Mokuaikaua Church

Mokuʻaikaua Church is the oldest Christian church in the Hawaiian Islands. Its address is 75-5713 Aliʻi Drive in Kailua-Kona, coordinates 19°38′22.56″N 155°59′37.92″W / 19.6396°N 155.9938667°W / 19.6396; -155.9938667.


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 to 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. 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, probably after the upland forest area where the wood was obtained.

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. The interior is decorated with Koa wood.

  • The steeple has long been a landmark, c. 1883

  • The gate of the church built about 1900

  • The gate of the church today


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. The current pastor is Kahu Derek Napoleon. The state historic place register lists it as site 10-28-7231 as of January 1978. On October 3, 1978 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places listings on the island of Hawaii‎ as site number 78001015.

Building Activity

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