This isn’t even the real story of Keawala’i Congregational Church in Makena, Maui, though this is a very old tree. Those are all air roots that eventually become part of the trunk.
The real story is of one of the oldest Christian churches on Maui. Through thick and thin since 1832 the Keawala‘i Congregational Church has prevailed. The oceanfront land that the church is on was purchased for $80 in 1864. If I had not mistakenly turned down the deadens street the church was on, I would have missed it.
The family name, Kapohakimohewa, dominates the earliest portion of the cemetery. This is John, born in 1837. I really liked the depiction of heaven’s gates symbolically open for him.
This man is probably John’s son. He played the ukulele. Can’t help but wonder, given the anchor at the top of John’s picture, if he wasn’t lost at sea. There are still Kaphokimohewa’s in the phone book.
And of course the old banyan tree has seen generation upon generation of Mauians who have worshiped here.
After 115 years of producing sugar on Maui, the Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company (HC & S C0) is no more. This was the last sugar mill anywhere in Hawaii; a way of life gone. There is an excellent museum on the property that has captured a little of the history (and much of the emotion of the closing). Maui can’t afford to lose 650 jobs…but they have.