HONOLULU (KHON2) — We all make use of our island roadways, but when was the last time you paid attention to their given names? Did you know you could learn more about Hawaiʻi and our history if you did? 

Our weekly “Aloha Authentic” segment highlights various streets across the islands so we can dig into those names, and in turn, learn something new. 

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This week, we learn about the arrival of Christianity to the islands.

In the ahupuaʻa of Kūkūau, which lies in the moku of Hilo on the island of Hawaiʻi, stands a short street that carries a word meaning “Christian.” 

We are talking about Kristiano St.

The first Protestant Christian missionaries arrived in Hawaiʻi in March of 1820 after setting sail from Massachusetts.

But the effort to bring a mission to the islands started years prior from a full-blooded Hawaiian man named Henry ʻŌpūkahaʻia.

After becoming an orphan during King Kamehameha’s conquest, ʻŌpūkahaʻia boarded a trading ship anchored off of Kona. 

He eventually made his way to Connecticut where his education led him from being illiterate to knowledgeable in five languages.

He urged the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions to establish a Sandwich Islands Mission. 

He yearned to preach the Gospel to his countrymen.

Unfortunately, he passed away before he was able to do so.

When the mission first arrived on Hawaiian shores, Queen Kaʻahumanu was co-ruler and supported them.

The first three Protestant churches were quickly established which were located on Hawaiʻi island, Oʻahu and Kauaʻi.

After Kaʻahumanu’s passing, her successor, Kīnaʻu, continued to support the kingdom’s mosaic laws. 

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To learn more about the history of Christianity and their influence on the islands, be sure to scan the QR code to watch a recent episode of Aloha Authentic on Kawaiahaʻo Church and the Hawaiian Mission Houses.

Did you know? Now you do!