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A Little About Ewa

Ewa is a relatively new community found on the Leeward side of Oahu. Ewa includes a number of subdivisions, which were built in various stages in an attempt to accommodate the growing population of Honolulu over the last several decades. Several parts of Ewa date to the early twentieth century, when the state of Hawaii was still largely propelled by the sugar trade. Plantations, such as those on the Ewa Plain, were an essential component of the Hawaiian economy until the mid 1900s. The oldest parts of Ewa were built for plantation owners and plantation workers, many of whom came from the Philippines and other parts of Asia during the early 1900s. These houses were eventually renovated and remodeled in order to accommodate commuters from downtown Honolulu towards the beginning of the 2000s and during the end of the 1990s. After the plantation economy declined following the Second World War, numerous properties were repurposed by investors looking to convert former plantation facilities into residential neighborhoods. Although some reminders of plantation life endure, almost all plantation properties have been assimilated into new residential developments. The word “Ewa” literally translates to “crooked,” although it is not entirely clear how the community earned that name in ancient Hawaii.

Ewa is broadly separated into Ewa Gentry, Ewa Beach, Honouliuli, and Ewa Villages. The Ewa Villages are the more historic sections of Ewa, and have generally older properties than the rest of the community. The Ewa Villages were the population center of Ewa during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, although they now have a population far exceeding anything achieved during the plantation era. The other main areas of Ewa are predominately new residential developments first constructed during the late twentieth century. There are a number of commercial centers in the Ewa region and surrounding towns, including shopping centers, gas stations, big box retailers, and restaurants. Ewa is bordered by the communities of Kapolei and Waipahu, as well as Pearl Harbor and the Pacific Ocean. Traffic is a concern for many residents of Ewa, although the planned rail transit line between Kapolei and Ala Moana should provide an alternative to car commuting. Additionally, a greater number of jobs are now being generated in the Kapolei area, just up the road from the Ewa Plain. The Hawaii Department of Education has constructed a number of new schools in the Ewa area, including Ewa Beach Elementary, Keoneula Elementary, Holomua Elementary, Kamimiloa Elementary, Ilima Intermediate School, and James Campbell High School. There are also two notable private schools in the Ewa region – Lanakila Baptist School and Our Lady of Perpetual Help School.

A number of communities in Ewa were master planned around golf courses and then marketed for their proximity to golfing facilities. Ewa is one of the best locations in Hawaii for golf enthusiasts thanks to such outstanding courses as the Hawaiian Prince Golf Course, Ewa Beach Golf Club, and West Loch Golf Course. There are a wide variety of other recreational facilities in and around Ewa, including the Ewa Beach Community Park, the Hawaiian Railway, and the Waipio Peninsula Soccer Park. Ewa is on the same side of the island as Wet and Wild Hawaii – the only water park on the island – as well as the University of Hawaii at West Oahu and Leeward Community College. Taken together, the west side communities of Kapolei and Ewa are referred to as the “Second City,” a testament to the city’s efforts to move development out of the urban core and to the other side of the island. The City and County of Honolulu has even opened a second city hall, known as Kapolei Hale, just up the road from Ewa.