Nu‘u Refuge

Size: 81 acres
Year Protected:  2011
Land Protection Strategy: Owned by HILT
Conservation Values: Cultural site, wetland habitat, shoreline access, wildlife habitat
Land Features: Wetlands, dry forest habitat

Nu‘u. Courtesy of Jonathan Starr.

Nu‘u. Courtesy of Jonathan Starr.

ABOUT nu‘u refuge

Nu‘u Wetlands

Nu‘u Wetlands

Remote to most, Nu‘u is home to a pristine wetland that is a bustling rest stop for native birds traveling between the islands.  Local fishermen think it’s a good place to relax, too.

Hawaiian Islands Land Trust took fee ownership of 82 acres on Maui’s rugged and remote southeast coast at Nu‘u.  The $4 million purchase was made possible through funding from the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources Legacy Land Conservation Program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Freeman Family Foundation (a member of the Hawai‘i Community Foundation) and HILT founding board member Janice Lau-Fergus.

This acquisition represents an important step in the effort to conserve and restore vital lands and shorelines in Hawai‘i.  Nu‘u contains some of the healthiest coastal wetlands across the islands, which provide habitat for several endangered bird species, including the ae‘o (Hawaiian stilt) and ʻalae keʻokeʻo (Hawaiian coot).  In addition, the area preserves numerous pre-contact archaeological sites and has been used as a recreational spot by local fisherman for centuries.  

The Land Trust’s plans for the property, which was acquired from Kaupo Ranch, include habitat restoration, protection of cultural sites, and educational outreach.  The public is encouraged to get involved by participating in future volunteer days or free guided tours through our Talk Story on the Land environmental education series.


We would like to remind the public that no pets, particularly dogs, are allowed at these public preserves to protect the conservation values, native wildlife and habitat. Mahalo for your support!

Nu‘u is rich both biologically and culturally, and by protecting it we can contribute to restoring the life of the land while telling the stories of how people have lived here for generations.
— Scott Fisher, HILT's Associate Executive Director of Conservation

Noteworthy mentions ABOUT NU‘U

  • Reference to Nu‘u and a white tree which grew there was used for ancient Hawaiian hale (house) building mentioned in the Hawaiian newspaper, Ka Hae Hawaii in November of 1857. Read the Hawaiian language newspaper article, Laau Paakiki.

  • A kanikau (song of passing) written in December 1861 and published in Nupepa Ku‘oko‘a in February 1862 by H. Paulo of Nu‘u, Kaupo.

  • No ke Kupapau in Ka Hae Hawaii newspaper printed in June 1858.