Kona Village Resort’s reopening on ʻĀina Pauahi celebrated

Jun. 30, 2023

Twelve years after sustaining catastrophic damage from the tsunami triggered by a 9.0 earthquake in Japan, the restored Kona Village Resort situated on ʻĀina Pauahi in Ka‘ūpūlehu is poised to welcome guests again after a traditional Native Hawaiian dedication ceremony.

Dignitaries included Hawaiʻi Island Mayor Mitch Roth, executives from developer and ground lessee Kennedy Wilson, operator Rosewood Hotels and Resorts, and a contingent of KS executives led by Trustee Crystal Rose KSK’75.

The 81-acre site is located at Kaʻūpūlehu on the shores of Kahuwai Bay. Kennedy Wilson, along with the lineal descendants and cultural stakeholders, including Kamehameha Schools, took painstaking measures to care for ʻāina during the five-year demolition and rebuilding process. The resort features 150 guest hale with thatched roofs made of recycled plastic material. ʻĀina sustainability initiatives include the property being 100% powered by solar, treating wastewater onsite for reuse in irrigation, and a zero-waste recycling program to ease the burden at local landfills.

During the ʻAha Lei Piko ceremony, the passing of pōhaku and coral from Kahuwai Bay symbolized the kuleana being passed from kūpuna to its new stewards, where Trustee Rose emphasized the commitment and responsibility of stewarding ʻāina.

“Our beloved founder, Ke Ali‘i Pauahi, understood that the well-being of the Native Hawaiian people is directly connected to the health and condition of the ‘āina. As trustees, we strive to steward our lands to be resilient and abundant with opportunities. We also aim to manage our lands in a way that continues to strengthen Native Hawaiian identity for our keiki and a thriving lāhui,” said Rose.

July first marks the first day for guests at this restored and renewed place on ʻĀina Pauahi.

During Kona Village's 'Aha Lei Piko ceremony, Trustee Crystal Rose holds a pōhaku from Kahuwai Bay that fronts the newly reopened resort. A Hawai'i Island native, Trustee Rose joked that when she first saw the remote resort as a little girl, she thought it was 'Gilligan's Island,' the television comedy from the 1960s about stranded castaways on a deserted island.