Waioli Huiia Church is a landmark church built in 1912 in Hanalei, Kauai. The church, with American Gothic architecture, stained glass windows and green paint to match the mountains, is a perfect complement to the quaint town and tropical location. It is one of Hanalei’s most cherished, and most photographed, attractions.
The church you see today is part of a larger historical record dating back to 1834 when a pole and thatch meeting house was constructed by Hawaiians to welcome the first American missionaries. The location has a continuous record of service since that time, first as a Congregational Church, and since 1957, as a United Church of Christ.
Next door to the church is Mission Hall, constructed in 1841. Mission Hall is the oldest surviving church building on Kauai. The Mission Bell, brought from Boston, was added to Mission Hall in 1843. (This bell was placed in the bell tower of the new church in 1912.) Mission Hall served as a place of worship for Kauai’s North Shore community throughout the 1800s.
Also on the property, hidden behind a grove of trees, is the Mission House. The house was built by the first permanent pastor Reverend William Alexander who arrived in 1834 along with his wife Mary Ann McKinney Alexander. Construction on the two-story, wood-framed house began in 1835. Mr. Alexander built the chimney to the Mission House with his own hands, which was completed in 1837. Missionaries Abner and Lucy Wilcox arrived in 1846, working for 20 years at the adjacent Wai’oli Mission School. (The present Wai’oli Church building was built from donations by the three sons of Abner Wilcox – Albert, George and Sam.) Today the house is a museum (Wai’oli Mission House Museum) that provides a fascinating look back into the times of the early missionaries. Tours are available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays 9AM to 3PM. The house is best reached from Old School House Road next to the Hanalei Elementary School.
The church has survived numerous hurricanes, including Hurricane Dot, Hurricane Iwa and Hurricane Iniki (in 1992). The church and mission hall were restored after sustaining significant damage from Hurricane Iniki.
Church services are still held at 10:00 AM each Sunday. The services feature the Wai’oli Church Choir, known for its repertoire of early Hawaiian hymns. The church is a popular venue for weddings and marriage renewals. Often referred to as the Green Church in Hanalei, you can’t miss it after you drive past the main shopping area on the main road (Kuhio Hwy) in Hanalei.
The doors to the church are often open. If they are open you can take a peek inside, unless of course, there is a church service or other event.
Waioli Huiia Church
5-5363A Kuhio Hwy.
Hanalei, HI 96714
Phone: (808) 826-6253
On the Web: https://www.waiolihuiiachurch.org/
Location at Google Maps
Waioli Huiia Church Photos
Above: Mission Hall