803. Western settlers were contracted by Kamehameha III to hunt these wild cattle–first for tallow and hides and later for beef to supply visiting ships. Immense herds were found, and by 1851 the island of Hawai’i was estimated to have 12,000 wild cattle and only 8,000 domesticated ones.

Anna Ranch Heritage Center

Located on Kawaihae Road in Waimea, Anna Ranch is the realization of a dream of Anna Leialoha Lindsey Perry-Fiske.  The Heritage Center exists in part to celebrate the legacy of her remarkable family.  The Ranch was placed on the Hawaii State Register of Historic Places in 2005 and on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.  The home, originally built in 1910, is full of beautiful furniture, paintings and items that tell the story of the blending of Hawaiian culture with ranching culture.

Anna, often called the “First Lady of Ranching” in Hawaii, was a cowgirl, jockey, and a pā’ū rider.  She was also a community leader, a world traveler and a humanitarian.   A visit to the ranch offers visitors the opportunity to take a look back into Anna’s world.

Photos of Anna Ranch

View our slideshow above, or visit our Facebook page where you can leave comments on our ‘Visit to Anna Ranch’ photo album.

Coming soon: An interview with Lora Ayers, who lives on a working ranch here on the Big Island.

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