Editor’s note: West Hawaii Today, in conjunction with Kona Historical Society, is pleased to present readers a weekly feature called “Historic Kailua Village.” The articles and accompanying photographs have been compiled by the society and were published in a booklet entitled “Kona Historical Society’s Historic Kailua Village Map.”
Under Kailua Pier is the rock outcropping dubbed the “Plymouth Rock of Hawaii.” This is the site where Christian missionaries first landed in Hawaii on April 4, 1820. The pier also covers a turtle-shaped rock that may have inspired the name given to this area, Kamakahonu (the turtle eye).
The pier has gone through several “improvements” over the years. It sat on pilings until the 1950s. When it was renovated back then, trees were added for beautification and shading.
In 1959 the pier became the focal point for the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament, known around the world as the “grandfather of all big game fishing tournaments.”
In 1981 the pier area became the site of the Ironman World Triathlon Championship’s start and finish. Each October more than 1,700 triathletes from around the world travel to Kona to cross the finish line after swimming 2.4 miles, bicycling 112 miles, and running 26.2 miles.