Often referred to as 'the Westminster Abbey of the Pacific,' this historic stone church was the first of its kind to be built on the island of Oahu. Prior to its construction in 1843, Christian missionaries held weekly sermons in small, pili grass huts, but the Hawaiian royalty rapidly embraced Christianity and a long lineage of Hawaiian royalty has worshipped here at the church. Not only is King Kamehameha II buried on the grounds, but this is where Kamehameha III uttered the phrase that would eventually become the state motto: "Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono"—"the life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness."
When it was completed, Kawaiahao Church was unlike any structure that had previously been built on Oahu. Over 14,000 coral blocks were carved from offshore reefs, and it's estimated that over 1,000 workers took nearly six years to completely finish the church. Today, the structure is an architectural highlight of Honolulu’s historic quarter, where visitors can also find 'Iolani Palace and the King Kamehameha statue, in addition to the current state capital.