The movie ‘The Hawaiians’ filmed on Kauai

The movie, “The Hawaiians,” released in 1970, was based on the novel “Hawaii,” written by author James Michener, and covered the time period from arrival of Chinese and Japanese immigrants in Hawaii during the mid-to-late 19th century, as well as the birth of the pineapple industry, and the political development in the islands from the days of the monarchy through to shortly after Hawaii became a territory of the United States in 1898.

Filmed on Maui and then Kauai in 1969, it starred Charlton Heston, Tina Chen, Mako Iwamatsu and Geraldine Chaplin.

On Kauai, some movie scenes were filmed in a pasture at Kipu Ranch, where a replica of a portion of Honolulu’s old Chinatown was built as it looked in 1900.

Kipu Ranch was also once the site of Kipu Plantation, and is owned by Robin Rice (born 1945), the grandson of William Hyde Rice, who purchased Kipu from Princess Ruth Ke‘elikolani in 1881.

Another movie location was Molokoa, the home from 1886 of Lutheran pastor the Rev. Hans Isenberg and his wife, Mary Dorothea Rice Isenberg, which was situated in Lihue beyond Lihue Lutheran Church on German Hill, roughly 400 yards north of the end of today’s hardtop road.

Molokoa was comprised of a rambling, plantation-style house, a swimming pool, gardens, a small dairy, a stable for horses and a poultry yard, all of which vanished when Lihue Plantation demolished it in the 1970s.

Movie construction crews were required to restore Molokoa, long abandoned and in disrepair.

Other scenes called for a small Chinese family home and vegetable farm, which were built at the Lemke Ranch in Kapahi.

Marie Carol Aguiar Lemke, the wife of Paul Lemke, was the owner of Lemke Ranch.

Her father, sugar grower Manuel Aguiar Jr., got his start in the sugar business in 1911, when he purchased Territorial Lot 76, a 35½-acre parcel.

Aguiar would eventually cultivate as many as 150 acres in sugarcane and employ several men who lived in Aguiar Camp alongside Kawaihau Road in Kapahi.

A replica Japanese camp was constructed at Moloaa, also.

Hank Soboleski has been a resident of Kauai since the 1960s. Hank’s love of the island and its history has inspired him, in conjunction with The Garden Island Newspaper, to share the island’s history weekly. The collection of these articles can be found here: and here Hank can be reached at


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