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 our attention to the history of Waikīkī.

In the ahupuaʻa of Waikīkī, which lies in the moku of Kona here on Oʻahu, stands a street which name refers to a bunch of coconut trees. 

We are talking about Uluniu Ave.?

The word Uluniu literally means “coconut grove,” but the name also refers to a section of land within Waikīkī. 

It was on this land where King David Kalākaua, the last king of the Hawaiian Kingdom, established one of his retreats.

After purchasing the property for $400 from Princess Ruth Keʻelikōlani, King Kalākaua built a two-story, framed structure.

Surrounded by a grove of old coconut trees, the beloved king used his residence for relaxation and hosting parties.

A guest from one of the king’s parties wrote the house was “decorated gaily and with an excellent floor for dancing.”

Because of his enormous talent to entertain and equal capacity to consume alcohol, King Kalākaua was nicknamed “The Merrie Monarch.”

When the king passed away, he left his estate to his wife, Queen Kapiʻolani, who in turn passed on her properties to the Kapiʻolani Medical Center for Women and Children. 

Another famous coconut grove in Waikīkī stood in the area known as Helumoa, where 10,000 trees once flourished.

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Today, descendants of these original trees still remain standing in The Royal Grove at the Royal Hawaiian Center.

Did you know? Now you do!