Read CHAPTER VI. of The Hawaiian Islands , free online book, by The Department of Foreign Affairs, on ReadCentral.com.

DIGEST OF THE LAND ACT OF 1895.

(With reference to unoccupied lands.)

The Land Act of 1895, having for its special object the settlement and cultivation of the Government agricultural and pastoral land, vested the control and management of Public Lands in a Board of Three Commissioners, composed of the Minister of the Interior and two persons appointed and removable by the President, one of whom is designated the Agent of Public Lands; but excepting from the control of the Commissioners, town lots, landings, tracts reserved for Public purposes, etc., which remain under the control of the Minister of the Interior.

For the purposes of the Act, the Republic of Hawaii is divided into Six Land Districts, as follows:

1st. Hilo and Puna on the Island of Hawaid. Hamakua and Kohala on the Island of Hawaird. Kona and Kau on the Island of Hawaith. The Islands of Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawth. The Island of Oahth. The Island of Kauai.

The Commissioners are represented by a Sub-Agent in each District.

Public Lands for the purposes of this Act are classified as follows:

I. Agricultural Lands. First Class: Land suitable for the cultivation of Fruit, Coffee, Sugar or other perennial crops with or without irrigation.

Second Class: Land suitable for the cultivation of annual crops only.

Third Class: Wet lands such as kalo and rice lands.

II. Pastoral Land. First Class: Land not in the description of
Agricultural land but capable of carrying livestock the year through.

Second Class: Land capable of carrying livestock only part of the year, or otherwise inferior to First Class Pastoral land.

III. Pastoral Agricultural Land: Land adapted in part for pasturage and in part for cultivation.

IV. Forest Land: Land producing forest trees but unsuitable for cultivation.

V. Waste Land. Land not included in the other classes.

The Act provides three principal methods for the acquirement of Public
Lands, under systems known as

I. Homestead Lease.

II. Right of Purchase Lease.

III. Cash Freehold.

GENERAL QUALIFICATION OF APPLICANTS.

Applicants for land under systems named above, must be over eighteen years of age, must be citizens by birth or naturalization or have received letters of denization or special rights of citizenship, be under no civil disability for any offense, nor delinquent in the payment of taxes. Special qualifications are named under the respective systems.

HOMESTEAD LEASE SYSTEM.

The Homestead Lease system permits the acquirement of Public Land by qualified persons without other payments than a fee of two dollars upon application and a fee of five dollars upon issuance of Homestead Lease.

The limit of area in the different classes of land which may be acquired under Homestead Lease is:

8 acres first-class agricultural land; 16 acres second-class agricultural land; 1 acre wet (rice or taro) land; 30 acres first-class pastoral land; 60 acres second-class pastoral land; 45 acres pastoral-agricultural land.

SPECIAL QUALIFICATIONS OF APPLICANTS FOR HOMESTEAD LEASE.

Any person having the general qualifications (as to citizenship, etc.) who is not the owner in his own right of any land in the Hawaiian Islands, other than “wet land” (rice, taro, etc.) and who is not an applicant for other land under the Act may apply under this part of the Act, and such application may cover one lot of wet land in addition to other land, if reasonably near. Husband and wife may not both be applicants.

Applications must be made in person at the office of Sub-Agent of the District, accompanied by sworn declaration of qualifications, and a fee of $2.

CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPATION.

The successful applicant receives a certificate of occupation which entitles him to occupy the described premises and to receive a homestead lease for Nine Hundred and Ninety-Nine Years, if conditions of certificate of occupation have been fulfilled, the conditions being:

That the occupier shall, before the end of two years, build a dwelling house and reside on the premises. He shall maintain his home on the premises from and after the end of two years from date of certificate. He shall before the end of six years from date of certificate have in cultivation not less than 10 per cent. of the land, or have in cultivation 5 per cent. of the land and, in good growing condition, not less than ten timber, shade or fruit trees per acre on agricultural land, or if pastoral land, fence the same within six years.

He shall pay the taxes assessed upon the premises within sixty days after the same are delinquent.

He shall perform any conditions of the certificates for the planting or protection of trees, or prevention or destruction of vegetable pests that may be on the premises.

CONDITIONS OF HOMESTEAD LEASE.

The Lessee or his successors must maintain his home on the leased premises, must pay the taxes assessed upon the premises, within sixty days after the same are delinquent, and perform any conditions of the lease relating to protection or planting of trees, or destruction and prevention of vegetable pests.

Lands held under a certificate of occupation or homestead lease are liable to taxation as estates in fee.

In case of the death of an occupier or lessee his interests, notwithstanding any devise or bequest shall vest in his relations, in the order prescribed in the Act, the widow or widower being first in order, then the children, etc.

Certificates of occupation or homestead lease, or any interest thereunder, is not assignable by way of mortgage nor is the same subject to attachment, levy or sale on any process issuing from the Courts of the country. Neither the whole nor any portion of the premises may be sub-let.

Surrender may be made to the Government by an occupier or lessee having the whole interest if all conditions to date of surrender have been fulfilled, and the person so surrendering is entitled to receive from the Government the value of permanent improvement, whenever the same is received by the Government from a new tenant.

RIGHT OF PURCHASE LEASES.

Right of Purchase Leases, for the term of twenty-one years, may be issued to qualified applicants, with the privilege to the Lessee of purchasing at the end of three years and upon fulfillment of special conditions.

