The Conversation: Revisiting Waialua Through Oral Histories

Jan 26, 2021

Today we spotlight the history of the Oahu North Shore town of Waialua. The first sugarcane plantation started there in 1865, but it wasn’t a success until decades later. Castle and Cooke bought the plantation in 1898 and built a new mill, a railway system, water storage and irrigation. By 1991, the Waialua Sugar Mill produced 8% of the sugar in Hawaii.


Guests include Kim-Hee Kanoe Wong, oral historian and instructor for the North Shore Ethnographic Field School, UH Professor Ty Kāwika Tengan with the Departments of Ethnic Studies and Anthropology, and Waialua community member and Kumu Hula Keith Awai.

We'd also like to share a bonus interview with Emigdio Cabico, a Filipino immigrant who worked at Waialua Sugar. Emigdio was born in 1909 in the Philippines and emigrated to Hawaiʻi at age 17, specifically to work at the Waialua Sugar Company.  He became a plantation store manager after 10 years, and later started his own store. 

Today's conversation was a joint effort with The Center for Oral History at UH Mānoa. They will host an online event tomorrow, January 27th, entitled Weaving Voices: Memories and Futures of Waialua. Click here for more details.