10 Lost Treasures of Hawaii (Riches of Paradise)

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Cory Haasnoot

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Hawaii was the 50th state to be admitted to the Union on August 21, 1959. Although Hawaii is the last state to be admitted to the Union doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a vast and interesting history. There are many landmarks, memorials, and landing sites in and around this state that chronicle its rich history.

James Cook the British explorer is said to have been the first European to have set foot on Hawaii in 1778. With all the battles that took place on the Hawaiian Islands, there’s no doubt that artifacts from the war, like weapons and personal belongings of the people that fought there, can still be found to this day.

In this article, we will explore 10 lost treasures of Hawaii and give you a glimpse of some of Hawaii’s history and where there still might be treasures to be found.

10 Lost Treasure of Hawaii

Lost Pirate Treasure at Kaena Point6 Treasure Chest of Gold and SilverKaena Point on the western tip of Oahu Island, Hawaii
Chinese Coins on Maili BeachChinese Bronze Coins wash ashore from time to timeMaili Beach on the western side of Oahu Island, Hawaii
Hidden Gold Coins in Aina Moana State Park$100,000 to $150,000 Worth of Gold Coins Aina Moana State Park on the island of Oahu
Captain Cavendish’s Buried Treasure$5 million worth of gold and silvernear Palemano Point on the Island of Hawaii
Captain Cooks Lost TreasureUnknown Amounts of the ship’s treasureKauai Island, Hawaii
Captain Turners Buried Treasure ChestsMultiple Chests Filled With Gold and Silver Coins and Church TreasureCaves on the north side of Kealakekua Bay on the Island of Hawaii
The Cave of Kings TreasureLifetime of WealthCave on Ford Island off of Oahu
Alfred Devereaux Buried Treasure$100,000 in gold and silver coinsThe small volcanic island of Kaho’olawe
Lost Peruvian TreasureTreasure Chest The island of Oahu in Hawaii
Lost Burial Chamber of King Kamehameha

Lost Pirate Treasure at Kaena Point

Ka'ena Point Trail
Source: By AlaskaDave – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25510821

Kaena Point is the western tip of Oahu Island. This is a very secluded part of the island that in some areas you can only get around on a footpath and only authorized vehicles are allowed in some parts.

Legend has it that in 1823 pirates visited this part of Oahu and hid six treasure chests close to a wall of stones on the top of a hill. It’s a stretch but those treasure chests still might be there awaiting discovery.

It’s plausible that maybe some large rocks came tumbling down from the huge cliffs there and covered up the chests. Who Knows? But if you can locate just one of those treasure chests you would be one wealthy individual! As long as the powers that be let you keep your discovery!

Chinese Coins on Maili Beach

Chinese Bronze Coin with Square Hole in the Middle.

Maili Beach is located on the western side of Oahu Island near the town with its same name. Maili is a beach park so metal detecting may be prohibited. But after a big storm, seventeenth-century Chinese bronze coins can be found on its beaches.

Chinese coins called cash coins of this era typically are round with a square hole in the middle. They used a square hole because after minting the coin a square rod would be put through the square holes of the coin for the purpose of smoothing out the rough edges around the coin.

Many of these coins have been found on the beach of Maili so if you can’t use a metal detector you can always at least bring along a sand scoop and dig up near the shore in hopes of locating one of those bronze coins.

The coins probably come from a ship that sunk in the area hundreds of years ago. Always ask permission before metal detecting or digging in the area. Although if you just look around the shoreline you might find a coin.

Hidden Gold Coins in Aina Moana State Park

Here’s another lost treasure story that takes place on the Island of Oahu. Aina Moana State Park is located near Waikiki Beach. It is said that a huge cache of 5 sided gold coins were hidden in a cave there. The coins were minted by the old Hawaiian Monarchy.

The gold coins are said to be valued between $100,000 to $150,000. Metal detecting is probably not allowed because it’s a state park but you could still snoop around and look for caves in the area that might hold the treasure. Make sure you have permission and are careful before entering any caves.

Captain Cavendish’s Buried Treasure

Portrait of Sir Thomas Cavendish.

Sir Thomas Cavendish was an English explorer and Pirate who circumnavigated the globe following Sir Francis Drakes’s route in the 1580s. His first capture of the Manila Galleon also known as the Santa Ana made him a rich man. Subsequently, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth the First of England.

There’s no official record of this but through stories past down through the generations, it is said that Cavendish while he did sail in the Pacific that he landed on the Island of Hawaii. There he reportedly buried $5 million worth of gold and silver near Palemano Point on the Island.

If you are ever on the Island of Hawaii it might be worth your while to check out Palemano Point. You just might find some gold and silver left there by Sir Thomas Cavendish!

Captain Cooks Lost Treasure

Captain James Cooks Portrait
Captain James Cook

The British explorer Captain James Cook also a member of the British Royal Navy was killed in a battle by Island natives close to Napoopoo Villiage on February 14, 1779. 

