Hawaiian Homelands

I made a map of Hawaiian Homelands. This Reddit post about a map of American Indian Reservations and Alaska Natives inspired me; it left off anything about Hawai’i. The history of native Hawaiians and land ownership is totally different from the history of American Indians on the mainland. But the Homelands are somewhat analogous to Indian reservations in that they were land set aside by the US government for native people. I don’t believe they have any form of partial sovereignty though, and I think these land are even more sparsely populated than mainland reservations are.

Anyway, really I just wanted a nice picture; this one was the best I could find online. So I spent an hour or two with QGIS and came up with the image below (see full size). Totally unfinished draft, but this here is my secret work blog so up it goes.


The data comes from the State of Hawaii Office of Planning which has absolutely awesome GIS data for download. Very well done site.

The green shapes are the Homelands themselves, the point of the map. I drew in major roads in orange to try to give some context to location. I wasted a lot of time trying to draw a few labels for towns but Oʻahu is so densely populated no simple rule works. I’d need to place town labels by hand for it to work right and I got lazy.

I also rendered the historical Ahupuaʻa in very light grey. That’s a fascinating division of the land from historical property rights. They seem to have been designed to give each owning aliʻi a mix of lowlands and highlands, with both farmland and some forest. I’d wondered if the Homelands followed the old ahupuaʻa boundaries but I think mostly not, except for the one large one in South Maui.

I wouldn’t mind spending more time to make this publication-quality. But I’m so ignorant of what the Hawaiian Homelands really are that I don’t feel comfortable doing any interpretive mapping. OTOH the Wikipedia page would benefit from any sort of picture, even this simple one, maybe I should look into what’s required to submit there.