Waimea, Kauai County, Hawaii

Waimea (literally, "red water" in Hawaiian[1]) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Kauaʻi County, Hawaiʻi, United States. The population was 1,855 at the 2010 census.[2] The first Europeans to reach Hawaii landed in Waimea in 1778 (giving rise to Kauai's cheeky slogan: "Hawaii's Original Visitor Destination").

Waimea, Hawaii
Location in Kauai County and the state of Hawaii
Location in Kauai County and the state of Hawaii
Coordinates: 21°57′18″N 159°40′4″W / 21.95500°N 159.66778°WCoordinates: 21°57′18″N 159°40′4″W / 21.95500°N 159.66778°W
CountryUnited States
 • Total2.17 sq mi (5.62 km2)
 • Land1.84 sq mi (4.77 km2)
 • Water0.33 sq mi (0.85 km2)
9 ft (3 m)
 • Total1,855
 • Density1,007/sq mi (388.8/km2)
ZIP Code
Area code(s)808
FIPS code15-78800
GNIS feature ID364794


Original Settlers

Between 200 to 600 AD, the first settlers arrived in Kaua‘i from the Marquesas Islands. It is not clear why the voyagers sought a new homeland—whether they were escaping war, famine, or were simply driven by the desire to explore. Along with them, they brought taro, sweet potato, pigs and fowl, as well as seeds. They were experienced farmers and fishermen, with advanced irrigation techniques that allowed them to thrive on the land.

Around 1000 AD, Tahitian explorers arrived in Hawai‘i and conquered the Marquesans. According to Hawaiian legend, the small-in-stature Marquesans were chased into the hills by the Tahitians, and became the "Menehune", thought to be responsible for bad luck. The Tahitians brought with them a social and political hierarchy with distinct rules and taboos, also called "kapu". It was forbidden for women and men to eat together, for women to eat pork or bananas, or for anyone to step on the shadow of a royal member. This kapu system, with kings (ali‘i), thrived and ruled for hundreds of years before Western explorers first made contact in the Islands.[3]

First Western Contact

Captain James Cook statue, Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii
A statue of Captain James Cook stands in Waimea, Kauaʻi commemorating his first contact with the Hawaiian islands at the town's harbor in January 1778.

On January 20, 1778, the British explorer, Captain James Cook, and his ships, HMS Discovery and Resolution, arrived at the mouth of the Waimea River on the western side of Kaua‘i. Originally, Cook sent three small craft to Waimea so that his men could determine if it was a good place for the ships to dock. They reported back that there was a freshwater lagoon alongside a native village, so Cook and his men anchored their ships and went ashore on smaller craft.

Cook's mission is thought to be one of scientific and social exploration. His men documented the flora and fauna of the Waimea area, and tried to translate the language of the natives.[4] This first encounter was relatively friendly. One of Cook's men wrote, "On landing I was reciev'd with every token of respect and friendship by a great number of the Natives who were collected upon the occasion; they every one of them prostrated themselves around me which is the first mark of respect at these Isles."[5]

While Cook's first contact with the islands was originally friendly and is responsible for a vast resource of information about the flora, fauna and culture of Hawai‘i, it also marks the beginning of the period of colonization of Hawai‘i and its people. The arrival of Europeans also introduced venereal disease and tuberculosis, which is responsible for decimating the native Hawaiian population.[6]


In the late 1700's Waimea was an important trading post for the whaling and sandalwood industries, later replaced by the sugar industry in the 1800's. Currently, the main industries in Waimea are construction and tourism. There are only two hotels in the town: Waimea Plantation Cottages, and The West Inn motel. There are several shops, small restaurants and food trucks that cater to both the local and tourist population. Waimea is home to the original location of Jo-Jo's Shave Ice, the headquarters for the condiment manufacturer, Aunty Lilikoi.


Along a ridgeline near Waimea

Waimea is located on the southwest side of the island of Kauai at 21°57′42″N 159°40′25″W / 21.96167°N 159.67361°W.[7] It is bordered to the west by Kekaha, to the east by Pakala Village, and to the south by the Pacific Ocean. The Waimea River forms the eastern border of the community.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 2.2 square miles (5.6 km2), of which 1.9 square miles (4.8 km2) are land and 0.3 square miles (0.8 km2), or 15.09%, are water,[2] as the CDP boundary extends into the Pacific Ocean.

