Heritage Center

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The NHERC Heritage Center is located at NHERC and is open to the public!

Monday - Friday 8:00 A.M.-4:00 P.M.

Saturdays - 9:00 A.M.-1:00 P.M.

The Heritage Center offers the following resources & services:

  • Archive and Resource Center for Hāmākua and North Hawai'i History
  • Changing Exhibit Gallery on Area History
  • Research Family Ancestry
  • Talk Story with Donnie DeSilva 9-11 on Tuesday Mornings
  • Paid University Internships
  • Volunteer Opportunities
  • Coming Soon: Permanent Exhibit Gallery Showcasing Area History

Please come visit our exhibit in the NHERC Heritage Center's Changing Gallery: Na Paniolo o Hāmākua. The exhibit highlights and celebrates the cowboys and ranches of Hāmākua .

Na Paniolo o Hamakua

Na Paniolo o Hamakua

NHERC's Heritage Center, with support from the County of Hawai'i's Department of Research and Development, was proud to sponsor the 2015 Hāmākua Sugar Plantation Days Festival.

Hamakua Sugar Plantation Days 2015



Click on the poster below to view the opening slideshow

NHERC Heritage Center is the home of:

Click on the photo to view a gallery of each collection

* The digitized Paul Christensen photo collection

Christiansen collection photo of cane workers with Waipi'o in background

*The Hal Yamato photo collection

    Hal Yamoto Collection Last Harvest Parade photo

    *The Okada Collection

    Dr. Okada Collection photo of Dr. Okada & baby

    *Plantation Era Artifacts, Historical Documents and Maps

    Bottle collection


    Paauilo Store drawers as gallery cases


    * Reference Library of Local and Hawai'i History


    * Growing Collection of Local Family Photos and Genealogy

    Doris Alegre Teller finds a baby photo of herself in the Alegre Family collection

    Doris Alegre Teller finds a baby photo of herself in the Alegre Family collection


    *Changing Exhibit Gallery on Area History

    Previous Exhibits

    Click on the links below to view a slideshow of each exhibit

    ILWU pensioners visit the Plantation Exhibit

    ILWU Pensioners Club viewing the "Plantation Life on Hawai'i Island" Exhibit


    Woman finds a picture of herself in Waipi'o from the 1970's in "Peace Corps and Our Community" Exhibit

    Woman finds a picture of herself in Waipi'o from the 1970's in "Peace Corps and Our Community" Exhibit


    Why was Honokaʻa so popular during World War II?

    As many old timers can tell you, Honokaʻa went through a boom during World War II when the town became a place for the military to come to for rest and relaxation.  Since the Marine’s Camp Tarawa was in Waimea it may seem strange that the soldiers came all the way to Honokaʻa for some of their entertainment.

    Christina Numazu, one of NHERC’s dedicated student colleagues, has been typing out information from the Paniolo Preservation Society papers here at the Heritage Center that might give us a hint as to why Honokaʻa became so popular.  It seems that the policies of Parker Ranch manager Alfred W. Carter (manager from 1899 to 1937) and his son Hartwell (manager from 1937 to 1957) may have contributed to the popularity.

    A.W. Carter was referred to as “Makua” or father by the people of Waimea not only because he was so benevolent but also because of his strict moral control over the cowboys and their families.  He did not want the cowboys betting or drinking alcohol.  In 1911, Carter agreed to allow James Lindsey to take two Parker Ranch horses to compete in Honokaʻa for the 4th of July races but said “I want to caution you about betting on horses. You know how I feel about this.” 

    Likewise, Christina has found numerous letters where Carter was trying to control the cowboys drinking and effectively drove several “saloons” out of business in Waimea and Kawaihae, but not Honokaÿa.   A.W. Carter’s policies were carried on by his son during World War II, so the Marines had to come to Honokaʻa (which they dubbed “Honey Cow”) to let off some steam and have a drink.  Trucks would drop soldiers off at “Long Soup Corner” at today’s Grandma’s Kitchen.  Larry Ignacio and Gerald DeMello are responsible for putting the sign up to remind us today of the time when Honokaʻa had at least 6 saloons.