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Photo Courtesy of: Friends of Moku'ula

Friends Of Moku'ula
505 Front St
Lahaina, HI 96761

[email protected]

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Lying dormant under a baseball field and parking lot in the historic town of Lahaina on the island of Maui is a special place revered since ancient times. It resides in the crown lands of Ahupua‘a Waine‘e, which follows a freshwater source from the misty slopes of Mauna Kahalawai along the greenbelt of Kaua‘ula Valley to Waiola Church and Cemetery on Waine‘e Street, into 14 acres of now-filled wetlands, flowing out to the ocean at Kamehameha Iki Park on Front Street.

The freshwater pond known as Mokuhinia contained a one-acre sandbar island called Moku‘ula, which was home to the high chiefs of Pi‘ilani since the 16th century and a royal residence for the Kamehameha line in the 19th century. It was guarded by mo‘o goddess, Kihawahine. Kauikeaouli (Kamehameha III) ruled Hawai‘i from Moku‘ula between 1830 and 1845 when Lahaina served as the kingdom’s capital.

After the capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom moved to Honolulu in 1845, sugar plantations sprouted around Lahaina and diverted water from the underground stream on the mountainside into their fields. The freshwater ponds shrank into marsh and became stagnant around Moku‘ula. In 1862, a chant entitled E Ho‘i Ka Nani I Moku‘ula (Let the Glory Return to Moku‘ula) was composed to lament Lahaina’s loss of the royal residence at Moku‘ula Island.

In the early decades of the 20th century, Mokuhinia was filled with coral rubble dredged from the Lahaina roadstead, and by 1918 the acreage was turned over to the County of Maui for use as Malu‘uluolele Park. For nearly 80 years, the beauty of Moku‘ula and Mokuhinia was forgotten.

Today, the Friends of Moku‘ula are dedicated to breathing new life into this sacred site. In a multi-phased project, the nonprofit organization is committed to restoring the royal complex at Moku‘ula and working with governmental entities to revive the pond of Mokuhinia.


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