The town of Kīlauea was formed in 1863 by Charles Titcomb who purchased the entire ahupuaʻa from Kamehameha IV. Initially the land was utilized for cattle ranching, however Titcomb, who by then was a long time, reputable sugar grower and agriculturist in Kōloa and Hanalei, started a rudimentary sugar plantation here in Kīlauea. In 1877 Titcomb sold the ahupuaʻa and also leased some other portions of his holdings to John Ross and E.P. Adams. The partnership then formally started sugarcane growing operations that would eventually become the plantation known up until its end in 1971 as Kīlauea Sugar Plantation Company. Though the plantation work was extremely arduous with low pay, the struggles they experienced during that time created a tight-knit, diverse community with close relationships that have endured until today. With the closing of the plantation, the town demographics began to shift as its population slowly grew. Realizing that Kīlauea was one of the last “small towns” of its kind on the island of Kauaʻi, its old-time residents from the plantation days as well as their descendants began to express growing concerns about the loss of the community’s interconnectedness and pride in place that made Kīlauea so special.
In 2015, Kīlauea residents, Kellen and Līhau Paik began hosting an annual holiday concert that was free and open to all Kīlauea residents. That first year, the event was held in the couple's front yard and roughly 300 people attended. The couple was stunned by the positive response from the town's residents so the following year, plans were made to move the event to a larger venue that could accommodate more people. Kīlauea Christmas 2016 was held at the nearby Anaina Hou Community Park and despite wet weather, nearly 500 people attended. The Paiks partnered with the Kīlauea Neighborhood Association and the Kauaʻi North Shore Lions Club for support, and raised money from community members and local businesses to cover costs. Feedback from the community, while positive, encouraged a change of venue back to Kīlauea town so Kīlauea Christmas 2017 and 2018 were located at Kīlauea Park, in the heart of the town. In 2018, roughly 1,000 people attended and the success of the event sparked an interest and a desire within the community to have more free, family-friendly events to encourage fellowship between the rapidly changing community members. With the support and encouragement of both the Kauaʻi North Shore Lions Club and the Kīlauea Neighborhood Association, KAULANA KĪLAUEA was born.
The organization is led by Līhau Paik, and board members include long-time Kīlauea residents Gary Smith (President) and Gary Pacheco (Treasurer). The board is rounded out by Kīlauea Plantation descendant Shelley Paik (Secretary), who currently lives in Kapaʻa but maintains strong ties to the Kīlauea community.
As the physical and demographic landscapes of small communities on Kauaʻi change, the need to raise awareness about the culture and history of these towns build and strengthen our community becomes more apparent. The purpose of Kaulana Kīlauea is to build and strengthen the community of Kīlauea, Kauaʻi by educating residents about the town’s unique history and culture while promoting promote a feeling of fellowship among residents. Supported by the organization’s events and services which promote the sharing of common attitudes, interests, and goals, Kaulana Kīlauea will endeavor to contribute towards the fulfillment of this need.