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

8 thoughts on “about

  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.

  2. Sherri Reply

    Aloha, Hai! I met you after snorkeling about 10 days ago at LSD; my name is Sherri and I am a marine biologist. I wanted to pass this along to you, in case you were unaware of it… a conservation group called the Center for Biological Diversity has sued the federal govt to force them to render a decision about putting cauliflower coral on the endangered species list. Listing them would give the corals protections against development-related damage, such as the proposed expansion of Kawaihae Harbor… and might just STOP it! Check this out for more info: https://biologicaldiversity.org/w/news/press-releases/lawsuit-advances-protections-for-hawaiis-cauliflower-coral-2020-03-04/ Aloha!

    1. hai Reply

      Thank you very much Sherri. I am aware that the cauliflower endangered status was pending. This is very encouraging because the cauliflower coral is doing really well in the area slated to be dredge. I started to map them but decided to flag a general area. Thank you so much for your help. I will add this information so we have a record of it. I hope you will get a chance to see more of Kawaihae reef. Let me know next time you are down again, would love to talk story. http://kawaihaereef.org/wildlife-surveys/threatened-and-endangered-species/

  3. Mark Tang ;-) Reply

    Great work here! Excellent photos too. I am sure few know about the treasure trove of marine organisms that exist around the reef and harbor. I’m looking forward to getting familiar with this place.

    1. hai Reply

      Aloha Mark,
      I hope people realize that it is a place worth protecting and conserve for eternity. There are some serious harbor expansion plans coming up that will alter the place drastically. thank you.

  4. Jaerick Reply

    Aloha Hai, my name is jaerick, I just received an email from a friend her name is Koohan. She sent it to a bunch of us this morning 8/14/21, it blows my mind to hear and see what our elected politicians are doing behind close doors. I would like to start with a Big MĀHALO to you for everything that you’ve been doing and all that time you have dedicated, doing your due diligence. I know how hard it can be, but more so how frustrating it is to talk into deaf ears. What’s sad is the politicians really don’t give a crap about our island and has No interest or intentions in protecting our natural resources and our Aina for future generations and generations to come. I’m from the east side 10 miles north of Hilo, Pepe’ekeo. I’m the President and chairman/Founder of Makahanaloa Fishing Association, we just became a NONPROFIT 501c3 a year and a half ago. Although I’ve been stewarding our shoreline about 11 years now. I manage the shoreline my kuleana is to make sure that our shoreline access remains in place for our local gatherers to be able to continue to exercise our Native Hawaiian Cultural Rights, the right to gather for free. Most importantly to preserve our shoreline and conservation areas, and our Natural resources. Please feel free to reach out to me 808-854-8195. I would like to chat and brain storm a plan to counter, like Sherri mentioned protecting the coral. I’m sure we could find a few more loopholes. Māhalo for all you do, keep up the awesome work and I look forward to hearing from you.


    1. hai Reply

      Thank you so much Jaerick. I need help and we all could use the help. I will try to contact you through your email address so I can stay on top of our conversations. This is a complex project. Thank you for taking your time and all that you do also.

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