Palm trees at Mauna Lani
Palm trees at Mauna Lani

History of Mauna Lani

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Kalāhuipua‘a is a raw and potent paradise, the piko (center) of Hawaii's five great volcanoes, and the point where volcanic plains meet the shimmering sea. Mauna Lani sits within Kalāhuipua‘a, a sacred realm whose astonishing natural beauty is equaled only by its primal, magnetic power. To walk this storied coastline, breathe the salt air, and swim in the crystalline waters is to feel the same mana—spiritual energy—that first drew people here centuries ago. This is where ancient Hawaiians mastered the art of aquaculture and where King Kamehameha came to recuperate and work in the fishponds.

Danny Akaka leads Mauna Lani's Talk Story program

Talk Story

Pull up a chair and let Danny Akaka, the resort’s Kahu Hānai, regale you with mo‘olelo (stories)—tales drawn from the ancient past and his own colorful life. Start with any question: what did the Polynesian voyagers eat while sailing across the world’s biggest ocean? What does the name “Kalāhuipua‘a” mean? The answers are guaranteed to stir your imagination and enrich your experience of the Islands.

  • Tues, Fri | Throw Net & Talk Story | 2:00pm - 5:00pm
  • Tues, Thurs| Talk Story | 4:00pm - 5:00pm
  • Thurs | Tales of Old Hawaiʻi & Talk Story | 2:00pm - 5:00pm
  • Sat | Tales of Old Hawaiʻ Cowboy UP! | 2:00pm - 5:00 pm
  • Complimentary
  • Location: Eva Parker Woods Cottage
Danny Akaka talks to young guests in a cave

Self-Guided Walking Tour

Today, Danny Akaka, Jr., the resort’s Kahu Hānai and renowned Hawaiian historian, offers interactive guided tours throughout the fishponds. Like a stroll into a living museum, each tour provides a deeper understanding of Hawaiian history, mo‘olelo (stories), beliefs as well as typical Hawaiian words, which translates into a deeper appreciation and respect for the Hawaiian people, land, values, and culture.

  • Self-guided walking tour
  • Complimentary
  • Location: Resort grounds
beach view from the Kalāhuipua'a Historic Walking Tour

Kalāhuipua'a Historic Walking Tour

An oasis within an oasis, Kalāhuipua‘a Fishponds – located on Mauna Lani’s grounds, are the essence and spiritual center of the resort. On a tour with Danny Akaka, Jr. the resort’s Kahu Hānai might describe how bottom samples taken from the ponds date the ancient aquaculture system to as far back as 250 B.C. or he might tell the mo‘olelo (story) of the supernatural eel who lives in one of the ponds. Predating even the earliest Western contact, the Loko (ponds), I‘a (fish) are a tangible reminder of the days when the land and sea supported the Ali‘i (royalty) and fishermen who were the original inhabitants of the land that is now known as Mauna Lani. The seven ponds —Waipuhi, Kahinawao, Lāhuipua‘a, Ka'aiōpio, Manokū, Hope‘ala, and Keanapou — were maintained and managed by ancient Hawaiian stewards. ‘Awa (milk-fish), ‘ama‘ama (mullet), crabs, eels, shrimp and other marine life were raised strictly for the consumption of Ali‘i and other persons of rank. The ponds, spanning over 11 acres, are still home to countless fish, along with other marine flora and fauna.

  • Tues, Thurs, Sat | 9:30am - 11:00am
  • 1.5 hours | Complimentary | 10 maximum guests
  • Location: Hālau in the Lower Lobby

Follow the coastline over ancient fishermen's trails and historical Hawaiian Kingdom roads. The Ala Kahakai National Historic Trails have been connected through generations of use to form a single continuous route. On Mauna Lani to Honoka‘ope Bay hike, black sand, beautiful cliffs, and crystal clear waters make 49 Black Sand Beach one of the most unique coastal locations on the Island of Hawaii. Take a hike through the 223-acre Puakō Petroglyph Archaeological Preserve which boasts more than 3,000 ancient petroglyphs. Explore lava rock carvings etched into stone, dating back to 1200 AD.

  • Self-guided walking tour
  • Complimentary
  • Location: Resort grounds

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