Speaking at Mokuaikaua Church – Kailua-Kona


The basalt stone arch entrance to the Mokuaikaua church is dedicated to Henry Opukaha‘ia and was completed in 1910, the year marking the formation of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, the Congregational Church organization that sent out the Sandwich Islands Mission to Hawai‘i in 1819. A bronze plaque marking the dedication is visible at the top left side of the archway.

Pastor David de Carvalho of the historic Mokuaikaua Church on the waterfont in Kailua-Kona on Hawai‘i Island has graciously asked me to speak about Opukaha‘ia in relation to the landmark “First Christian Church” in Hawai‘i. I will be speaking at the Sunday, April 17 worship services set for 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Church historian Yolanda Olson is assisting me with research for the talk. Yolanda provides free tours of the Mokuaikaua Church at 12:15 p.m. on Sundays. I will be signing books following the services. My book is also available online at amazon.com

Opukaha‘ia – the Musical Drama

Henry-Opukahaia-Poster3-663x1024Renowned Hawaiian Christian musician, composer and singer Randy Hongo’s“Glory in His Soul: A Musical Drama about the life of Henry Opukaha‘ia” is being performed at Kalihi Union Church in Honolulu. The performances are set for the Sunday worship services on April 17 at 7:15 and 10:45 a.m., and on Saturday, April 23 and Sunday, April 24, both evenings at 6:00 p.m. I will be in Honolulu to sign copies of my book The Providential Life & Heritage of Henry Obookiah at the April 23-24 performances. Proceeds from 20 books will go to the music foundation started by Randy and his wife Gay. Opukaha‘ia’s ohana from Hilo will be at the performance too. Copies of my book are also available at the Mission House Museum gift shop, at Native Books, and at the Logos Christian bookstore in Honolulu, plus online at amazon.co


Hana Hou Tour


Deborah Li‘ikapeka Lee of Hilo (right) holds a maile lei sent especially over from Kaua‘i to be placed at the ‘Opukaha‘ia Memorial Chapel at Punalu‘u Beach on Monday, February 15. She is accompanied by her cousin Cynthia Lehua Nani Ho‘omanawanui-Akimseu, also of Hilo. Deborah and Cynthia are both lineal descendants of ‘Opukaha‘ia. They took part in the Hana Hou Christian Heritage Tour. In 1993 Deborah fulfilled her vision of returning the remains of ‘Opukaha‘ia from his grave site in Cornwall, Connecticut back to his home island. Photo by Chris Cook

I served as an interpretive guide on Dave and Cheryl Buehling’s first Hana Hou Christian Heritage Tour held on the Island of Hawai‘i Saturday, February 13 through Tuesday, February 16. The tour focused on the Hawai‘i side of the life of ‘Opukaha‘ia. A group of 24 visitors from the Mainland flew into Kailua-Kona to join the tour. Local participants also joined the tour. Stops spread across four days included the Kahikolu Church overlooking Kealakekua Bay, the Hikiau Heiau and the supposed site of ‘Opukaha‘ia’s altar located alongside the heiau, the ‘Opukaha‘ia chapel overlooking Punalu‘u Beach in Ka‘u (nearby Henry’s home village of Ninole), Volcano National Park where Mary Boyd told the story of Kapiolani defying the volcano goddess Pele, and a final day at the historic Haili Church in Hilo, a church which once counted a congregation of over 12,000 Native Hawaiians during Hawai‘i’s Great Awakening in the late 1830s and early 1840s.


The Hana Hou Christian Heritage Tour led by Dave and Cheryl Buehling gathered at the ‘Opukaha‘ia Memorial Chapel at Punalu‘u Beach on Monday, February 15. Tour member traveled to Hawai‘i Island from across the Mainland and were joined by local residents. (Dave Buehling photo)

For more information go to the Ka‘u Calendar News Briefs.

Hana Hou Tour coming to Big Island

I am joining Dave Buehring’s Hana Hou Christian Heritage Tour on the Big Island from Saturday, February 13-16, 2016. I will be an interpretive guide for the visitors from the Mainland coming to Hawai‘i to visit key sites in the life of Opukaha‘ia. Opukaha‘ia’s descendant Deborah Lee, who led in the return of Henry’s remains in 1993, will also being serving as interpretive guide on the tour.

Local residents are invited to join the tour. Go to www.hanahou.info for more information. Those accompanying the tour are asked to share in covering the costs for the joint meals being provided.

The tour schedule includes a visit to Hikiau Heiau on the shore of Kealakekua Bay and Henry’s grave site at the Kahikolu (Trinity) Church on Saturday, February 13.

Plymouth Rock of Hawaii thumbnailOn Sunday, February 14 the tour moves to the Mokuaikaua Church, home of Hawai‘i’s oldest existing Protestant church, and a look at the Plymouth Rock of Hawai‘i sign at the Kona Pier. I helped write the text of the new sign, posted to mark the 195th anniversary of the Mokuaikaua Church. Will be interesting to see the historic signage in person.

On Monday, February 15 we head to Punalu‘u Beach in Ka‘u to visit the chapel dedicated to Henry. His birthplace and childhood home were at Ninole, the land section on the south end of Punalu‘u Beach. Then the tour bus will travel north to Volcano National Park to revisit the site of early Native Hawaiian Christian and alibi Kapiolani’s defiance of the goddess Pele in the  1820s.

Tuesday, February 16 the tour ends at Haili Church in downtown Hilo. Here I will join Deborah Lee at her family’s home church when we join a panel discussion on the impact of the American Protestant Mission in Hawai‘i. The roots of the Haili Church go back to Hawai‘i’s Great Awakening in the late 1830s. The Rev. Titus Coan from Connecticut led the Sandwich Islands Mission station in those days. Native Hawaiian became Christians by the hundreds and thousands in the late 1830s, and the Hilo congregation grew to about 12,000; the church was declared to have the largest congregation in the entire Protestant world.