Charming Haleiwa Town on Oahu’s North Shore, with a population of roughly 4,000 is located on Waialua Bay at the mouth of the Anahulu River. The green and fertile Waimea Valley extends behind the bay, and the shore is surrounded by Haleiwa Beach Park and the Hale’iwa Ali’i Beach Park.
When you take a tour, or take a walk through Hale’iwa Town you step back in time, the old plantation-era buildings that now house quaint shops and cafes, retain the wonders of its old history; and this colorful town has a very rich history!
The Early Years
Going back to this region’s origins, Hawaiians settled in the Waialua and Ko’olauloa Districts along the North Shore, establishing villages along the valleys and bays. In a rich and fertile land with natural springs, they farmed and grew taro and sweet potato.
In 1779, the first Westerners to land on Oahu came ashore at Waimea Bay aboard Captain Cook’s ship, commanded by Captain Charles Clarke, to replenish fresh water supplies after Captain Cook’s death on the Big Island. In 1832, the first Western settlement was established by the Protestant missionaries John and Ursula Emerson in Waialua Bay, at the mouth of the Anahulu River, were the Hale’iwa Bridge is found today.
When the Western system of land titles and deeds was established in the 1800s, private ownership brought the diversification of agriculture, sugar cane and pineapple plantations, which dominated the economy for 100 years. Pineapple and diversified agriculture continue today along the North Shore.
Naming the Town
The name “Hale’iwa” originated when a businessman by the name of Benjamin Dillingham, promoter of real estate and railways, opened a Grand Victorian Hotel and name Hale’iwa, Hale meaning “house” and “iwa” a frigate bird. The hotel became a success with the city affluent that enjoyed a retreat in the country.
With the sugar and pineapple plantation came the laborers; Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Norwegian, Scotsman, and Filipino, contracted to work. They started laundries, vegetable and meat markets, tailor shops, barbershops, restaurants, and other businesses. Many of the early business families and their original buildings still remainn in Hale’iwa Town today. As one strolls through Hale’iwa Town Center, you will find a variety of shops and restaurants to choose from, plus the number one attractions: shave ice!
Enjoy historic Hale’iwa, an old town with a bright future!