“Preserving & Perpetuating Hawaiʻi’s Proud & Living Paniolo Heritage”
Paniolo Preservation Society (PPS) was founded in 1998 as a 501(c)3 to increase public awareness of the historical, present-day and future significance of Hawaiʻi’s ranching industry with an emphasis on the roles, traditions, and contributions of the paniolo. We are dedicated to preserving the paniolo tradition as a profound part of the history of Hawaiʻi and the American West. PPS is also committed to perpetuating Hawaiian ranching as a proud and living heritage and contributor to the economic and cultural vitality and diversity of Hawaiʻi.
IRS 501(c)3 Number: 99-0341362
Our Organizational Goals
- Increase public awareness of the significance of Hawaiʻi’s ranching history and technological innovations.
- Collect, preserve and interpret artifacts and documentation that represent paniolo heritage.
- Collect, preserve and interpret the living heritage of the paniolo.
- Provide the leadership and financial resources to achieve the mission and goals via membership and fundraising.
Board of Directors, Staff & Volunteers
Our all-volunteer board includes ranchers, cowboys, veterinarians, business people, historians, legal experts, authors, museum professionals, educators and artisans. All with a like-minded commitment to preserving values, practices, and artifacts of the paniolo for future generations. We support ranching as a cornerstone in Hawaiʻi’s economy and food system for reasons of health, self-reliance, land stewardship, cultural integrity and diversity, and agricultural sustainability. PPS works with more than five dozen community volunteers.
President: Kanoa Alapai
Vice President: Geoy Purdy
Secretary: Janet Garcia
Treasurer: William “Bill” T. White III
General Manager: Justina Wood
PPS has lent assistance and expertise and worked in collaboration with many other organizations. This includes: Bishop Museum, Lyman House Museum, Kona Historical Society, Anna Ranch Heritage Center, numerous public, private and charter K-12 schools as well as UH-CTAHR/Mealani Experiment Station, Hawaiʻi Community College, Oahu Cattlemen’s Association, Waimea Community Association, Waimea Preservation Association, NHERC, Hawaiʻi High School Rodeo Association, Parker Ranch Round-Up Scholarship Club, Waimea Hawaiian Homesteaders, Kahilu Theatre, and the Honolulu Academy of Arts. PPS has also partnered with Hawai’i Tourism Authority, PBR, OHA, the County of Hawaiʻi and the Richard Smart Fund with Hawaiʻi Community Foundation.
Community Projects and Accomplishments
- Secured the induction of Hawaiʻi’s most famous paniolo, Ikua Purdy, into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame for having won the 1908 world championship of roping in Wyoming.
- Commissioned the creation of a larger-than-life bronze monument by sculptor Fred Fellows as a gift to the people of Hawaiʻi to honor Ikua Purdy and perpetuate awareness of Hawaiʻi’s paniolo heritage.
- Assisted in securing a “Year of the Hawaiian Cowboy” Proclamation by the State of Hawaiʻi in 1998.
- Secured a long-term lease of the 100+-year-old Pukalani Stables in 2011 and led major historically accurate restoration with extensive community support. This breathed new life into the facility to sustain and grow the site as a valuable cultural resource.
- In 2008, sponsored The Great Waiomina Centennial Celebration in partnership with dozens of schools, ranches, non-profits, cultural practitioners and museums as well as the Richard Smart Fund, OHA, HTA and County of Hawaiʻi. This celebration included dozens of educational and showcase events throughout the state and in Wyoming and drew significant national and international attention to and awareness of Hawaiʻi’s unique paniolo history. The Centennial Celebration also spawned a sister city relationship between Cheyenne, Wyoming and Hawai’i County, and resulted in the creation of an exceptional paniolo exhibit at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum. More than a dozen paniolo, including artisans, a saddle maker, musicians, and another dozen dancers, teachers, and crafters presented at the 2008 Cheyenne Frontier Days Celebration and Rodeo, establishing Hawaiʻi’s paniolo heritage as a substantial historical force and presence in the U.S. mainland cowboy community.
- Sponsored and assisted with the production of Hawaiʻi premiere screenings of several major documentaries on paniolo heritage, including filmmaker Edgy Lee’s “Paniolo O Hawaiʻi” film, which was ultimately acquired by National Geographic, translated into 20+ languages and shown all over the world. PPS also has since provided historical expertise to dozens of filmmakers, authors, journalists, recording artists, music producers, museums, and researchers both in Hawaiʻi and around the globe – all to help share complete, accurate information and ensure that the story and significance of the paniolo and Hawaiian ranching are recognized and perpetuated.
- Co-founded the Waimea Education Hui with representatives from Waimea Middle Public Conversion Charter School, Kanu o ka ʻAina Public Charter School, Hawai’i Preparatory Academy and Parker School to develop curriculum on ranching and paniolo culture to preserve and perpetuate ranching, and inspire and support academic achievement while also introducing the next generation of leaders to thoughtful land stewardship and paʻahana (hard, industrious work). PPS, Waimea Education Hui and its member schools have partnered with numerous organizations including Anna Ranch, Parker Ranch and Kahilu Theatre to host learning and sharing events including “A Paniolo Family Day at Anna Ranch,” “A Celebration of the History and Protocols of Paʻu,” “A Celebration of Waimea’s Enduring Traditions” (honoring Hawaiian Homestead ranchers as well as Waimea farmers and lei makers), and the “Paniolo Artisans Showcase” spotlighting more than 20 exceptional saddle makers.
- Secured induction of John Palmer Parker into the prestigious National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s “Hall of Great Westerners” in Oklahoma City.
- Co-sponsored a three-day immersion in paniolo heritage and traditions for several nationally recognized members of Professional Bull Riders (PBR), which culminated in a free clinic at Parker Ranch for members and friends of the Parker Ranch Round-Up Scholarship Club who were interested in learning advanced bull riding skills. The event earned the Round-Up Scholarship Club a generous donation and the entire visit by PBR members was filmed and is televised nationally during PBR competitions to both tell our paniolo story and market Hawai’i and the Hawaiian ranching experience to millions of PBR spectators and viewers. Ultimately, PPS hopes to secure an interest in co-hosting a major PBR event at Aloha Stadium in partnership with Hawai’i Tourism Authority.
- Secured statewide recognition of PPS’ heritage preservation progress with a Historic Hawaiʻi Foundation Preservation Award for PPS Founding Director and former President Patricia Bergin.
- PPS collects, interprets, catalogs and safely stores important paniolo and ranching archival materials including photos, documents, stories, maps, and artifacts. Years of interpretive work lies ahead but the rapid growth of the PPS collection compelled us to seek a permanent home for storing, showcasing and sharing this body of knowledge. This led to negotiating a license to occupy and rehabilitate the 100+-year-old historic Pukalani Stables from Parker Ranch on April 1, 2011, and to develop the Paniolo Heritage Center.