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In 2014, ‘Ohana by Hawaiian launched service between Honolulu and Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i. The new interisland flights operated by Empire Airlines incorporated the two rural islands into Hawaiian Airlines’ statewide route network, providing kama‘āina (residents) and visitors unmatched access to our entire archipelago.

In celebration of ‘Ohana by Hawaiian’s five-year anniversary, our Team Kōkua employee volunteers—representing Empire Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines—gathered for a community service activity at the Moloka‘i Land Trust’s Mokio Preserve on the island’s rugged northwestern coast. Twenty employees from Honolulu, Lāna‘i and Moloka‘i worked alongside the Trust’s staff to remove deeply rooted, invasive plants from the Anapuka Dunes, a 60-acre parcel within the 1,769-acre preserve.

Mokio Preserve
Team Kōkua volunteers waiting to start their day inside the Mokio Preserve, a 1,718-acre parcel that was donated to the Moloka'i Land Trust.


The land is one of many sites owned and managed by the Moloka‘i Land Trust, the largest land trust (by acreage) in the United States. Prior to the Trust’s full acquisition of the Mokio Preserve in 2012, the landscape was dramatically altered after several decades of cattle ranching and a rapid loss of native wildlife due to the spread of invasive species.

Molokai Land Trust explaining the route 2
Moloka'i Land Trust Executive Director Butch Haase showing Team Kōkua volunteers the map of the preserve and the route to the restoration site.


Trust Executive Director Butch Haase says the Anapuka Dunes project is one of several recent efforts by the organization to restore the land. Thanks to the hard work of its staff, interns and volunteers, the Trust has removed and replaced almost 25 acres of kiawe tree and lantana plants with native species.

Restoration project area with 100 native species 3
Alanna James, ‘Ohana by Hawaiian managing director, peers out at incredible work the Trust has done to restore the Anapuka Dunes and reintroduce native species to the area.


While introducing volunteers to the area and the work before the group, Haase shared his team’s measurable success in recovering the Dune’s vibrant ecosystem, which was once home to nesting ground for albatross, wedge-tail shearwaters, ‘iwa birds, and other birds.

Haase brings volunteers to the cliffs of the Mokio Preserve to remove invasive weeds and make room for new native seedlings.


“As kama‘āina and employees of one of Moloka‘i’s major carriers, we have a responsibility to protect and preserve this island,” said Adrien Gonzalez, ‘Ohana by Hawaiian specialist and a Team Kōkua volunteer. “The Mokio Preserve is a special place, and it was an incredible experience to take part in such an inspiring restoration project.”

Native bird socialization area - staged albatross 2
The Trust constructed a native bird socialization area alongside the cliff, which includes wooden albatrosses staged in groups and a speaker that plays the seabird's distinct sounds out toward the ocean. The goal of this area is to attract albatrosses from the sea to the Anapuka Dunes and encourage them to reestablish their nests in the Preserve.


Though restoration efforts are far from completion, our volunteers witnessed the fruits of the Trust’s labor firsthand: a cliff-side paradise thriving with fields of native vegetation, such as naupaka, hinahina, sandalwood, pili grass and more. The Trust has also waited patiently for the reintroduction of albatross colonies and has even assembled socialization areas to attract birds flying out at sea.

Team Kōkua volunteers gathered alongside two wooden albatross birds in appreciation of Moloka‘i's beautiful northwestern coast.


At the end of the day, Team Kōkua volunteers were invited to learn about the important history of the Mokio Preserve, which remains intact in some undeveloped areas. The coastline, according to the Trust, is a cultural hub with rich archeological sites. Today, you’ll still find the remnants of shelters, ‘opihi shells that once enclosed juicy meat for dinner, and tools used to collect food from the ocean at the base of the 400-foot cliffs.



The Moloka‘i Land Trust relies on ‘Ohana by Hawaiian’s Ho‘olehua-to-Honolulu service to sustain and further grow the organization's footprint. 

Join us in our five-year celebration and experience Moloka‘i yourself by booking your next trip on ‘Ohana by Hawaiian. To learn more about the Moloka‘i Land Trust and how you can support its cause, click here.