Kawaihae Reef was the largest reef on the Big Island. I believe the reef remained in place up to late 1950s ( Hawaii became a state in 1959) when US Corps of Engineers dredged it to make Kawaihae Harbor.
In the song Kaulana Kawaihae, lyrics by Kailihune Alama Na’ai, made famous by Iz Kamalawiwo’Ole, there is a verse “E’oleo Mai Kahiko Mai O Puakailima” translated as telling from old times of Pua ka Ilima. I learn that this was an island where the ilima flower grew in the kawaihae reef area before it was covered up or destroyed.
The Kawaihae Harbor, LSD, Coral Flat and Breakwall are names refer by locals of the same place that over the years that became our community center, where the roof is sky and the reef is floor.
This site is created by Hai On to share information about the Kawaihae Reef, related issues and policies affecting the general area around the reef: Kawaihae Harbor and Pelekane Bay.

Contact: hai@kawaihaereef.org

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  1. Chris Henry Reply

    Has anyone been keeping tabs on the reef at Mauna Kea? Used to live on island and learned to dive there. Visited a few weeks ago and the reef does not look healthy. Somewhat concerned the resort is not doing enough to protect our natural heritage. Also sad to see they are now encouraging (and charging people) to night dive off Manta Ray Point.

    1. onei Reply

      Hi Chris,
      i heard about the commercial manta operation there from an employee of MK. I totally opposed that and told him I will testify against it if he takes it up to management. Some outfit was allowed to profit of of the manta rays at the approval of MK no doubt. I keep an eye on the reef there once in a while. It is actually recovery nicely from the global bleaching event. 10-20% in two years. Mortality was 70-80 percent. I am just one guy so i do not know if any of the local DLNR or non profits are reporting on it. MK is still a decent place for me to see akule, manta rays, eagle rays, omilus, and milk fish, oh and once in a while seahorses. Last three or four months the water in the bay was green from algea, not sure what they are running into the ocean there, but Hapuna Beach water was consistently clear during the same period. If you have time, write a letter to MK and give them your disapproval. Thanks for getting in touch with me. Aloha.

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