Waimea is a popular place for tourists, especially hikers who travel through the nearby Waimea Canyon.[8]


As of the census[9] of 2000, there were 1,787 people, 620 households, and 456 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 1,707.2 people per square mile (657.1/km²). There were 676 housing units at an average density of 645.8 per square mile (248.6/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 12.7% White, 0.1% African American, 0.2% Native American, 43.0% Asian, 12.3% Pacific Islander, 1.1% from other races, and 30.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.2% of the population.

There were 620 households out of which 33.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.3% were married couples living together, 15.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.3% were non-families. 22.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.80 and the average family size was 3.27.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 26.1% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 22.4% from 25 to 44, 24.8% from 45 to 64, and 19.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.8 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $44,398, and the median income for a family was $46,591. Males had a median income of $38,542 versus $26,513 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $18,778. About 8.1% of families and 11.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.2% of those under age 18 and 8.7% of those age 65 or over.


Every February Waimea hosts a celebration of Hawaiian culture at the Waimea Town Celebration. The festival began in 1978, and has expanded into a nine-day event. Activities include a celebration of Kaumuali‘iu, Kaua‘i's last king, a film festival, several concerts, a lei-making contest for paniolo (cowboy) hats, a rodeo, a canoe race, and numerous other sporting events.[10]

The Historic Waimea Theater originally opened on September 2, 1938, and is one of only two remaining movie theaters on the island of Kaua‘i. The theater was damaged by Hurricane Iniki in 1992, and the owner planned on tearing it down. West Kaua‘i Main Street leased the building in 1993,  and began to restore the landmark theater. The County of Kaua‘i purchased the building in 1996, and in August of 1999, it again re-opened to the public under the management of West Kauai Business & Professional Association.[11]


Waimea has three public schools: Waimea Canyon Middle School, Waimea High School (the westernmost high school in the United States), and Ni‘ihau High and Elementary School.[12]

See also


  1. ^ Mary Kawena Pukui, Samuel Hoyt Elbert and Esther T. Mookini (2004). "lookup of Waimea ". in Place Names of Hawai'i. Ulukau, the Hawaiian Electronic Library, University of Hawaii Press. Retrieved September 22, 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Waimea CDP (Kauai County), Hawaii". American Factfinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  3. ^ "How Did Hawaii Came to Be?". waimea.com. Retrieved 17 June 2018.
  4. ^ Schutz, Albert J., The Voice of Eden: A History of Hawaiian Language Studies, 1994
  5. ^ "Ahupua`a". waimeavalley.net. Archived from the original on 12 March 2015. Retrieved 17 June 2018.
  6. ^ "A brief history of Hawaii 300AD ~ 1900". deephawaii.com. Retrieved 17 June 2018.
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  8. ^ "Waimea Canyon State Park", Wikipedia, 2018-10-16, retrieved 2019-02-23
  9. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  10. ^ "Home". Waimea Town Celebration. Retrieved 2019-02-23.
  11. ^ "The Venue". Waimea Theater. Retrieved 2019-02-23.
  12. ^ "Schools in Waimea, HI – report cards, comparisons, test results, ranking, rating, profiles". www.city-data.com. Retrieved 2019-02-23.
Andy Iona

Andy Iona (born Andrew Aiona Long, January 1, 1902 – November 9, 1966) was an American musician and one of Hawaii's most influential musicians. He was a composer, songwriter, conductor, saxophonist, and steel guitarist. He went to the Kamehameha School for Boys. He was also educated at Henri Berger's Private School of Music in Honolulu.

He was a member of the radio station KHS staff orchestra. He went on to form his own group called Andy Iona and his Islanders, which mixed traditional Hawaiian melodies with American swing; the band appeared in films, hotels, and theatres, and on records. He composed songs for the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers after joining in 1940, and recorded the music for two Soundies in 1941. Long toured with Sonja Henie for 12 years.

He married Leimomi Woodds and had three children.

Civilian Conservation Corps

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was a public work relief program that operated from 1933 to 1942 in the United States for unemployed, unmarried men. Originally for young men ages 18–25, it was eventually expanded to ages 17–28. Robert Fechner was the first director of this agency, succeeded by James McEntee following Fechner's death. The CCC was a major part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal that provided unskilled manual labor jobs related to the conservation and development of natural resources in rural lands owned by federal, state, and local governments. The CCC was designed to provide jobs for young men and to relieve families who had difficulty finding jobs during the Great Depression in the United States. Maximum enrollment at any one time was 300,000. Through the course of its nine years in operation, 3 million young men participated in the CCC, which provided them with shelter, clothing, and food, together with a wage of $30 (about $570 in 2017) per month ($25 of which had to be sent home to their families).

