Aloha Authentic: Punahou St.

Aloha Authentic

HONOLULU (KHON2) — KHON2’s weekly “Aloha Authentic” segment highlights various roadways across the pae ʻāina so the meaning of their names can be uncovered.

It is time to bring attention to a street that carries the same name as an influential school.

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In the ahupuaʻa of Waikīkī, which lies in the moku of Kona on Oʻahu, stands a roadway named after a freshwater spring of the area.

That street is Punahou Street.

The name “Punahou,” is actually short for “Kapunahou,” which in English is translated to “the new spring.”

Hawaiian stories share that an old couple lived under a hala, or pandanus tree, in the ancient days during a time of famine.

The story said both had a similar dream that there was water under the hala tree, so the husband recovered it and water sprung up.

The land this spring resided on ended up in the hands of reverend Hiram Bingham, one of the first missionaries to Hawaiʻi. He and other missionaries chose the site to build a school.

It became Punahou School, which first opened on July 11, 1842.

The school’s name was changed to Oʻahu College after the institution began providing two years of advanced work for students.

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But because funding for a full college failed, the name was reverted back to the original in 1934.  

The hala tree is still part of the school seal and the Kapunahou spring still resides on campus.  

2022 will make 180 years of the school influencing children.

Did you know? Now you do!

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