On February 5th 1868 a large earthquake struck Hawaiʻi Island and sent the sea rushing over the fishing village of Miloliʻi. The Hauʻoli Kamanaʻo Church survived, and is forever immortalized in the mele Lā ʻElima written by Aunty Elizabeth Kuahuia. Come hear its story…

That was how the day went on Saturday, February 8th, 2014 as the Miloliʻi community gathered to celebrate La Elima, a special day in the history of this treasured Hawaiian fishing village and the Hauoli Kamana’o Chuch. As Uncle Walter Kahiwa, Jr. tells the story, Lā ʻElima marks a day on February 5th, long ago in 1868, when a large earthquake struck Hawaiʻi Island and sent the ocean rushing over many seaside villages along the South Kona coast.

The Hauʻoli Kamana’o Church – one of 20 Hawaiian churches built by John Paris – was pushed about 300 yards inland by the rushing sea. The original location of the church is now underwater. Villagers later moved the church to its present day site using palm trunks to roll it into place. Although other areas were destroyed, somehow Milolii was spared the misery experienced elsewhere. The kupuna from other South Kona communities joined the village in thanksgiving, which lasted several days. The story of that day has become immortalized in the mele Lā ʻElima, sung by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole and others but composed by Miloliiʻs Elizabeth Kuahuia.

It was a great day of food,  fellowship and the blessing of Miloliiʻs Waʻa Kaukahi and keiki project presentations by Miloliʻi Opelu Project and OHA Native Hawaiian Culture Grant.

The Big Island Video News produced a video story of the event. Check it out here.


Download a copy of the program here.