Tuesday | December 06, 2016
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Kahaluu was once a bustling community

Kahaluu historic district

The area around Kahaluu Beach Park was once the site of a busy Hawaiian agricultural and fishing community that thrived until the early 1800s. Kahaluu was a favorite residence for many alii families who enjoyed Kona’s calm weather and good swimming and surfing at this location. The remains of many heiau indicate the presence of an active priesthood, so necessary to ensure the power and prosperity of the ruling class. A stroll along the shore will reveal stone fishing shrines, heiau and house platforms, some intact and others in ruins.

An obvious feature of Kahaluu is the manmade breakwater, named Pa o ka Menehune, which extends partly into the bay. Legend says this stone wall was built by menehune, the residents of ancient Hawaii who were famous for their overnight feats of architectural engineering. The kahuna at Kuemanu Heiau, afraid of losing the good surfing there if the wall was completed, imitated a rooster and crowed during the night. Fooled into believing the dawn was near, the menehune workers left their project incomplete. Now broken up by storms, the remaining stones still protect the waters of Kahaluu and shelter the many colorful reef fish living there.

The best way to see Kahaluu is to park at Kahaluu Beach Park and hike south along the coastline. The grounds of the former Outrigger Keauhou Beach Hotel were designed with historic sites featured as points of interest. Sites include a reconstruction of King Kalakaua’s beach house, as well as Poo Hawaii Pond, Happaialii Heiau and Kapuanoni Heiau. The hotel closed Oct. 31 and is scheduled to be demolished in the future.

Copyright 1998 Kona Historical Society. Reprinted by permission.