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    *Plantation Era Artifacts, Historical Documents and Maps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


    With all the talk about the importance of recycling today, sometimes we forget about how people used to recycle such things as glass bottles in the not so distant past.  Do you remember when milk was delivered in glass bottles and how we would leave the empties out on our front porches for the milkman to pick up to be sterilized and refilled?  Likewise, soda bottles were also recycled, cleaned and refilled.  The NHERC Heritage Center has an impressive collection of over five hundred antique bottles and most of these are from the Antone Gomes, Jr. collection. 

    Hiroo Sato, who grew up in Pahoa, wrote about the how prior to World War II a seven ounce bottle of soda cost five cents.  He noted that soda at that time was a once-in-a-year drink general at Christmas or for ones birthday.  So children would punch a hole in the metal cap with a nail and sip the soda to savor the taste.  When it was about half empty, they would shake the bottle causing bubbles to rise so they could prolong the treat.

    Bottle Collection

    Glass bottles were not produced in Hawaii and most were made on the mainland U.S. and on the bottles those glassworks would emboss or stencil the names of the Hawaii businesses.  If you have an antique glass bottle, the base of it has a maker’s mark that can tell you where the bottle was manufactured.   The glass industry was controversial and in the mid-1800s to the early 1900s they were noted for employing under-aged boys, some as young at eight years old, in the foundries.   It wasn’t until 1938 when the Fair Labor Standards Act passed that there was a federal regulation against child labor.  We recently heard from a person here for the Honoka‘a High School class of 1955 reunion that when he was young the plantation hired kids in the summer as young as nine to pick up macadamia nuts prior to the federal child labor laws.