The Ke’anae Peninsula was created from an immense lava flow originating from Haleakala Crater. Today it is home to a few local residents, taro fields, world class fishing, and great photo opportunities of the North Shore’s powerful waves crashing against Maui’s black, jagged, lava rocks.
The Church that Survived a Tsunami
The old stone church is called Ihi’ihio Iehowa o na Kaua church in the Hawaiian language. It was built in 1856 and is the sole surviving building of the April 1st, 1946 tsunami which wiped out the entire village at Keanae Peninsula. The earthquake that caused the killer tsunami originated in the Aleutian island chain off the coast of Alaska which registered as an 8.6 on the richter scale.
The waves that hit Maui Island, Hawaii topped 35 feet, or 12 meters, but near the tsunami’s epicenter the waves topped 35 meters, or over 100 feet. There was no tsunami warning system in the Pacific at the time, so Hawaii was caught completely off guard. No one saw it coming. Maui island alone lost 20 children and 4 teachers to the wave, a huge loss for a village as small has Ke’anae’s.
The only positive outcome from this tragedy was the development and implementation of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center which was, and still is, headquartered on Ewa Beach on Oahu, Hawaii.