the great mahele

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Research that reframes our thoughts about one of the biggest events in Hawaiʻi's history is sparking conversations.

The Great Māhele of 1848 changed landownership laws in Hawaiʻi forever by allowing private ownership of land. The conventional understanding is the māhele was key in native Hawaiians being dispossessed of land.

Geographer Donovan Preza uncovered information that departs from this storyline. His research argues the māhele helped secure Hawaiian rights in land rather than destroy them.

Preza explains: