Windward Mall Renovation Meant to Honor Kaneohe's Past

Ulalia Woodside
Ulalia Woodside

KANEOHE (KHNL) - Windward Mall's $23 million renovation has a symbolic meaning for landowner Kamehameha Schools. They want to honor the history of this area, by making it the center of the community, just like it was a long time ago.

In old Hawaii, these lands were highly productive. Taro fields in the flats, thanks to an extensive and highly cultivated loi system. And a modified coastline created a fishpond that enhanced fish production.

Alii coveted this land.

"Kamehameha, in his conquest across the islands, selects these lands of Kaneohe, and specifically of Heeia, probably for their productive field system and productive offshore resources," said Ulalia Woodside, manger of Kamehameha Schools' land division.

Over the years, fields of taro turn into rice. Then sugar. Then cattle. But one thing about the land that stays consistant -- its beauty and purpose for its people.

That's the theme for the mall's renovation.

"To make it seem and make sure that it captures that which is unique about this Windward side of the island," said Woodside. "And hopefully inspiring a sense of community gathering space here at the mall that these lands had in traditional times."

Most of the new décor features the mountain, or the sea, or something in between. All to bring the outside to the inside. All to make sure people know they're on the windward side. And all for family.

"Where people can come and enjoy, shop, eat, and relax with their families and celebrate with their families here at Windward Mall," said Woodside.

The mall opened in 1982, and this its first major renovation. It's scheduled to be complete by early summer.