Kawaiahao Church


About Kawaiahao Church


Downtown Honolulu features unique buildings that testify to the power and ingenuity of the Nation of Hawaii. When Kawaiahao Church was built in the mid-1800s, Hawaiians dove below the sea to hand-chisel massive slabs of coral to build the church. There are over 14,000 slabs of coral here, each one weighing about 1,000 pounds. Ka wai a Hao in Hawaiian means The water of Hao. The site of Kawaiahao Church was once a fountain spring that belonged to a high chief named Hao. Nearby is the Iolani Palace, Ali’iolani Hale, and the King Kamehameha the Great Statue.


Kawaiahao Church and the Mission Houses Museum became a US National Historic Landmark in 1962, and later became one of the many historic landmarks to be included on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. Hawaiian royalty frequented the church as members of the Church of England, including King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma. Reverend Hiram Bingham designed the church in a New England style architecture.

Facts & Trivia

  • Island: Oahu
  • Duration: Drive-by Only
  • Insider Tip: During the era of the Hawaiian monarchy, Kawaiahao Church was called The Church of the Alii.
  • Fun Fact: Kawaiahao remains one of the few remaining churches in Hawaii to offer services in the Hawaiian language.
  • Pop Culture: Forget Prince William and Kate MiddletonHawaiis royal couple, Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma held their celebrated wedding at the Kawaiahao Church in 1856.
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