Mokuaikaua Church

Mokuaikaua Church, located on the "Big Island" of Hawaii, is the oldest Christian church in the Hawaiian Islands. The congregation dates to 1820 and the building was completed in 1837.[1]

Mokuaikaua Church
Mokuaikaua Church Kona.jpg
Location75-5713 Alii Drive
Kailua-Kona, Hawaiʻi
CountryUnited States
Founded1820 (congregation)
Functional statusActive
Years built1835–1837
MaterialsStone, limestone, ʻōhiʻa[1]
Pastor(s)David de Carvalho
Mokuaikaua Church
Mokuaikaua Church is located in Hawaii
Mokuaikaua Church
Coordinates19°38′22.56″N 155°59′37.92″W / 19.6396000°N 155.9938667°W / 19.6396000; -155.9938667Coordinates: 19°38′22.56″N 155°59′37.92″W / 19.6396000°N 155.9938667°W / 19.6396000; -155.9938667
Area1 acre (0.40 ha)
NRHP reference #78001015[2]
Added to NRHPOctober 3, 1978


The congregation was first founded in 1820 by Asa and Lucy Goodale Thurston, from the first ship of American Christian Missionaries, the brig Thaddeus. They were given permission to teach Christianity by King Kamehameha II, and the Queen Regent Kaʻahumanu. After the royal court relocated to Honolulu, they briefly moved there. In October 1823, they learned that the people of Kailua-Kona had developed an interest in the new ways and had erected a small wooden church.[3] The first structure on the site was made from Ohiʻa wood and a thatched roof, on land obtained from Royal Governor Kuakini across the street from his Huliheʻe Palace. The name moku ʻaikaua literally means "district acquired by war" in the Hawaiian language,[4] probably after the upland forest area where the wood was obtained.[5]

After several fires, the present stone structure was constructed, partially from stones recycled from a nearby Heiau (ancient temple of the Hawaiian religion), from about 1835 to 1837.[6] The interior is decorated with Koa wood.


The church continues to be in use and is open to the public for tours, with some artifacts on display, such as a scale model of the Thaddeus. The other notable members of that first company were Rev. and Mrs. Hiram Bingham I.[7] The state historic place register lists it as site 10-28-7231 as of January 1978.[8] On October 3, 1978, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places listings on the island of Hawaii as site number 78001015.[2][1]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Preserve Hawaii's Heritage".
  2. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  3. ^ Boone Morrison (August 11, 1992). "Mokuaikaua Church Nomination form". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. Retrieved 2009-07-26.
  4. ^ Mary Kawena Pukui, Samuel Hoyt Elbert and Esther T. Mookini (2004). "lookup of Mokuʻaikaua ". in Place Names of Hawai'i. Ulukau, the Hawaiian Electronic Library, University of Hawaii Press. Retrieved September 28, 2010.
  5. ^ Lloyd J. Soehren (2010). "lookup of Mokuʻaikaua ". in Hawaiian Place Names. Ulukau, the Hawaiian Electronic Library. Retrieved September 28, 2010.
  6. ^ Lucy Goodale Thurston (1872). Life and Times of Mrs. Lucy G. Thurston: Wife of Rev. Asa Thurston, Pioneer Missionary to the Sandwich Islands. reprinted by Kessinger Publishing, LLC, 2007. ISBN 978-1-4325-4547-5.
  7. ^ "Official Mokuaikaua Congregational Church web site". Retrieved 2009-07-26.
  8. ^ Historic Places in Hawaii County Archived 2009-05-27 at WebCite on official state web site

External linksEdit