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The community of Aina Haina is a primarily residential subdivision in the eastern portion of the island of Oahu. Aina Haina is located in a valley about ten miles distant from Honolulu close to Niu Valley and Hawaii Kai. The town is found just about five minutes from Kahala and the same distance from Hawaii Kai, both of which are similar communities in terms of property values and character. The definition of what geographically constitutes Aina Haina is not absolute – the term can refer to Aina Haina Valley or the Valley, Hawaii Loa Ridge, and Niu Valley as well as a considerable amount of beachfront property. Although there is a shopping center in the lower portion of Aina Haina, the vast majority of properties in the valley are single family homes. These homes are, generally speaking, rather upscale, registering property values considerably higher than the median figures for the state and the island. Aina Haina’s modern history began in the early twentieth century, when in 1924 the Hind-Clarke Dairy Company was founded in the region. Aina Haina’s name may refer to either the Hawaiian word for sacrifice or simply “Hind’s Land” in honor of its formerly local corporation.
Aina Haina, like many East Oahu communities, maintains its own shopping center at the base of the valley, along Kalanianaole Highway. The Aina Haina Shopping Center is anchored by a Foodland Farms and a 76 Gas Station along with a McDonalds and a First Hawaiian Bank. Other notable tenants of the complex include a branch of the United States Postal Service, Genki Sushi, and a Subway. There are also a number of smaller, local tenants, such as Duck Yun Chinese Restaurant, Bee Green Dry Cleaners, a florist, and two specialty food stores. The Aina Haina Professional Building is located on the opposite side of the complex from Foodland, and includes a number of optometrists, physicians, dentists, and specialists as tenants. The Shopping Center recently underwent an extensive revision designed to revamp to complex and increase its attractiveness to both tenants and customers. Aina Haina Elementary School is located across the street from the Aina Haina Shopping Center, and is currently the only public elementary school in the Valley. Aina Haina Elementary is consistently recognized as one of the top public elementary schools in the state, and is a significant draw for many residents of the area. Holy Nativity School is also located in Aina Haina, providing a private school option. Waldorf High School, an alternative learning facility, recently opened its doors in Aina Haina, making it the closest secondary educational option. Until two years ago, there was a second public school in Aina Haina, Wailupe Valley School, which was closed due to budgetary constraints in May 2009.
The majority of Aina Haina is served by Bus Route 1 – Upper Aina Haina, which travels from the middle of the Valley, through Kahala, Kaimuki, and town before ultimately arriving at the Kalihi Transit Facility. Aina Haina offers its own public library, the Aina Haina Public Library, which periodically offers events such as free comic book days, public information hearings, and book readings. Aina Haina is home to several public parks and recreational facilities, ranging in size from moderately large to relatively small. The best known and most visible of these parks is Aina Haina Field, which is home to basketball courts, tennis courts, two baseball diamonds, a playground, and a recreation center. Wailupe Park, a smaller facility, is located near the old site of Wailupe School, while Nehu Park is found in the Valley and Kawaikui Beach Park is found on the waterfront.