Merton G. Kekiwi
Year Inducted: 2019
Kaonoulu Ranch | Maui
Ulupalakua Ranch | Maui
Merton G. Kekiwi was born on Maui on July 27, 1943. He was raised on Kaonoulu Ranch where his father, Hua Kekiwi worked as a ranch foreman. At the age of 10 he worked along with his Dad as a cowboy. He was given young horses to ride and of course, was “bucked off,” many, many times!
Life was hard in those days but very enjoyable for a ten-year-old. As an adult, Merton worked at Kaonoulu Ranch for one year. In 1964, at a 4th of July rodeo, Merton was approached by James Armitage, who offered him a job at Ulupalakua Ranch. He started working there two days later. He was the 17th cowboy. He drove the cattle, branded cattle, repaired fences and waterlines and shoed the horses. He is now retired from Ulupalakua Ranch after working there for 40 years.
He misses getting up every morning, saddling his horse and going to Kahikinui to round up cattle. Merton participated in rodeos for many years. He road saddle broncs, bareback broncos. He did bull dogging, calf roping and team roping. He was also the Maui District Director for the Hawaiʻi High School Rodeo Association.