Waikīkī Historic Trail Retraces the Spirit of the Past
Waikiki had a previous life, long before the first tourist arrived or the first hotel was built.
Rekindling a love for Waikiki's past has been the passion of author/historian Dr. George Kanahele. To help tell this “untold story,” Kanahele designed the Waikiki Historic Trail, a walking tour that traces the history and cultural legacy of this area where chiefs and commoners once lived.
Surfboards mark the spot
Bronze cast trail markers in the shape of surfboards will describe a Waikiki that few knew existed. Once part swamp, part playground for Hawaiian royalty, Waikiki was for centuries a center of Hawaiian hospitality and seat of Oahu’s government.
Five markers have been installed so far: one along the Ala Wai Canal at the new Hawai’i Convention Center, two at Kuhio Beach where the trail begins, one at Hilton Hawaiian Village, and one in the heart of Waikiki at the site of the recently dedicated Princess Kaiulani statue.
Other stops along the two-mile route include Queen Liliuokalani’s residence, King Lunalilo’s residence, Kapaemahu Healer’s Stones (or Wizard Stones), Kawehewehe’s Healing Waters, and ancient fish and duck ponds.
Some sites are "markers" themselves--such as the Moana Surfrider and Royal Hawaiian Hotels and the bronze statue of Duke Kahanamoku at Kuhio Beach Park.
Kanahele, who works with the visitor industry creating Hawaiian awareness and aloha in the workplace, has trained Waikiki workers as docents.
The trail is a joint project between the city and the private sector. It is seen as a way to enhance awareness of Waikiki both as a sacred place to Hawaiians and a huge part of Hawaii’s history.
Let's take a walk along the Waikiki Historic Trail.