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Kawaiahao Church Cemetery

An old tombstone still stands tall in Kawaiahao Cemetery
Photo courtesy of Cemetery Travel

The Kawaiahao Church cemetery holds many mysteries to who is buried in its grounds. There are only about 296 visible tombstones, but some of the plots are home to more than one person. Archivists estimated there are over 200 unmarked burial sites in the cemetery. They are constantly working to identify those buried from old records.

Hawaiians were buried on the island but not in traditional cemeteries like the Westerners. When the missionaries arrived in 1820, they introduced the concept of a graveyard associated with the church and tombstones. Many of the early Hawaiian families could not afford a tombstone or plate names. The cemeteries oldest burial in their records is dated 1834 and displays no last name.

Some of Hawaii’s great monarchs, chiefs, and their families had lay in state in the great Kawaiahao Church which is sometimes nicknamed Hawaii’s “Westminster Abbey.” It was constructed between 1836 and 1842 of some 14,000 thousand-pound slabs of coral rock that was quarried from an offshore reef on the southern coast of Oahu. The church is the site of many royal coronations, christenings, and funerals.

Is the old Kawaiahao Church Cemetery Haunted? Back in January 1900 a native military guard on duty at the edge of Kawaiahao Cemetery shrieked out wildly for the corporal of the guard. The Corporal dashed to the side of the other guard thinking something terrible had just happened.

The guard, with his knees trembling and fear in his eyes declared that he had just seen a ghost rise and sink into one of the graves five times in quick succession.

The corporal chuckled and suggested the frightened guard should go and arrest the ghost.

The young soldier answered with a wide open mouth and a black stare. He begged to be relieved from the evening’s duty at once as he was sure there was a ghost in the cemetery. The man was more ways than one.

I am sure the young guard questioned what he had seen that night for many years. Perhaps on your next visit to Hawaii, you will want to stop at the old cemetery and visit the tombstones of some of Hawaii’s historic figures. You may be visited by a ghost--- if it’s your lucky day.

957 Punchbowl Street
Honolulu, HI 96813

Haunted Places Examiner : Debe Branning

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