BIOLOGY Molokai has a wide variety of plant,
marine and animal life. Many species are rare and endangered including the Pueo (Hawaiian owl)
and the Humpback Whale (the official state marine mammal). Vegetation zones include coastal, dryland
forest, mixed open forest, and rain forest.
CLIMATE Like most of the Hawaiian Islands, Molokai has only two
seasons: "summer" between May and October and "winter" between October and
April. The island is divided into an arid western region and a verdant eastern region. Depending
- average temperature ranges from 75 (°F) to 85 (°F)
- yearly average rainfall is 30 inches
CULTURAL HISTORY Molokai, from earliest
times, was revered and feared as a center for mysticism and sorcery. Today Molokai is a sanctuary
for those who seek refuge from the real world.
A Word about Kalaupapa: Starting in 1866, Hawaii's victims of Hansen's Disease (Leprosy) were
dumped on Molokai's Kalaupapa Peninsula to die. The isolated settlement was literally hell on
earth until the arrival of Father Damien in 1873. A catholic priest from Belgium, he treated
the exiles with dignity and gave them a sense of hope. Today, Hansen's Disease is treatable
and is one of the least contagious of all communicable diseases. With the arrest of the disease,
the remaining small community of resident patients on Kalaupapa choose to live in the only home
they've ever known.
As part of Maui County, Molokai is a multi-cultural society with major immigration from:
ECONOMY Healthy In
2006! Key indicators are positive for continuing growth in the second half of this decade. 1
However, Hawaii's cost of living is among the highest in the nation and its 2004 per capita personal
income below average. In fact, sources indicate a cost of living ranging from 30% above the national
average to over 60% depending upon family size and circumstances - see the Price
- Polynesia - 700 A.D.
- United States - 1820
- China - 1852
- Japan - 1868
- Portugal - 1878
- Puerto Rico - 1900
- Korea - 1903
- Philippines - 1906
- 2005 Visitor Arrivals to the State totaled 7.4 million (a record)
- 2005 Gross State Product was $54 billion 2
Major contributions to the State of Hawaii's economy include:
* Visitor Expenditure figures are deceptive, since a certain percentage
of tourism dollars do not remain in the Islands, but are returned to overseas investors.
- Visitor Expenditures: $11.8 billion (2005) - an all-time high*
- Federal Defense Spending: $4.8 billion (2003) 3
- Construction (Private Building Permits): $3.5 billion (2005) 4
With the demise of its sugar and pineapple industries in the 1990's, Hawaii is working to diversify
its economy with a focus on industries such as science and technology, health and wellness tourism,
diversified agriculture, ocean research and development, and film and television production. A
Study currently being conducted by the State is looking at the extent to which the benefits from
tourism can be maintained, while sustaining the quality of our social, economic and environmental
On Molokai there are attempts at diversified aquaculture/agriculture to offset the collapse of
pineapple cultivation. Tourism is minimal - approximately 74,683 visitors in 2005.
In ancient times Molokai was an affluent community boasting the most fishponds in the Islands
and a prosperous adze quarry industry. Today's Molokians are the last survivors of a lost race
holding on desperately to what little they have left - struggling to keep their island as it once
was and wants to be.
EDUCATION Molokai :
GEOGRAPHY Molokai has 260.9 square miles of
geographic diversity. Perpetually green valleys, tumbling waterfalls, scented pine forests, tangled
bamboo thickets, trackless beaches, drifting sand dunes, sheer cliffs that hang from clouds to
earth (the tallest in the world, dropping 3,000 feet to the sea). The island is approximately
38 miles long and 10 miles wide, with just over 88 miles of unspoiled coastline.
- K-12 students in public schools (2005): 1325 (excluding
Special & Charter Schools) 5
- Number of Public schools (2005): 6 6
- Number of Private schools (2005): 2 7
- Molokai Education Center - part of Maui Community College
GEOLOGY Molokai (the third oldest island in
the Hawaiian chain) rose from the sea roughly 2 million years ago.
- located in Polynesia
- near the center of the Pacific Ocean
- just below the Tropic of Cancer
- one of the most remote spots on Earth
- 2,340 miles west of California
- the fifth largest of the 8 main Hawaiian islands
Scientists say the Hawaiian Islands were born according to laws of nature, that volcanic forces
pushed these underwater mountains above the surface of the ocean. The myths say the Hawaiian Islands
were born of the spirit world. Maui, demi-god of old, stuck his giant fishhook into the ocean
and pulled the islands from the sea.
Whichever you believe - it's a world unto itself.
GOVERNMENT The Island of Molokai is part of Maui County. In Maui
County, as throughout the State, there are no separate municipal governments. Maui County has
an elected mayor with a four-year term (two-term limit) and a nine-member council with two-year
terms. Attempts at creating an autonomous government for Molokai have to date been unsuccessful
- its political voice goes largely unheard.
OFFICIAL COLOR AND FLOWER The official color is green and the official
flower is the kukui blossom.
- had a resident population of 7,404 in 2000 10
- it is estimated that over 2,500 of the island's 7,000+ inhabitants have
more than 50% Hawaiian blood
- except for Niihau (a small private island near Kauai), it is the only
island where Hawaiians are the majority.
Molokai had approximately 74,683 visitors in 2005.12
Neglect from the outside world sheltered Molokai and kept it unspoiled and made it "the
Friendly Isle". While its sister islands have been developed, Molokai has stood still -
its clock ticks more slowly than elsewhere.
If you need to be where nothing is happening - happiness is discovering Molokai. Time spent
here is a good way to get acquainted with the old Hawaiian-style of life which involves family,
fishing, and feasting with friends.