Kakaako’s history is rooted in industry, entrepreneurship and cultural diversity. In ancient times, Kakaako was an area comprised of fishing villages, fishponds and salt ponds. To Native Hawaiians, salt was valued like gold and Kakaako’s salt ponds were of major importance to the area.
In the 1800’s residential construction began and diverse immigrant “camps” grew. Kakaako’s industrial roots began here with the establishment of the Honolulu Iron Works, a metal foundry and machine shop. Small stores, churches, schools and parks were built including Pohukaina School, which sat next to Mother Waldron Park. Kakaako grew and became a community built on a blue-collar work ethic, social activism and a strong sense of family.
In the mid-1900’s zoning for Kakaako changed from residential to commercial. Small businesses and entrepreneurship grew as wholesaling, warehousing and other industrial businesses displaced residents leading to the urban Kakaako you see today.
The evolution of Kakaako continues. On the streets of Auahi, Keawe and Coral a dynamic community is flourishing, built on the hard-working, entrepreneurial spirit of the past. The businesses, restaurants, incubators and gathering places of Our Kakaako are providing a catalyst for exciting new ideas and innovations, rooted in historical values but interpreted in a progressive way. Our Kakaako continues to honor the spirit of the past while looking forward to the future.