The Western World Meets Hawaii
In the late 1700s, Captain James Cook and his fleet were the first westerners to sail alongside the magnificent coasts of Waianae. Another famous Seafarer who joined Cook on some of his future voyages to the islands, Captain George Vancouver, a British officer of the Royal Navy, reported back to the Queen of England about fertile coconut groves he had glimpsed within the confines of the Hawaiian island. He also wrote down on his reports the fertility of the lush lands of Waianae, as well as the promise of a rich agricultural venture on its blessed soil.
Beginning of Trade In West Oahu
In 1795 Kamehameha the Great conquered the island of Oahu. He booted out the local chiefs and installed his own people in their place. The Waianae Coast became a haven for opponents to this latest change.
Boki was appointed governor of Oahu and chief of the Waianae District by Kamehameha. Although he was one of the first chiefs to be baptized, when he married Liliha, he refused to marry her in church.
He also liked to partake of other "sinful" treats of the time, like drinking Okolehau (liquor made from tea root). As a result of his style of rule in the area, people's moral and religious lifestyles remained relatively unchanged for several years on the west coast. Couples lived together without benefit of marriage and prayed to the old gods.
As more ships sailed alongside the coasts of the magnificent Hawaiian community of Waianae, some of these Western travelers noticed the abundance of sandalwood the fertile lands of this Hawaiian community held firmly within its coasts. Around 1811 the global trade industry of Waianae was born, trading sandalwood with the Westerners the islanders bartered for supplies not to be found within its shores.
Boki was in the thick of the sandalwood trading business, but by 1829 was in debt up to his eyeballs. When word reached him that another South Pacific island was heavily forested in sandalwood, he pulled together a fleet of two ships and set sail. He was never heard from again. (The sandalwood trade soon ended after this because the trees ran out.)
In the early 1900s, the sugar production industry of Hawaii flourished. Waianae, was among the lands with the most abundant sugar production capabilities. Sugar plantations need a good amount of water, so do people. As the population increased along the Waianae Coast, competition for water became an issue. During the fight for water between citizens and sugar plantations, Waianae Coast was in the grip of a severe drought. In 1946 the plantation dug a tunnel into the base of the mountains in the back of Makaha Valley. This new source yielded 2,000,000 gallons a day ... a lot of water.
But it was too little too late. The plantation lost most of its money in 1944, and in 1945 the workers voted to unionize. In October 1946, the stock holders voted to liquidate. The Second World War raging during this time also contributed to the booming sugar production industry, as well as the international trade industries of this tropical paradise island, to abruptly end.
The Birth of Tourism in Oahu
After the war, Waianae, along with most of the Hawaiian communities ravaged by the spoils of war, tried to rebuild itself back to its old glory. This was when Hawaii started out as a prime holiday destination for travelers from all points of the world. Waianae kept itself hidden from the commercialization, unlike most of the places on this tropical paradise. Therefore, it has survived throughout these events as among Oahu's best kept secret. Waianae now enjoys a booming local trade industry due to its equally flourishing tourism industry.