Thursday, September 29, 2016
Public record bonanza–West Maui Land Court docs now online
What—you are not on Maui? Not from Maui? Ok, you can go back to Instagram and Facebook.
But for those interested in public records, for historians, for those who need this, and for the curious—the North Beach West Maui Benefit Fund and the Judiciary have concluded a years-long project, and important court files are now available on-line.
Read about it in their press release:
Historic West Maui Land Court applications now available online to the public
Historic West Maui Land Court applications are now available
to families and historians online at the West Maui Land Court Archive
(http://www.westmauilandcourtarchive.org. The North Beach West Maui
Benefit Fund worked for four years to obtain and digitize the court
files and to make them available online.
In 1903, the Territory of Hawaii adopted the “Torrens” system of land
registration where claimants of land could petition the Land Court, in
Honolulu, to confirm their title and be issued a certificate of title.
The territory (and now state) guarantees the validity of any certificate
of title issued. Applications to register land generally included
information about the land itself and many times history about the
families that lived on the land.
Families doing research today on family or land history are required to
fly to Honolulu during the work week to look at these historic court
files on microfilm at the courthouse in Honolulu. Copies cost at the
courthouse are $1/page. Some applications are a few hundred pages while
others are thousands of pages.
In 2012, Dr. Sydney Iaukea, during her research of the book Keka'a: The
Making and Saving of North Beach West Maui, wrote to the Benefit Fund
explaining the difficulty she had with accessing the materials and
concern about how much more difficult it would be for working families
on Maui to go to Honolulu to do research on family land and asked the
Benefit Fund to look into making access easier for Maui families.
The Benefit Fund has spent several years obtaining the permission
necessary from the Judiciary to get these historic applications
Benefit Fund spokesperson, Lance D. Collins stated; “The Benefit Fund
extends its deep gratitude to the Chief Staff Attorney of the Supreme
Court and the Registrar of the Land Court for their assistance in making
this project a reality.”
While the Judiciary has long term plans of putting all of its historic
applications online, due to significant budgetary constraints, it is
presently unable to do so. It is hoped that the archive can be used as a
model for others, like the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, to digitize and
archive online more historic applications for other regions.
The lands were originally identified by tax map key number and the
applications identified for inclusion inadvertently included land
registered on Lana'i – which is part of the West Maui tax map key zone.
The Benefit Fund decided to include the Lana'i applications in the
archive in an effort to make these historical applications as available
as possible to families and the public.