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History of Kaka’ako

Industry, entrepreneurship and cultural diversity form the cultural roots of Kaka‘ako. At its inception, Kaka‘ako was comprised of fishing villages, fishponds and salt ponds. To Native Hawaiians, salt was valued like gold and Kaka‘ako’s salt ponds were of major importance to the area.

In the 19th century, residential construction began and diverse immigrant “camps” grew. Kaka‘ako’s industrial roots began here with the establishment of the Honolulu Iron Works, a metal foundry and machine shop. Stores, churches, schools and parks were developed. Kaka‘ako became a community built on a blue-collar work ethic, social activism and a strong sense of family. It became one of the best-defined communities on the island.

Zoning for Kaka‘ako changed from residential to commercial in the mid 20th century. Small businesses and entrepreneurship grew as wholesaling, warehousing and other industrial businesses displaced residential areas, leading to today’s urban Kaka‘ako.

Today’s Kaka‘ako continues to grow and evolve. Our building plays a special role in helping establish the new look and feel of the dynamic new neighborhood being created in the enterprise zone. That is a responsibility we take seriously— and one in which we have invested seriously— because of our belief in the project and the important future Kaka‘ako has to play in the role of Honolulu and Hawaii.

As we look to that future, to the business and cultural activity that will ensure its success, we remain aware of the roots of Kaka‘ako, where a native Hawaiian community once teemed, agricultural terraces flourished, and Hawaiian royalty lived and called home. Indeed, the revival of Kaka‘ako has been powerfully driven by Kamehameha Schools, and it is significant that the Schools were founded through the will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop— the last direct descendant of King Kamehameha.

To honor the past while we move forward is a noble aspiration. To that goal, we remain committed, and we believe that the new 677 AlaMoana stands as testimony to that.