You are invited to use the mission station and house experience as part of your Hawaiian history adventure. The site offers a chance for you to learn about 19th century education, 20th century restoration, and 21st century preservation.
In 1778 as Hawaii was being discovered by British explorer James Cook, American colonists had just succeeded in gaining their independence from British rule. As Americans were establishing democracy for themselves, Hawaii was leaping from a Polynesian civilization to a new island government fashioned after the British monarchy.

This led to people of many cultures coming to Hawaii for provisioning or escape, or a new way of life. Congregationalism had been carried to America in 1620 by the Pilgrims, and the First Company of New England Congregational missionaries arrived in the Hawaiian Islands in the spring of 1820. The Polynesian people were open to new beliefs after the death of Kamehameha, and the overthrow of ancient beliefs and Kapu.

In addition to introducing a new religion, the missionaries recognized the worth and vulnerability of the Hawaiian commoner. They phonetically developed the written Hawaiian language and filled schools with island people in order to prepare them for the changes that were coming to their once isolated world.


In 1834, the Reverend William Alexander, his wife and young son were paddled from Waimea to Hanalei in a double hull canoe belonging to Governor Kaikioewa, the ruling chief of Kauai, to start Waioli MissionStation. Reverend Alexander immediately built a thatched grass roof “meeting house” and belfry, and two years later in 1836 he built this mission house as his home.

Missionary teachers Abner and Lucy Wilcox arrived in Hanalei in 1846 with four sons; and four more sons were born at Waioli. There were three schools at the station, a Common School, A Station School, as well as a Select School that housed the brightest students from Kauai and Niihau who were later to become teachers and leaders in the community
For 50 years after Abner and Lucy's deaths in 1869, the old mission home sat empty until its restoration in 1921. Over the last 170 years since its founding, the mission house continues as a quiet touchstone to the missionary efforts on Kauai.
Tour of the Waioli Mission are Tuesdays, Thursdays and
Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Tours are given on a "first come" basis.