Zuckerberg continues to ‘colonize’ Hawaii
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has bought another 110 acres of land on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, assuming ownership of territory that includes a reservoir and a pristine forest, despite protests from locals.
The social media tycoon and his wife now own 1,400 acres of land on the island, much of it protected agricultural and conservation land. The latest addition to their $100 million Ko’olau Ranch includes the Ka Loko reservoir, where a dam collapsed in 2006 after 40 days of rain, killing seven people, local media reported this week. The disaster was blamed on the previous owners, from whom the Zuckerbergs bought the property in November for $17 million.
The billionaire has previously faced accusations of trying to “colonize” Kauai. The couple’s actions on purchasing their first mansion on the island in 2014 were hardly neighborly, with the billionaire opting to build a wall around the 707-acre property to block locals from accessing Pila’a Beach, which had been a spot loved by locals and travelers alike. Zuckerberg was subsequently accused of attempting to force tenant farmers from their land – a quest he finally gave up three years later, apologizing in the local paper for his attempted takeover.
The Zuckerbergs also own most of Kahu’aina Plantation and Larsen’s Beach, having acquired an additional 600 acres in April for $53 million. The security team assigned to protect the pair and their investments costs more than half as much, running to $23 million, according to local media.
That team is probably worth the money, given how many signatures have been accrued on a Change.org petition asking the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to “Stop Mark Zuckerberg from colonizing Kauai.” Over a million people have signed the petition at the time of writing.
The Zuckerbergs are far from the only tech billionaires expanding their footprints across Hawaii’s tropical paradise islands. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos bought a $78 million estate on Maui in November after leaving his wife, staking claim to a marine fishing reserve with his partner Lauren Sanchez.
His presence can’t be sitting too well with the locals, as even they are not permitted to fish or conduct commercial activity in the area. He also recently snapped up a huge piece of property for his parents on the island. Meanwhile, Oracle’s Larry Ellison owns almost the entire island of Lanai.