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Taylor Camp: The Life and Death of a Hippie Community… Pictures and Film Trailer

A few weeks back, someone asked about “Taylor Camp” once again on a message board.  This is the third time that I have heard the subject brought up, so I figured I’d write a little blog about the subject.

I just did a Wikipedia search on the subject and surprisingly nothing came up on the subject.
Of course I wasn’t a part of “Taylor Camp”, but I could sure see my mom joining something like that back in her “Hippie Days” if she were on Kauai at the time.  In fact, I think about most of the people I bump into in Pahoa now a days, could be a former “Taylor Camp” resident.

So from here on out… I’m gonna take snippets of different things that I’ve googled on the subject to make one long blog.

Hang on folks, a former Taylor Camp resident could be your neighbor.

The following is from:

“Taylor Camp, Hawai’i: The life and death of a hippie community”
by Thomas J. Riley and Karma Ibsen-Riley
Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin 50(6), 1979.

As Ha‘ena State Park was coming into being with the break-up of the Hui Ku‘ai ‘Aina, actress Elisabeth Taylor’s brother purchased a parcel of coastal land in the area. As Carlos tells it, Howard Taylor went to acquire building permits to construct a home on the property. However, the State would not grant him such a permit, since they were planning to condemn the land. At the same time, however, they insisted that he still pay full taxes on the land. In disgust, Taylor turned the land over to the “flower power people.” Drifting young drop-outs from the outside world came to this piece of land and gradually came to form a makeshift community that took the name “Taylor Camp”…

…”By 1972 there were 21 permanent houses at Taylor Camp. All of them were tree houses since local authorities would not issue them permits for ground dwellings. Some of these structures were quite elaborate indeed, with large bamboo pole foundations, clapboard siding, and windows facing the sea. In addition to the houses in the camp there was a communal shower, an open air toilet, a small church, and even a cooperative store which operated on and off until the camp’s closing…

…”The large amounts of metal and glass trash, and the fact that the garden area of the camp, even during its most intense planting, couldn’t have supported even one-fourth of the residents of Taylor Camp, both suggested to us that the camp, despite its isolation, had to be dependent on a traditional American cash economy.” Pacific Worlds



It get’s much stranger…

“Many local Ha‘ena residents claimed that the economy of the camp was based on welfare support from county and state and on the production and sale of Cannabis sativa, which Hawaiians call pakalolo (“crazy weed”) and we often call marijuana…

…Their church, called the Church of the Brotherhood of the Paradise Children, welcomed Christian, Buddhist, Jew, and atheist alike. Worshippers shared experiences of God, the sun, or the mystical power of the pyramids…

…”Taylor Camp was a somewhat bizarre settlement in the eyes of local residents of Ha‘ena. Its residents often sunbathed in the nude, and some preferred to go about their daily activities without the benefit of clothing. Their church, called the Church of the Brotherhood of the Paradise Children, welcomed Christian, Buddhist, Jew, and atheist alike.

Taylor Camp Film Trailer:


“Taylor Camp” is a feature documentary (as well as a book to be published by Serindia) that takes the viewer on a journey through the ultimate hippie fantasy – a crazy quilt community of tree houses on the beach at the end of the road on Kauai. It’s about the rejection of American values only to repaint them with long hair,  marijuana and a vegetarian “clothing-optional” lifestyle in the era of flower power, anti-war riots
and the Age of Aquarius.

Taylor Camp was born in the spring of 1969 when artist / oceanographer Howard Taylor (brother of actress Elizabeth) bailed out of jail a rag-tag band of young mainlanders arrested for vagrancy and invited them to live on his land; thus setting off immigrating waves of hippies, surfers, seekers and psychologically scarred Vietnam vets to Kauai’s North Shore.

30 years later, we relive the growth of the camp through storytelling and interviews with the campers and their local neighbors. The interviews are woven into period music, re-enactments, original footage and striking black and white images of the camp from 1971 to 1977, plus a bare-knuckle examination of Taylor Camp’s impact on the local community.

Condemned by the State in 1977, government workers torched the camp before the last resident moved out, leaving behind ashes and magical memories of “the best days of our lives”.

Image Galleries Courtesy of the press materials . Click photo for larger view. (Warning some photos may contain nudity)

72 Responses

  1. I passed through the area in the 70’s and I was basically a runaway from home, long hair, broke, etc.,etc. & the people at Taylor Camp looked at me, with a attitude of like I should hit the road, there’s nothing for you here. They didn’t even want to say hello. That’s a fact of the situation. I hear all of this stuff that they were such great people and I lived on Kauai for about five years and not one time did I have any good thing to do with them. Those are facts. I hiked the trails on the North Shore and I would see them bathing on a steam with shampoo which is full of detergents that destroy the life in the water. It is what it is. I have lived on the Islands most of my adult life and I don’t want to hear comments that I don’t know what’s going on. I have an open mind and look at both sides. The locals and I know them by first name wanted to down some bad things and did. I think they, the people at Taylor Camp made things worse for others that came from other places. What about the one at Secret Beach that was molesting all the children and the cops went down there with guns to get him out. I can’t remember his hippy name anymore, but,it was something like the Wind. There were a couple at the most that I would talk with. The one guy that was associated with them that worked at the radio station and drove the blue vw rabbit was a nice guy.

    • Reading your post about Taylor Campers, left me wondering who you were. I was there from Nov.1970
      until 1973, and found everyone to be friendly and open. You might want to look up Ben Tangalin in Nawiliwili and ask him about the camp.

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