Maui Land & Pineapple Company’s origins are intimately connected to Maui’s Baldwin family. Reverend Dr. Dwight Baldwin and his wife Charlotte came to Lahaina in the mid-1830s as missionaries and lived in what remains today as the Baldwin Home Museum. Their sons, Henry Perrine Baldwin and David Dwight Baldwin, laid the foundation for the company in the late 1800s through the acquisition of land.
The Baldwin family’s experimentation with hala kahiki, or pineapple, began in 1890, when the first fruit was planted in Ha‘iku on Maui’s northeastern shore. In 1903 the Baldwin brothers formed Haiku Fruit & Packing Company, launching the pineapple industry on Maui.
In 1909 Keahua Ranch Company was established. The company’s name was later changed to Haleakala Pineapple Company and eventually to Maui Pineapple Company, Ltd. in 1932. In West Maui, the Baldwin Family holdings dedicated to raising cattle and food crops was called Honolua Ranch. Manager David T. Fleming added pineapple to the operations in 1912 and by 1920 the name was changed to Baldwin Packers, which canned and sold pineapple under its own labels, while growing it at Honolua Plantation.
By 1923, Baldwin Packers owned and managed over 22,000 acres of agricultural land in West Maui. The Baldwins’ east and west Maui holdings and pineapple operations were united in 1962, when Baldwin Packers merged with Maui Pineapple Company. In 1969, Maui Land & Pineapple Company, Inc. (ML&P) was created and went public.
Vision of a Resort
ML&P’s first president and CEO, Colin Cameron, set about making his vision of a master planned resort community a reality when Kapalua Land Company (KLC) was formed in 1974 and some of the company’s agricultural land was rezoned for resort development. He envisioned a resort that co-existed in harmony with its natural environment as a sanctuary for both man and nature.
KLC helped ML&P diversify its business with the successful operation of the Kapalua Resort community. By 1978, the resort was welcoming guests and Honolua and Mokule‘ia Bays were declared a Marine Life Conservation District. In the late 70s, KLC also began the development and sale of luxury condominiums in conjunction with its renowned golf courses and tennis club.
ML&P further formalized its commitment to the environment with the 1988 dedication of 8,304 acres of land, including Pu‘u Kukui, summit of Mauna Kahalawai (West Maui mountains), to conservation. The Pu‘u Kukui Watershed Preserve remains the largest privately owned nature preserve in the state.
A New Century
In 1992, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua opened, having been moved inland after initial excavation unearthed an ancient Hawaiian burial ground. The area fronting the hotel and ocean is now a perpetual easement known as the Honokahua Preservation Site. This wahi pana (sacred site) serves as a reminder of the host culture and long history in the area now called Kapalua.
Throughout the 90s, luxury homesites were developed within Kapalua Resort, including the Plantation Estates, Coconut Grove and Pineapple Hill Estates. With the arrival of the 21st century came the renaissance of Kapalua Resort during which new amenities were added to enhance the active, eco-sensitive lifestyles of its guests and residents.
As ML&P enters its second century of business on Maui, it remains dedicated to the people and places of Hawai‘i Nei.