The Nicest Place in Hawaii: Ahuimanu
NICEST PLACES IN AMERICA 2019 FINALIST
"Where Heaven and Earth Meet"
“Aloha” is a way of life on Hawaii, and this place truly embodies the spirit.
State Senator Jarrett Keohokalole’s family has been in Hawaii for 500 years. For him and Hawaiians like him, the word “aloha” isn’t just a greeting, but a philosophy and a way of life: Help your neighbors and never forget your own good fortune. “At the end of the day, we’re lucky to live where we do,” he says.
Few places embody the spirit of aloha quite like the community of Ahuimanu, he says.
“I knocked on 1,000 doors in Ahuimanu,” says Keohokalole. “And I’ll never forget it—I asked people what they needed, what their issues were, and they would always say, ‘We’re lucky. We’re fine.’”
On an island where prime spots can be easily overwhelmed by tourism, Ahuimanu—pronounced “a-HUWEE-manu,” and meaning “gathering of birds”—remains what Keohokalole calls a “hidden gem,” a peaceful, quiet residential neighborhood full of long-time residents and families.
Our nominator, Angela Pond, loves the lush tranquility of a place where you can stroll down the street, chat with the neighbors, and pick fruit off the trees: “It’s very peaceful, very serene,” she says. “In the morning the only noise we have is the birds. People are old-school. We have sidewalks!”
But what matters most is the spirit of aloha, which Pond recently felt firsthand when her elderly cat got lost. For weeks Pond and her ten-year-old daughter scoured the local streets, but they were not alone. Neighbors helped spread the word and search. When, after a month, somebody finally spotted the creature hiding under a car, everyone knew whom to call.
Recovering their pet was “a blessing from God,” says Pond. “We were just so happy.” But what made her proud as a parent was to see her daughter learning from the experience. “She saw a community come together,” says Pond, and when the girl had a chance to pay it forward, she did.
“She saw a third grader that was being bullied—and she stood up for him. She didn’t know him,” says Pond. “She just went up and helped him.”
Ahuimanu Hills has a wonderous view of the majestic Ko’olua mountains. It is also not too far from a nice relaxing beach where families gather for fun in the sun.
Neighbors are always looking out for each other. We feel very safe when we travel because our neighbors keep a watchful eye on our home, and take care of our animals, and leave us a home cooked meal when we return.
The neighborhood kids play outside together and the street is filled with laughter. Kids and families get together on Halloween and enjoy some ono local food and talk story and laugh. Neighbors assist families in renovating their homes, offering their services.
We have many nurses and police who are supportive if someone is in need. We also have neighborhood watch! One time one of our neighbor’s chid took a very bad fall down steep cement stairs and all the nurses came to assist. Another time our neighbor’s alarm accidentally went off and all the neighbors got together to reach the family to make sure they were ok.
The best story of them all was when our inside cat who has slight dementia somehow wandered outside and was lost for weeks. All of our neighbors assisted in helping us find our cat. One night I received a call from a neighbor who spotted our cat underneath a car and so we rushed over and they assisted us in coaxing our cat back home.
We celebrate big events like 1st BDs, birth of a baby, graduations, etc. We are one big Ohana and we are blessed to have such wonderful neighbors.
This nomination came through ourpartnership with Nextdoor, the world’s largest social network for neighborhoods.
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