ala wai canal 1920 to 1928

Ala Wai canal - constructed from 1920 to 1928.

The…history of Waikiki is well summarized in Barry S. Nakamura’s study of the 'reclamation' project that led to the dredging of the Ala Wai canal by Walter Dillingham’s Hawaiian Dredging Company. Nakamura shows this massive, public-works project was falsely sold to the public as a necessity for ‘health reasons' - to eradicate the mosquito problem. In fact, Dillingham and his political and business allies pushed through the necessary legislation that destroyed the taro and rice farming that was then flourishing in the area. Dillingham owned the only dredge capable of doing the job, and he was subsequently paid an exorbitant fee by the territorial government for his company’s work.



ala wai canal 2003

In 1943

The Ala Wai Canal failed as a means of eradicating the mosquito problem! In August 1943, four cases of dengue fever were reported in Waikiki (they were transmitted by bites from infected Aedes mosquitoes). More than 1,000 people were infected in the ensuing epidemic. On August 8, the military declared a portion of Waikiki "out of bounds": the area bordered by the ocean, the canal, and Ka'iulani Avenue.

In 2003

The canal is currently a seriously polluted body of water.

see article about giant mantis shrimps