Wānanalua (“double prophecy”) is an ahupuaʻa in Hāna (“work” or “profession”) and birthplace of Kaʻahumanu. (The birthplace is in a cave on Kaʻuiki Hill on the right side of Hāna Bay.)
There is a trail that leads along Kaʻuiki Hill to a red sand beach pocket. Along this trail is a plaque marking the site where Queen Kaʻahumanu was born in a nearby cave. She was the favorite wife of King Kamehameha I.
In 1790, Kamehameha invaded Maui, landing and winning a battle in Hāna.
He worked his way north from Hāna and engaged Kalanikūpule’s armies at Hāmākualoa in the battle of Pu‘ukoa‘e – and then at ‘Īao Valley in the famous battle of Kepaniwai.
It was following this battle that Kamehameha negotiated with Kalola to marry Keōpūolani (another of his wives, and the mother of Liholiho and Kauikeaouli.)
In 1838, missionary Daniel Conde organized a mission in Hāna and established the Wānanalua Church. (It’s across the street from the present day Hotel Hana-Maui, which was originally called the Kaʻuiki Inn.)
The church started with a thatched structure and by 1842 work commenced on the present building.
Wānanalua Church is a large stone building, the walls of which have been plastered over. Stone for the church was gathered from the ruins of a heiau, and the original roof was thatch.
The framing timbers came from the mountains and coral was gathered from the ocean and burned for lime and used to make mortar.
It is typical of the churches of this period in that it was constructed of local materials by Hawaiians under the supervision of a missionary, and was built to serve the Hawaiian community. Services were held in the Hawaiian language until the 1930s.
The church sits conspicuously on a large lot surrounded by a lawn with scattered plantings. A lava rock wall separates the church lot from the street.
The roof was reframed in 1856, which allowed for a shingle roof to be installed in 1862, replacing the thatch.
In 1897, the building was reroofed, refloored and replastered. It is assumed the bell tower was also constructed at that time. The church has remained in continuous operation and is one of the better maintained nineteenth century stone churches on Maui.
Daniel Conde and his family were the first missionaries to permanently settle in Hāna, which remains a somewhat remote part of Maui, even today.
At that time there were approximately 6,000 Hawaiians living in the area (the population was 1,235 in the 2010 census.)
The Condes remained in Hāna until 1849, when they moved to Wailuku. After the death of Mrs. Conde in 1855, Daniel and his children returned to New York.
The Wānanalua Church and the Hāna Courthouse are the only two surviving structures from the nineteenth century left in Hāna.