Title Conveyances and Other Terminology
Tax Map Key (TMK)
Hawaii is one of 14 states in the United States where property taxes are not levied at the state level, only the county level. There are four counties in Hawaiʻi:
The Tax Map Key is a nine-digit number. Here’s an example: 1-2-1-017-009
Island/County - Honolulu (1 digit) = 1
Zone (1 digit) = 2
Section (1 digit) = 1
Plat (3 digits) = 017
Lot (3 digits) = 009
Parcel number: 121017009
Mokupuni (county or Island) – Honolulu County (Oʻahu)
Moku (District or Zone) – Kona (means leeward)
Ahupuaʻa (division or Section) – Honolulu
ʻIli (smaller division or Plat) – none
 HRS § 326-34
A title registered in Land Court clears any "clouds" on it. “[A] land court certificate of title is ‘conclusive and unimpeachable’ with regard to ‘all matters contained therein,’ ” which is “[t]he fundamental difference between a certificate of title issued by the land court and a recordation of title at the bureau of conveyances.” Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Omiya, 142 Hawai`i 439, 447, 420 P.3d 370, 378 (2018) citing In re 2003 Ala Wai Blvd., 85 Hawai‘i at 405, 944 P.2d at 1348 (1997).
Honolulu Example (other counties may vary):
e.g. Here, in our example, it is LOT A-2 LCAPP 617 39,057 SF. This translates into Land Commission Application 617, Lot A-2, and it is 39,057 square feet.
e.g. This map was created Dec. 22, 1931 and amended Aug. 4, 1971. On this map, we find written across the parcel for the Young Women’s Christian Association of Oʻahu, Ld. Ct. App. 617. That coincides with the legal information from the previous page.
e.g. As you can see, the lots have changed from many small lots to 5 or 6 large lots.
We search here next because we have the Land Court Application number. In our example, it is 617.
Click on the image of the magnifying glass and you will see a snippet of the record.
From this, we learn a lot. In 1884, King Kalakaua granted the land to John Bolabola. It is to be found in Vol. 15 of the Land Grant Awards on page 553-556, and it is a Royal Patent Grant. This means the land was originally either government or crown lands. Monarchs would typically sell land to raise money, but this land was granted for only $1, officially.
The bottom of the snippet shows even more information. King Kalakaua made the grant during a Cabinet meeting on Aug. 19, 1884. But, the GIS Map from the County Property Search that shows what the property looks like today doesn't match the boundaries on the Land Court Map.