Kakaako: From Salt Ponds to City Life

Kaka‘ako has long been considered a land rich in value.

Native Hawaiians once called the area home. It was a thriving community with much to offer families and royalty. Even King Kamehameha the Great saw great value in this oceanfront land that featured fishpond farming and salt ponds, considered gold in ancient times.

Kaka‘ako evolved in the 1800s with a boom in residential construction and industrial development. The face of the community was changing and with growth came the need for schools, churches and parks.


  • Wednesday, Aug. 19, at 9:30 p.m. *Premiere*
  • Sunday, Sept. 20, at 6:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Oct. 4, at 7 p.m.

Hawaii’s CW

  • Tuesday, Sept. 1, at 9:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, Sept. 13, at 6:30 p.m.

But changes were just getting started.

In the 1950s, zoning for the area changed from residential to commercial. Urban Kaka‘ako was starting to take shape and not all of the changes were embraced by residents.

The evolution of Kaka‘ako has seen its share of controversy, public protests and political maneuvering.

Today, it is home to shopping centers, award-winning restaurants, residential developments, the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine and soon, with proposed transit-orient development, towers that reach 700 feet into the sky.

What does tomorrow hold and will residents continue to have a voice in the process?

Award-winning reporters Ron Mizutani and Diane Ako take a look at Kaka‘ako’s past, present and future in a fascinating 30-minute primetime special.

Please join KHON2 as we share the story of “Kakaako: From Salt Ponds to City Life.”

Hawaii State Archives
Hawaii State Archives
Bishop Museum
Bishop Museum

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