Located in East Honolulu, Hawaii Kai is a largely residential area that was mostly developed by Henry J. Kaiser. The largest of several communities at the eastern end of the island, the community is situated around the ancient Maunalua fishpond and wetlands area known as Kuapa, or “fishpond wall”. Today, the community is home to numerous shops, restaurants, water sports activities and other amenities for residents to enjoy.
The History of Hawaii Kai
The history of Hawaii Kai dates back to 1959, at which time the land on which the community rests was dredged from a pond. This not only transformed the shallow coastal inlet and wetlands into a marine embayment, but it also resulted in the filling and clearing of the pond margins. Two years later, the process of transforming the 521 acres into residential tracts began. The plan was to feature a marina and channels separated by fingers of land and islands, on which house lots and commercial properties could be developed. Today, Hawaii Kai is home to over 30,000 people with nearly all of the low-lying land surrounding the marina having been developed.
Features and Amenities
Located just 12 miles east of the Central Business District of Honolulu, residents of Hawaii Kai do not have to travel far in order to enjoy all that the area has to offer. At the same time, there are plenty of amenities and features within the planned community, making it unnecessary to leave the community in order to enjoy most amenities and every day services that a resident might need.
Within the Kalama Valley community of Hawaii Kai, residents can access a shopping center as well as a public park with basketball facilities. A number of attractions are also located nearby, including Sandy Beach, Hawaii Kai Golf Course, Koko Crater Botanical Garden, Hanauma Bay and the Makapuu Lighthouse and Beach. With a simple trek up to Makapuu lighthouse, residents are gifted with beautiful overlooks of Makapuu Beach and Sea Life Park. This location also serves as a great vantage point for whale watching in the winter.
Kamehame Ridge is another community located within Hawaii Kai. Situated in the middle of Kalama and Kamilo Iki Valley, Kamehame Ridge was developed during the 1990s. Boating multi-million dollar homes, the community is most famous for its “Dead Man’s Catwalk” hike to the top of the Kooalau Mountains. The hike offers stunning views of the windward coast and takes about 45 minutes to complete.
Hawaii Kai is served by the Hawaii Department of Education Kaiser Complex. Schools located within the community include Henry J. Kaiser High, Hahaione Elementary, Kamiloiki Elementary and Koko Head Elementary schools. All three of the elementary schools feed into Niu Valley Middle School even though the school itself is not located in Hawaii Kai. Henry J. Kaiser High School is located on an open-air campus built on a series of his and featuring six multi-story classroom buildings. The campus also features a gymnasium, a cafeteria, a library, an office, a track, a football/soccer field, a baseball/softball field, a swimming pool, and tennis courts.