Maui’s Richest New Resident, Mr. Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos, the second richest man in the world who founded Amazon, and his partner, Lauren Sánchez, have acquired land on Maui....

Jeff Bezos, the second richest man in the world and Amazon founder, and his partner, news anchor Lauren Sánchez, have acquired land on Maui, sources familiar with the deal confirmed with Maui Times. The 14-acre property on La Pérouse Bay in Makena includes the remains of a Hawaiian fishpond, allowing Bezos to own a piece of the ocean. 

Bezos’ newly acquired property on South Maui’s La Pérouse Bay includes a Hawaiian fishpond, granting ownership of the ocean to the world’s second richest man. (Maui County Tax Assessor’s Office, Eagleview satellite image.)

The property’s total value was assessed at more than $46 million in 2021, county records show. The sale went unreported in public records because Bezos bought the holding company that owned the land, best known as the Carter Estate.

“The overall intent is to create a naturalistic feeling on the property and minimize its visibility from any public area,” a 1999 county environmental assessment report for the property states.

Between the Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve and the lava fields parking lot, the property sits on what might be the only sand remaining on the southern coastline since Haleakala’s last lava flows in the 1750s covered most of it, according to the report. The sand is the last remaining tie to the area’s name, Keone‘o‘io, meaning “sands of the bonefish.”

The land contains 10 archaeological sites that the report said include the remains of an old Hawaiian church where some congregants would arrive by canoe until the priest committed suicide before the Second World War. A local cited in the report said that a rock “resembling a Hawaiian male’s face … watches over the fishpond.” The report states that there are no known religious sites, heiau, or graves on the property.

The acquisition coincides with Bezos donating to nine Maui nonprofits in the past two months, after he made a $1.25 million grant to the Family Life Center last December.

Jack Truesdale

Welcome To Wai

Welcome To Wai

The ocean is a source of joy for locals and visitors alike: for surfers, kiters, snorkelers, fisherman, paddle boarders, whale watchers, and countless others. Our streams and waterfalls are world-famous sources of tranquility and beauty. This special issue is dedicated to wai, H20, the source of life.