QUALIFICATIONS OF APPLICANTS.

Any person who is over eighteen years of age, who is a citizen by birth or naturalization of the Republic of Hawaii or who has received letters of denization of special rights of citizenship, who is under no civil disability for any offense, who is not delinquent in the payment of taxes, and who does not own any agricultural or pastoral land in the Hawaiian Islands, may apply for Right of Purchase Lease, the limit of areas which may be acquired being:

100 acres first-class agricultural land; 200 acres second-class agricultural land; 2 acres wet (rice or taro) land; 600 acres first-class pastoral land; 1200 acres second-class pastoral land; 400 acres mixed agricultural and pastoral land.

Any qualified person, owning less than the respective amounts stated in foregoing list, and which is not subject to residence condition, may acquire additional land of the classes already held by him but so that his aggregate holding shall not be in excess of the limit named; or if desiring additional land of another class may acquire the same according to ratio established between the various classes.

Husband and wife may not both be applicants for Right of Purchase Leases.

Application must be made in person at the office of Sub-Agent of the District, and must be accompanied by a fee equal to six months rent of premises, fee to be credited on account of rent, if application is successful, and to be returned is application is unsuccessful. In case of more than one application for same lot the first application takes precedence.

CONDITIONS OF RIGHT OF PURCHASE LEASE.

Term: twenty-one years.

Rental: Eight per cent. on the appraised value given in lease, payable semi-annually.

The Lessee must from the end of the first to the end of the fifth year continuously maintain his home on the leased premises.

The Lessee must have in cultivation at the end of three years five per cent. and at the end of five years ten per cent. of his holding, and maintain on agricultural land an average of ten trees to the acre.

Pastoral land must be fenced.

Interest in Right of Purchase Lease is not assignable without written consent of the Commissioners of Public Lands, but the lease may be surrendered to the Government.

In case of forfeiture or surrender of right of purchase lease, reappraisement is made of the land and of permanent improvements thereon, and if the land is again disposed of, the incoming tenant shall pay for such permanent improvements and the amount when so received by the Government shall be paid to the surrendering Lessee.

CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH PURCHASE MAY BE MADE.

At any time after third year of leasehold term, the Lessee is entitled to a Land Patent giving fee simple title, upon his payment of the appraised value set forth in lease, if he has reduced to cultivation twenty-five per cent. of his leased premises, and has substantially performed all other conditions of his lease.

CASH FREEHOLDS.

Cash Freehold Lots are sold at auction to the highest qualified bidder, at appraised value as upset price.

The qualification of applicants for Cash Freeholds and the areas of land which may be acquired are the same as those under Right of Purchase lease system.

APPLICATIONS.

Applications must be made to Sub-Agent of District in writing with sworn declaration as to qualifications, and a fee of ten per cent. of appraised value of lot, which fee is forfeited if applicant declines to take the premises at the appraised value, and is credited to him if he becomes the purchaser of the lot. If such applicant, however, is outbid, his fee is returned to him.

If two or more applications are made and there is no bid above the upset price, the first application takes precedence.

The purchaser at auction sale must pay immediately thereafter one-fourth of purchase price and thereupon receive a “Freehold Agreement.”

CONDITIONS OF FREEHOLD AGREEMENT.

The freeholder shall pay the balance of purchase price in equal installments in one, two and three years, with interest at 6 per cent., but may pay any installment before it is due and stop corresponding interest.

Twenty-five per cent. of agricultural land must be cultivated, and pastoral land fenced before the end of third year.

Freeholder must maintain his home on the premises, from end of first to end of third year.

He may not assign or sub-let without consent of Agent of Public Lands.

He must allow Agents of the Government to enter and examine the premises.

He must pay all taxes that may be due upon the premises.

If all conditions are fulfilled he is entitled at end of three years to
Patent giving fee simple title.

In case of forfeiture or surrender the land and permanent improvements are reappraised separately, and the value of such improvements when received by Government from new tenant or freeholder, will be paid to surrendering freeholder.

SETTLEMENT ASSOCIATIONS.

Six or more qualified persons may form a “Settlement Association” and apply for holdings in one block.

The provisions for cash freehold apply to the settlement of such blocks, but first auction sale is confined to members of such Settlement Association.

Any lot in such block which may be forfeited or surrendered, or which is not taken up by any member of the Settlement Association, within three months, shall be open to any qualified applicants.

Disputes, disagreements or misunderstandings, between the parties to certificate of occupation, homestead lease, right of purchase lease, or cash freehold and relating thereto, which can not be amicably settled, shall be submitted to the Circuit Judge in whose jurisdiction the premises are situated and his decision shall be final subject only to appeal to Supreme Court.

CASH SALES AND SPECIAL AGREEMENTS.

With consent of Executive Council, public lands not under lease may be sold in parcels of not over one thousand acres, at public auction for cash, and upon such sale and payment of full consideration, a land patent will issue.

Parcels of land of not over six hundred acres, may with consent of Executive Council, be sold at public auction upon part credit and part cash, and upon such terms and conditions of improvement, residence, etc., as may be imposed.

Upon fulfillment of all conditions a Land Patent will issue.

GENERAL LEASES.

General leases of public lands may be made for a term not exceeding twenty-one years.

Such leases are sold at public auction, and require rent in advance quarterly, semi-annually or annually.

The conditions of general leases are made at discretion of the Commissioners, and may be made for any class of public lands.