HONOLULU (KHON2) – We all make use of our island roadways. But, how many of us pay attention to their given names? 

Did you know you could learn more about Hawaiʻi 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 a busy highway connecting windward Oʻahu to Honolulu.

From the ahupuaʻa of Kailua to the ahupuaʻa of Honolulu, which lies in the moku of Koʻolaupoko and Kona here on Oʻahu, stands a roadway named after the cliff it traverses. 

We are talking about Pali Hwy.

Since the early 1800s, farmers would trek over the Koʻolau mountain through its trails to sell their goods in Honolulu.

Following many rounds of widening and improving its roads, the current Pali Highway with tunnels was dedicated in 1962. 

Despite the Pali being significant today, connecting both East Oʻahu and Honolulu, the cliffs of the Koʻolau hold a history of importance which takes us back to the days of King Kamehameha I.

Known as the Father of the Hawaiian Kingdom, King Kamehameha grew his power throughout the islands via battle.

Arriving on Oʻahu by the shores of Waikīkī, the king sent some warriors up to the mountain to dismantle cannons directed at him.

After doing so, King Kamehameha successfully pushed his enemies from Waikīkī up into Nuʻuanu Valley to the final scene of battle which was the cliff’s edge in the area where the Pali tunnels are now located.

It was with this victory that King Kamehameha claimed power over Oʻahu in 1795. 

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It wasn’t until 1810 when King Kamehameha officially established the Hawaiian Kingdom by securing his sovereignty over the final islands of Kauaʻi and Niʻihau through diplomacy.

Did you know?  Now you do!