History & Staff
We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.
Founded in 1844, Oahu Cemetery is Hawaii’s oldest public cemetery. The site originally named Nuuanu Cemetery, and was established at the height of the whaling era to meet the need for a public burial ground for Honolulu’s rapidly growing foreign population. On any given day, nearby Honolulu Harbor was filled to capacity with dozens of ships and hundreds of foreign sailors, merchants and adventurers from all over the world. Because Hawaiians did not have well defined, Western-style burial grounds with individually marked plots, and because Kawaiahao Church Cemetery (the first foreign cemetery established in the islands in 1829) only admitted those foreigners who were neither Protestant nor Christian. Those others were left without “fitting and proper” burial ground. The founders of Oahu Cemetery were foreign residents who were concerned for the burial needs of their own families, and for those souls who died here without families. These residents also wanted a more “modern” burial ground, like the ones being established in America and Great Britain at the time. The original 4.5 acre site in lower Nuuanu Valley was chosen because of its proximity to the harbor, and because frequent rains in the valley make the soil easy to dig and irrigate. It would be outside the city limits, yet would be an easy carriage ride from most homes in town. Today, Oahu Cemetery’s 18 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds with over 30,000 burials contains the most abundant collection of 19th Century grave art in Hawaii. Please note that Oahu Cemetery & Crematory welcomes all individuals and families regardless of their ethnic or religious background.
Since 1844, the Oahu Cemetery has served the cemetery and cremation service needs of the people of Hawaii. Oahu Cemetery is owned and operated by the Oahu Cemetery Association dba Oahu Cemetery & Crematory, an independent non-profit 501(c)(13) corporation governed by a volunteer board of trustees. Income generated from its crematory operation along with its professionally managed perpetual care trust fund assures that the cemetery is maintained in perpetuity. All funds generated from the services and products provided to the general public are used to 1) support our educational outreach program; 2) supplement cremation costs to enable low cost direct cremation services to Hawaii's residents and 3) are invested into the maintenance and upkeep of the 18 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds which are now the permanent resting place of over 30,000 Hawaii residents including many historic and influential individuals.