The American public made the CCC the most popular of all the New Deal programs. Sources written at the time claimed an individual's enrollment in the CCC led to improved physical condition, heightened morale, and increased employability. The CCC also led to a greater public awareness and appreciation of the outdoors and the nation's natural resources, and the continued need for a carefully planned, comprehensive national program for the protection and development of natural resources.

The CCC operated separate programs for veterans and Native Americans. Approximately 15,000 Native Americans participated in the program, helping them weather the Great Depression.By 1942, with World War II and the draft in operation, the need for work relief declined, and Congress voted to close the program.

Jane Loeau

Jane Loeau (December 5, 1828 – July 30, 1873) was a Hawaiian chiefess during the Kingdom of Hawaii who attended the Chiefs' Children's School, also known as the Royal School.


KRKW-LP is a non-profit radio station in Waimea, Kauai County, Hawaii. Owned and operated by Waimea Baptist Church, the station broadcasts a mix of Christian and community radio content.It has an effective radiated power of 100 watts on the frequency of 107.3 MHz.

Larry Ramos

Larry Ramos (born Hilario Ramos; April 19, 1942 – April 30, 2014) was a guitarist, banjo player, and vocalist with the 1960s American pop band The Association. In 1963, he won a Grammy with The New Christy Minstrels.

List of bastion forts

This is a list of bastion forts, also called Star forts.

R. Keao NeSmith

R. Keao NeSmith is a Native Hawaiian linguist, educator, and translator. He has taught at various universities, such as the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, l'Université de la Polynésie française in ‘Outumaoro, Tahiti, the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand, and the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. He has taught Hawaiian language, Hawaiian Studies, subjects on endangered language revitalization, and Tahitian language.His work on "Neo Hawaiian" as a separate variety of Hawaiian has informed debate in Hawaiian language studies, as well as broader issues in language revitalization.He has translated a number of books into Hawaiian, including The Hobbit, The Little Prince, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and the Harry Potter series. He is currently working on a Hawaiian translation of The Chronicles of Narnia.

Richard Kawakami

Richard Kawakami (February 22, 1931 – March 8, 1987) was an American businessman and politician.

Born in Waimea, Kauai County, Hawaii, Kawakami received his bachelor's degree from University of Hawaii and his master's degree from New York University. Kawakami was the president of the Big Save Groceries in Kauai County. Kawakami served on the Kauai County Council and was a Democrat. Kawakami served in the Hawaii House of Representatives from 1968 until his death in 1987. He served as speaker of the house in 1987 at the time of his death. Kawakami died suddenly of a heart attack while on a hunting trip on Lanai. His wife Bertha succeeded his husband in the Hawaii Legislature.

Russian Fort Elizabeth

Russian Fort Elizabeth is a National Historic Landmark and is administered as the Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park just southeast of present-day Waimea on the island of Kauaʻi in Hawaiʻi. It is located at the site of the former Fort Elizabety (Russian: Форт Елизаветы), the last remaining Russian fort on the Hawaiian islands, built in the early 19th century by the Russian-American Company as the result of an alliance with High Chief Kaumualiʻi. The star fort was employed by the Kingdom of Hawaii in the 19th century under the name Fort Hipo (Hawaiian: Paʻulaʻula o Hipo).

Waimea, Hawaii

Waimea refers to multiple places in Hawai‘i:

Waimea, Hawaii County, Hawaii

Waimea, Kauai County, Hawaii

Waimea Bay on O‘ahu

Waimea Canyon State Park on Kaua‘i

Waimea River (Kauai)

The Waimea River is a major river on the island of Kauai in the U.S. state of Hawaii. At 12.1 miles (19.5 km) in length, it is one of the longest rivers in the Hawaiian Islands, draining one sixth of the total area of the island.

It rises in a wet plateau of the island's central highlands, in the Alaka'i Swamp, the largest high-elevation swamp in the world. It flows south, passing through the spectacular 3,000-foot-deep (910 m) Waimea Canyon, known as the "Grand Canyon of the Pacific."

The valleys of the Waimea River and its tributary, the Makaweli River, were once heavily populated. It enters the Pacific Ocean at Waimea, near the 1778 landing place of Captain Cook on Kauai.


Yamase (written: 山瀬) is a Japanese surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Koji Yamase (山瀬 功治, born 1981), Japanese footballer

Rio Yamase (山瀬 理桜), Japanese musician

Yukihiro Yamase (山瀬 幸宏, born 1984), Japanese footballer

Islands, municipalities, and communities of Kauai County, Hawaii, United States

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