Constructed of coral blocks, chiseled from off shore reefs, between 1836 and 1842, the Kawaiaha'o church (meaning "water of Ha'o at a spring") was the first Christian church on Oahu. Originally, this was barren, flat land (a dust bowl, really) except for a small spring oasis that was reserved for tribal chiefs' use. One of those tribal heads was High Chiefess Ha'o and the spring was named after her. When the first missionaries arrived on Oahu in 1820, the monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii gave them land around the spring to build their homes (now the Mission Homes Museum site) and their church. Originally, the missionaries constructed four thatched roof churches on the land next to their mission homes. The more formal coral stone church was completed and dedicated in 1842. At one time, the Kawaiaha'o Church was considered the National Church of the Kingdom of Hawaii, frequented by the tribal chiefs of the island and included a chapel for the Royal Family. Today, this is thought to be the mother church of Hawaii, in which the Hawaiian language is still used during its services. In 1962, the site comprising the original Mission Homes and the Kawaiaha'o Church was designated a National Historic landmark, and considered by many to be Hawaii's Westminster Abbey. Since the church and the homes are next to each other, this is an easy one day excursion. Make sure to visit the cemeteries next to the church, there is one devoted to the missionaries and one to native Hawaiians. These grounds are well kept and make for a fascinating historical experience.
Considered by many to be Hawaii's Westminster Abbey, the Kawaiaha'o church was the first Christian Church on Oahu.
This is the spring that sat in the middle of the barren, flat dust bowl that was reserved for use by tribal chiefs. Once the first missionaries arrived, this land was given to them to create their mission and homes.
The interior is quite spacious...
...but it's simplicity impressed us with its elegance.
King Lunalilo (1835 to 1874) chose to be buried in this simple, but beautiful chapel on the grounds of the Kawaiaha'o Church rather than the traditional Royal burial ground elsewhere.
Plaque outside the chapel explains some of King Lunalilo's story.
Beside the church is the requisite cemetery. This one is devoted to native Hawaiians...
...while this one directly behind the church was dedicated to the original missionaries who came to Hawaii in the early 1800's.
Almost as historic as the church are some of the trees on the grounds.
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Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.