For the benefit of both our residents and visitors, and in cooperation with others we strive to faithfully restore, maintain and interpret the physical, historical, and cultural legacy of Lahaina, Maui, first capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii.

Hale Pa'i

One of the earliest Lahaina Restoration Foundation projects was the restoration of Hale Pa’i (the house of printing). It is located on the Lahainaluna Campus. The missionaries who arrived in Lahaina in 1823 explained to the Hawaiian Royalty the importance of an educational institution. Lahainaluna Seminary was founded in 1831. It was the first school West of the Rockies and survives today as Lahaina’s public high school.

In 1834, an old Ramage Press was shipped from Honolulu and installed on campus in a small thatched roof building. Students were taught how to set type, operate the press, create copper engravings and bind books. Text books and teaching aids were created and continually improved. The original press printed the first newspaper West of the Rocky Mountains on February 14, 1834. It was a four page weekly school paper called Ka Lama Hawaii. The students also composed a classic tale of ancient Hawaiian life and traditions titled Mo o olelo Hawaii. An original 1838 copy is on display in the museum.

In 1837 work began on a new building. Fieldstone was gathered from the surrounding hillsides. Timbers were cut from the forests on the opposite sides of the island and laboriously hauled to the site. Lime for mortar was made down at the seashore by burning coral that had been chopped from offshore reefs. The result was a strong handsome building. Hale Pa i served the school for many years. In the mid-1960’s it was opened to the public.

By the late 1960’s, the building had fallen into such serious disrepair from dry rot and termites that it was no longer used and the State declared it unsafe for occupancy. A citizen’s movement lobbied to restore Hale Pa’i. A long process of fund raising and political lobbying finally resulted in Lahaina Restoration Foundation being awarded the first outright grant in State history for the restoration of a State owned building. The project took two years and was completed in 1983.