The 1980s were difficult for the sugar industry. In the midst of these hard times, the community spirit prevailed, encompassing honoring the past, working together, gratitude and perseverance.
- Newspaper articles or notices regarding the Hakalau area were infrequent, and were predominantly ads for real estate and land sales, obituaries, and notices about regular community activities such as Obon, Memorial Day observance, and community meetings.
- Honoring the past prevailed, as the community and many who had moved away celebrated Hakalau School, which closed in 1972.
The Honolulu Advertiser, July 12, 1981, accessed via Newspapers.com
- Hakushi Tamura, Minister at the Hakalau Jodo Mission from 1979-1996, shares his memories of Hakalau Upper Camp during the period of about 1982-1985, a period when most of the houses were vacant or had been moved or demolished:
O.K. about Hakalau camp. I don’t remember much but Hilo side of the church were empty lot which became like jungle, then cane field all the way till Hakalau intersection.
The road went in to the jungle toward manager’s house and there was a Japanese family house. Sugino family, they moved to Pepeekeo. His name was Shunichi “Wimpy” Sugino. One Sugino noticed earlier was Wimpy’s mom. In my memory, if I’m not wrong, Wimpy was the last one moved out from there, or Hawaiian Sam.
- New ventures in diversified agriculture began.
- Closure of the Hakalau Post Office was averted, reflecting a two-year effort on the part of Hakalau residents. Perseverance paid off.
Hawaii Tribune Herald, March 26, 1989, p. 6, accessed via Newspapers.com
- The Hakalau Jodo Mission was dwindling. A list of Hakalau Jodo Mission members from the late 1980s (i.e., between 1985 and 1989) describes the membership remaining in this time. It includes 80 persons, but, with wives included, probably represents about 140 members. They were elderly -about 72% were age 65+ and about 28% were 80+. The majority were living outside of Hakalau: Hilo (37%), Pepeekeo ( 33%), Hakalau (26%).