Legend has it that his ship’s treasures were looted by the natives. The King of the natives believed these treasures were magical and they buried them on Kauai Island. The camping spot where Cook first landed in 1778 is located at Waimea Bay about two miles Southwest of State Highway 50.

There is now a Memorial on the Hawaiian Island that commemorates Captain Cook’s battle and death there. There still might be artifacts from the battle in that area. But since it’s a memorial ask permission before doing any metal detecting or digging in the area. My guess is that it’s probably off-limits!

Captain Turners Buried Treasure Chests

Pirate Captain Turner is said to have come ashore in Kealakekua Bay on the Island of Hawaii. Legend has it that Turner buried many chests filled with silver and gold coins and some stolen church treasure there in 1818.

The treasure is said to be in some caves on the north side of Kealakekua Bay. It might be worth a look if you are ever in that area of Hawaii! As always get permission before entering any caves.

The Cave of Kings Treasure

Very little information on this legend but it states that a wealthy businessman hid most of his wealth in a cave on Ford Island off of Oahu.

Alfred Devereaux Buried Treasure

Kaho’olawe Island view from Maui, Hawaii.
Source: CC BY 2.0, Link Kaho’olawe Island

Alfred Devereaux was a successful opium dealer who brought opium from China and supplied it to merchants in Hawaii. It is said that he made a fortune doing this illegal activity and that he buried those over $100,000 in gold and silver coins on the small volcanic island of Kaho’olawe.

Alfred ended up dying shortly after and his treasure has never been recovered. It could still be waiting for discovery by some lucky person! My theory is that it’s probably not buried but hidden in a volcanic cave or under some rock ledge somewhere on the island.

Lost Peruvian Treasure

vintage sailing ship. seafaring concept. sketch vector illustration

The Peruvian was a Spanish ship that set sail from Peru filled with treasure that was to be taken to the Island of Guam. But the ship set anchor on the Island of Oahu in Hawaii. The ship reportedly ended up close to Ka’ena Point where the crew ended up taking the treasure ashore.

Two officers of the Peruvian, Robinson and Brown are the ones who thought of the scheme to steal some of the ship’s treasure. They employed the help of the quartermaster named Monks and three other crew members to help them unload some of the treasure on one of their longboats and bring it ashore.

Robinson, Brown, and the three crewmen took the treasure chest ashore leaving Monks to guard the ship. The three crewmen ended up being shot by Robinson and Brown. They then trapped the rest of the crew on the ship and sank the Peruvian.

Robinson and Brown Take Off For More Treasure

About a month went by and Robinson and Brown boarded an Australian ship so they could set out to get more treasure. They planned on returning with treasure and add to the other treasure that was hidden on the island. They never made it back the Australian ship that they were on was lost at sea.

Monks had been stabbed, beaten, and left for dead on the island. Although he wouldn’t tell who did it, it was assumed that Robinson and Brown did the deed. Legend has it that Monks found the treasure that was hidden on the island and used some of it from time to time as trade.

It is said that Monks died of old age and a treasure partial treasure map was found that gave clues to the whereabouts of the Peruvian treasure. No one has ever found the treasure but the partial treasure map is in the historical archives at the Bishop Museum. 

Lost Burial Chamber of King Kamehameha

King Kamehameha I. First King of Hawaiian Islands.
King Kamehameha I

King Kamehameha the Great was the first King of Hawaii. He lived from 1758 to 1819. In 1810 he unified all the Islands to be part of the Royal Kingdom. He was said to have overturned the Naha Stone when he was young which was 2 to 3 tons. It was said that whoever overturned the Naha Stone would rule the Hawaiian Islands.

Legend has it that King Kamehameha I is buried in a rainforest cave. He was a great and beloved King who would have been buried with many riches. Whoever finds this cave would be wealthy indeed but you probably would get hit with lawsuits and more importantly have a moral issue hanging over your head.

According to the Archeological Institute of America, David Kalakaua the last King of Hawaii sent men looking for the burial place of King Kamehameha. Supposedly they found his bones and they reburied them in the Royal Mausoleum in Oahu, Hawaii. The DNA was never tested so no one knows for sure if they would be the King’s remains buried there.

Someday maybe they will exhume the bones and do a DNA test to make sure they are the remains of the Great first King of Hawaii. Until then we can only speculate and keep dreaming that there still is a cave with the remains and riches of this once beloved King of Hawaii!

Lost Treasures of Hawaii Conclusion

Not sure if all these treasure stories are true or not it’s always fun to wonder and speculate if those treasures are still out there waiting to be discovered! I hope you enjoyed this article about the treasures of Hawaii. With time and a lot of luck maybe someday you will dig up your own treasure!

If you have any questions or comments please leave them below. I love to hear from my readers! Until next time Happy Treasure Hunting!!

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Author: Cory Haasnoot

Cory Haasnoot is an author, entrepreneur, metal detecting enthusiast, antique, coin collector, and founder of Treasure Seekr.

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