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?  

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

This week, we bring attention to “the stone church.”

In the ahupuaʻof Honolulu, which lies in the moku of Kona here on Oʻahu, stands a street named after a land section, but also a significant church.  

We’re talking about Kawaiahaʻo St.

The name Kawaiahaʻo comes from a Hawaiian princess who used to bathe in the waters of a spring.

The spring resided in a small land section, in Hawaiian known as ʻili, which lies within the area of Honolulu.

The name Kawaiahaʻo then became an influence within the establishment of the Christian faith in Hawaiʻi. 

The first Protestant missionaries arrived on the shores of Hawaiʻi in 1820.  

Within the first year of their mission, they established 3 churches across the islands, first on Hawaiʻi island, then Oʻahu, and finally on the island of Kauaʻi. 

The church on Oahu was built with slabs of coral within the ʻili and near the spring of Kawaiahaʻo, leading it to take that as its name.

From Honolulu to Waiʻanae, Hawaiian men free dove along the island’s coastline to cut over 14,000 slabs of coral each weighing approximately 1,000 pounds.  

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Despite the church being made out of coral, the nicknamed “Stone Church” was dedicated in July of 1842 also being dubbed the “Mother Church of Hawaiʻi” as well as “Westminster Abbey of the Pacific.”  

Did you know?  Now you do!