Aloha Authentic: The heart of Waikīkī

Aloha Authentic

HONOLULU (KHON2) — We all make use of our island roadways. But when was the last time you paid attention to the given names? Did you know they carry a story and usually reflect the nature of the space? 

KHON2’s weekly “Aloha Authentic” segment highlights various streets across the island, so we can dig into the meaning of the name, and in turn, learn something new about Hawaiʻi. 

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This week, we brought our attention to the heart of Waikīkī.

In the ahupuaʻa of Waikīkī, which lies in the moku of Kona here on Oʻahu, lies a roadway carrying the name of space traditionally known for a chicken and a coconut. We are talking about Helumoa Road.

In the Hawaiian language, Helumoa means “chicken scratch.” Helu meaning “to scratch,” and moa referring to a “chicken.”

It was in the 15th century when the ruler of Oʻahu of the time moved the island’s royal seat of power to Waikīkī. Six generations later, near its shores, the Oʻahu chief Kākuhihewa had an encounter with a mythical rooster.

The rooster flew from Palolo Valley down to Waikīkī to the feet of Kākuhihewa and began to scratch the ground.

Vanishing all of a sudden, the chief took it as a hōʻailona, or omen, and planted a coconut in the spot. From that coconut grew a grove of nearly 10,000 coconut trees becoming known as Helumoa.

After conquering Oʻahu during his conquest, King Kamehameha established a home under the shade of the grove. The great-granddaughter of King Kamehameha, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, inherited Helumoa, then becoming part of the Kamehameha Schools. 

Now, the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and Royal Hawaiian Center both call Helumoa home.

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Did you know? Now you do!

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