A Community Rises For The Ka Iwi Coast

Image courtesy of Ka Iwi Coalition

Image courtesy of Ka Iwi Coalition

Along Oahu’s southeastern coast is a stretch of rugged land rich in history and cultural importance. Pele is said to have made her mark there while looking for a new home. It has served as a navigational landmark and a recreational area for paddlers, body surfers (including a young Barack Obama), and hikers for hundreds of years. And now, the seven mile stretch of Ka Iwi Mauka Lands is protected for perpetuity.

History of the Ka Iwi coast

Like many places in Hawai`i, development is an ever present pressure on pristine wilderness, and the Ka Iwi Mauka Lands are no exception. In 1972, plans were announced for a 7,756-room resort at Awāwamalu, and that was just the beginning; over the following 40 years, efforts were made to build luxury housing, resort cabins, and a golf academy on this prime coastal real estate.

The community stands up

In response to each of these development attempts, concerned citizens and community groups including the Ka Iwi Coalition, Livable Hawai‘i Kai Hui and The Trust for Public Land stepped forward to fight back and protect the Ka Iwi Mauka Lands. The decades-long effort was made possible through thousands of hours of volunteer work in public and private fundraising, community engagement, and legislative action.

Slowly but surely, progress was made through rezoning, fundraising, and strategic partnership. In March 2017, champions for public wilderness prevailed and the final two parcels of mauka lands were transferred to Livable Hawai`i Kai Hui. That organization is now acting as steward of the entire Ka Iwi Mauka Lands, and the land is also protected under conservation easement.

How to walk the Ka Iwi Coast

The best way to enjoy the beautiful, and now protected, Ka Iwi Coast is at the Ka Iwi Coast Run & Walk taking place on Sunday, November 18, 2018. At this family-friendly annual event, a 4-mile stretch of Kalanianaole Highway is closed to traffic and open to runners and walkers of all levels. The event starts at Sandy Beach and ends at Hui Nalu Canoe Club in Hawai`i Kai, giving participants unparalleled access to this beautiful section of coast.

Even better, the event is a fundraiser for number of nonprofits, including Livable Hawai`i Kai Hui, Maunalua Fishpond Heritage Center, and more. They will have educational outreach tables at the finish line, alongside Hawaiian Ola - we’ll be there sampling drinks to thirsty runners and walkers!

Register online by November 11 to secure your spot!

communityDabney Gough