Hana was one of the earliest Polynesian settlements in the Hawaiian Islands dating back to approximately 700 AD. Hana is steeped in rich history and has always been famed for its natural beauty, fertile soils, and strong mana (spirituality). Hana was once home to the ali’i, or chiefs of Hawai’i, and is famous as the birthplace of Ka’ahumanu, the premiere wife of King Kamehameha the Great who united all the Hawaiian Islands under one ruler.
Like so many rural Hawaiian areas, after Western contact the Hana coast was cultivated with sugar from the 1840’s to about 1945. In 1927 the famed “Road to Hana” was built which opened up Hana to the outside world. The road runs from Pa’ia town through Hana, a distance of about 40 miles. In 1930, Paul Fagan, a San Francisco financier, bought the Hana sugar lands and in 1945 converted them to pasture lands for what is now called the Hana Ranch. These pristine pasture lands still surround the town of Hana and vicinity. Though the road has been paved and improved, there are still 54 bridges to cross to reach one of the last unspoiled areas of Hawai’i. Hana today remains a magical place, with pristine rainforests, endless tropical flowers and vast meadows tumbling down to the majestic Pacific Ocean. Hana is one of the last remaining native Hawaiian communities and the “locals” still radiate the graciousness and aloha of the Hawaiian people. Time goes slower here; there is no stoplight, no pollution and no rush hour. At night the only sounds you will hear will be the lull of the waves crashing on the shore and the gentle Malanai breeze blowing through the palm trees.
It won’t take you long to navigate about Hana Town! Located just three miles from our property, Hana town consists of a bank, post office, several small gift shops, a gas station, a flower shop, a real estate office and two small grocery stores: the Hana Ranch Store and the famous Hasegawa General Store.
Also in Hana, you will find the Wananalua Congregational Church. Organized in 1837, Wananalua is one of the oldest missionary churches in the Hawaiian Islands. Wananalua was constructed by hand out of lava rock over a 20-year period. It is truly the historical monument of Hana.
You may also wish to visit the Hana Cultural Center & Museum, “Hale Waiwai o Hana”, located on Ke’anini Street. Hana’s museum is home to a small display of ancient Hawaiian artifacts, shells, and a collection of Chinese and Japanese antique bottles. It also houses a beautiful example of the traditional Hawaiian quilt and a photographic genealogy of the town. Next door to the Museum & Cultural Center is Hana’s original jail and courthouse built in 1871 and refurbished in 1989 to look much like it did in the 19th century. It is still used monthly for county court sessions. Also located on the grounds are examples of traditional Hawaiian grass hale (houses), including a meeting house, a sleeping house, a cooking house, and a canoe house. Open daily and admission is free; however, a donation is suggested.
Walk or drive up to the Fagan’s Cross Memorial. Erected in honor of Paul Fagan, this hillside lookout gives you a wonderful bird’s eye view of picturesque Hana Town and Hana Bay (Kapueokahi) lying below.