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Kailua Kona, Hawaii’s Christian History

Plymouth Rock of Hawaii
Hawai’i’s Plymouth Rock

The first team of missionaries to arrive in the islands sailed from Boston in a small brig called the Thaddeus. 14 New Englanders (seven couples) and four Hawaiians arrived in Hawai’i after 164 days. While at sea, King Kamehameha the Great died, his son Liholiho became ruler, and the ancient kapu system was abolished, with no belief system to take its place.

This historic marker was designed for the local churches to commemorate the 195th anniversary of the fulfillment of the prophecy by Kahuna Nui Hewahewa: that a new God would come and set foot on a rock at Kailua bay.

Hawaii’s churches gathered to re-enact the history of the good news coming to Hawai’i

High Priest Hewahewa himself burned his own temple in faith of what was coming. The missionaries, came ashore with the Bible, first translated by Henry Opukahaia, as they stepped on the very same rock at Kailua pier, changing Hawaii forever. With the prophecy complete, many of the Ali’i royalty of Hawaii became Christians and avid readers of scripture.

Kahu (Pastors) bless the Historical Marker at the Kailua pier.

Many of Hawaii’s churches and ministries have given generously to erect the Kailua Village historical marker that tells the story of “Hawaii’s Plymouth Rock.”

We gratefully honor: Frank & Rosemary Miller, Calvary Church, Legacy Church, Living Stones, Kona Coast Chaplaincy, Central Kona Union Church, Holualoa Chapel, Samoan Church of Hawaii LMS, Helani Church, St. Michael the Archangel Parish, Haili Congregational Church, Kuhio Chapel, Waipahu United Church of Christ, Gospel of Salvation Church, Kahikiola Congregational Church, Kona Church of God, Family Foundations International, Corinth Reformed Church,  Rev. Abraham Akaka Ministries Foundation and the University of the Nations for their generosity.

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The first Christian church established in the Hawaiian Islands lives on to this day in an active and caring fellowship called Mokuaikaua Church.

THE NAME: There have been literal interpretations offered covering the name of Mokuaikaua. One is “The Trees Are Cut, Let Us Eat.” Another, “The Land the devours warfare.” The only acceptable origin of the name Mokuaikaua is from to the place where the timber material was obtained. It was part of the crown properties known as Mokuaikaua, and located on the western slopes of Hualalai volcano.

THE ARCHWAY: In 1910, the Evangelical Association of the territory of Hawaii met in Kailua to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the coming fo the first american congregational missionaries to Hawaii in 1820. In honor of this occasion, Mokuaikaua Church was repaired and a stone arch was built to commemorate the anniversary.

THE SANCTUARY: Two other structures were built prior to the present church. The first was built as the King’s home prior to 1820, and the second was built as a church in 1825. The present structure was started in 1835 and dedicated in early 1837.

Find out about preserving Mokuaikaua Church

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