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“Nice Looking Church”
Review of Kawaiahao Church

Kawaiahao Church
Ranked #126 of 503 things to do in Oahu
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Owner description: The oldest church in Honolulu served as the royal chapel for 20 years.
Reviewed 21 October 2017

Built in 1842 it is a historic building with a significant number of missionary graves located in the garden at the rear of the building. Fortunately there was a sign at the main entrance suggesting to use the side entrance otherwise we may have disrupted the wedding that was underway inside.

Date of experience: October 2017
Thank Llewellyn53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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7 - 11 of 68 reviews

Reviewed 20 September 2017

I really enjoy visiting old churches. This particular church building, though not very large, is one of those old and remarkable churches. We were just able to peak through the side door to view the interior because there were wedding preparations going on.. I can only imagine the awesomeness of worshiping God in an environment like this.

Date of experience: June 2017
Thank DWbiker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 August 2017

One day after a long time walking in downtown ,I stopped in this church . Somebody was playing organ ,was very beautiful and relaxing . Atmosphere was very spritual . There was a fountain in the yard and a tomb that a very popular Hawaiian king had buried there . He didn't liked to be buried in king cemetery , liked to be between his people .

Date of experience: August 2017
Thank kokab u
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 July 2017 via mobile

Kawaiaha'o church was built in 1842 and in the design of New England. Also known is that on this same site missionaries used to preach from thatched huts before the church was built. Services here on Sunday are conducted in both English and Hawaiian.

Date of experience: July 2017
Thank rayrest
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 6 June 2017

If you are interested in History of Hawaii and particular Christian History of Hawaii this church is a must visit. The church represents the transition of Hawaii from the ancient Hawaiian traditions to the western "new Hawaii". Many of the Alii (the Kings and Queens) of Hawaii were members of the church. Many noteable political events also held thus the church is known as "the Westminster Abbey" of Hawaii. The church is the original site of Christianity on O'ahu and the 2nd in Hawaii. The church grounds were given to the mission by Queen Kaahumanu and King Kauikeauouli (Kamehameha III). The church grounds and the Mission Houses were once all one property. The mission was established in 1820. The Church became a parish church in 1842. The name of the church is for the place that was already famous. The grounds had a spring that was frequented by an ancient Hawaii chiefess named Ha'o. Thus the waters of Ha'o "Kawaiaha'o". In Hawaiian tradition the place was already sacred, and therefore the church was built in the sacred place. The spring still exists and is represented by the fountain on the grounds and the water in the fountain comes from that spring as are several of the stones in the fountain. The church is made of 1 ton coral blocks, 14,000 of them. The corner stone laid in 1839. The clock tower was dedicated to King Kamehameha III, and the clock in the church was given by King Kamehameha III. The marble baptismal font was given by Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop and her husband. The construction and design of the church was designed by the first pastor, and one of the original missionaries, Hiram Bingham. He based his design on the Congregational / Calvanist type churches you find in New England. The spoken word of God is what is important in this tradition, thus the large and prominent raised "dias" and the clear glass windows to see god's creation. You will also find the Alii Pews in the church and the feather standards "Kahili" in the pews and on the dias. The Alii Pews were where the Alii sat when in worship. When the church was renovated in the 1930 they were moved to their present location. The 2nd floor has portraits of all of the Alii of Hawaii. The pews are made of redwood so as not to be eaten by termites. Queen Liliuokalani was an organist and choir director of the church. Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop was in the Choir. Queen Emma and King Alexander Iolani King Kamehameha IV were married in the church. The church, 8 times a year celebrates Alii Sundays where the Alii who were important leaders in faith are remembered in service and the Hawaiian societies and civic clubs come to worship. The church has two grave yards. The fenced graveyard located immediately behind the church between the church and the mission house is the mission graveyard. Most of the early missionaries are buried here and other noteable and infamous missionary tied families. For example Lorin Andrews who founded Lahainaluna High School the oldest school west of the Rockies, The Cooke's of the Chief's Children's School, the Rice's, the Atherton's, the Binghams, etc. Also buried here is Sandford Dole who was part of the group that overthrew the Hawaiian kingdom and became the Republic of Hawaii's first "president". The 2nd graveyard makai of the church is where common folk were buried and one noteable grave is that of Henry Berger the German Bandmaster of the Royal Hawaiian Band. Also on the grounds is the tomb of King William Lunalilo Hawaii's first elected King. He was only King for one year. The church has seating for 1500 and is one of the largest sanctuaries in the state of Hawaii. It has regular Sunday worship and will be celebrating it's 200 year soon. The church also has many fine instruments including two organs one a pipe organ and was the last Aoliean Skinner Organ ever installed in the organ loft. A 2nd newer electronic organ is down near the dias. Both organs are played regularly. There are also two pianos. The acoustics of the church make it one of the finest places for choral music and concerts are held regularly. The church choir is has a long and venerated history and traveled frequently in the 40 - 80's. The choir regularly performs many of the old Hawaiian anthems. Worship on Sundays has both Hawaiian and English language components. The church is a Congregational Church and is part of the United Church of Christ and is also part of the Association of Hawaiian Evangelical Churches (which is part of UCC).

Date of experience: June 2017
1  Thank Mkaai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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