Kawaiahao Church | Go Hawaii

Kawaiahaʻo Church, Oʻahu

What: First Christian Church built on Oʻahu in 1842
Where: Downtown Honolulu near ʻIolani Palace

Known as the "Westminster Abbey of the Pacific," Kawaiahaʻo Church was the first Christian Church built on Oʻahu. Dedicated on July 21, 1842, “The Great Stone Church” is made of 14,000 coral slabs from ocean reefs that were hauled from the sea by native laborers and missionaries. The church and the grounds were named a National Historic Landmark in 1962.

As you stroll the streets of Downtown Honolulu, you may hear the sound of bells from the tower clock. "Kauikeaouli clock," donated by King Kamehameha III in 1850, still tolls the hours to this day. To the right of the entrance you’ll find the peaceful tomb of King Lunalilo. This popular King ruled for just a little over one year and he wished to be buried “among his people” at Kawaiahaʻo Church rather than in the Royal Mausoleum. To the left of the church you’ll also find the Kawaiahaʻo Fountain. The High Chiefess Haʻo bathed in this sacred spring, giving the church its name: Ka Wai a Haʻo, or the water of Haʻo.

Kawaiahaʻo Church still serves as a center of worship for Hawaiʻi’s people, with services conducted every Sunday in Hawaiian and English. Portraits of the royal family adorn the walls of the second floor. In this historic section of Honolulu you’ll also find the ʻIolani Palace, the King Kamehameha I Statue, the Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives and the State Capitol nearby.