Best Things to Do in Maui: Visit the Ke‘anae Congregational Church

Visit the Ke‘anae Congregational Church

Visit the Ke‘anae Congregational Church

"Lanakila Ihiihi O Iehova Ona Kaua"

During the tsunami of April 1, 1946 enormous tidal surges and waves pounded several coastal villages. Two elders in Ke'anae were lost, many more were lost on the Big island, and numerous buildings were destroyed or damages when waves as high as three-story buildings crashed into the north shores of Hawaii without warning.

Triggered by an 8.6 magnitude earthquake in Alaska, the waves hit Maui hard on the Ke’anae Peninsula, topping 45 feet as they hit the shoreline. Following this tragedy, the headquarters of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center was established on Oahu's Ewa Beach. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center or PTWC is the operational center of the Pacific Ocean, issuing bulletins and warnings online and via Twitter to participating members and other nations in the Pacific.

The only building left standing after the tsunami was the old stone church in Ke’anae, originally called "Lanakila Ihiihi O Iehova O na Kaua" (Sacredness, Success of Jehova, the Son of God) in Hawaiian. Now called the Ke‘anae Congregational Church, the historic building was built by hand in 1860, with local volcanic rock, and mortar made from melted coral. The “imu” or underground oven used to melt the coral can still be seen on one side of the church.  Surrounded by ocean, lauhala trees, flowers and coconut palms, this is an ideal spot to stop for picture-taking or just to relax and stretch your legs. The famous Aunt Sandy’s snack shack is nearby for refreshments (people say they have the best banana bread on the islands). The church recently suffered storm damage to the roof, and there is a fundraising drive underway to support repairs, but the church grounds are still open year-round. Visitors are welcome for peace, reflection and thoughtful prayer