Kalaupapa National Historical Park
Kalaupapa, HI 96742
WELCOME to Kalaupapa National
The primary story being told at Kalaupapa National
Historical Park is the forced isolation from 1866 until 1969 of people
from Hawai'i afflicted with Hansen's disease (leprosy) to the remote
northern Kalaupapa peninsula on the island of Molokai.
Kalawao & Father Damien
The first group of Hansen's disease patients were
sent to Kalawao on the eastern, or windward side of the Kalaupapa
peninsula on January 6, 1866. The churches of Siloama, established in
1866 and St. Philomena, begun in 1872 and associated with the work of
Father Damien (Joseph DeVeuster) are located at Kalawao. Father Damien's
life and death among his people foccussed the attention of the world on
the problem of this disease and the plight of its victims.
Situated on the leeward side of the peninsula,
Kalaupapa Settlement is still home for several surviving Hansen's
disease patients whose memories and experiences are cherished values.
Once a community in isolation, Kalaupapa now serves as a place for
education and contemplation. The site became a national park in 1980
dedicated to preserving the memories and lessons of the past.
Park Management and Planning
This park is complicated to manage since the
lands, waters, and historic buildings are not owned in fee simple by the
National Park Service. This section has copies of the many agreements
and leases with various religious organizations, the State of Hawaii
departments, and the Hawaiian Homes Commission. These are the bases that
thus far allow Kalaupapa to function as a National Historical Park.
Spectacular north shore sea cliffs, narrow lush
valleys, a conic volcanic crater, verdant rain forest, lava tubes and
caves, off-shore islands and coral reefs all exist within the national
park boundary. Several of these areas provide rare native habitat for
threatened or endangered Hawaiian plants and animals.
For example, Hawaiian Monk seal pups have been
born on Kalaupapa's beaches. These endangered mammals require solitude;
Kalaupapa's physical isolation provides perfect habitat to support these
births and subsequent care.
FACILITIES AND OPPORTUNITIES:
Guests of residents may tour Kalaupapa and Kalawao
settlements and stay overnight. Facilities include picnic pavilions,
post office, religious services at local churches, and visitor quarters
for overnight stays.
All other visitors may tour Kalaupapa and Kalawao
settlements on a commercial tour. Lunch is enjoyed at a picnic pavilion
at Kalawao with scenic views of the north shore cliffs and off-shore
Did You Know?
The Hawaiian place name, Kalaupapa, translates into "flat
leaf" which is what the peninsula appears as off the north pali
coast of the island of Moloka'i.