The Waikiki of today is worlds away from the wetlands, mudflats, fishponds and full-cover bathing suits of 1916. A walk amongst the modern concrete towers of this tourist mecca reveals little in the way of culture or history and even less in “green space”. To a small degree, this will soon change!

rockThanks to the efforts of the Rotary Club of Honolulu, Rotarians throughout the State of Hawaii and the City and County of Honolulu, the only remaining patch of undeveloped land in central Waikiki will soon be transformed from a barren, debris-strewn, gravel lot into an oasis of greenery, education, culture and family activity! This is the story and vision of “Centennial Park”…

Over 100 years have passed since a happenstance encounter between two Hawaii businessmen sailing aboard the luxury liner “Lurline” from San Francisco to Honolulu. The
conversation about a new, community-service organization called “Rotary” enticed both men and ultimately led to the establishment of Hawaii’s first Rotary Club in July 1915.
Today, this club still exists as the Rotary Club of Honolulu.
Since its founding, an additional 49 clubs have been organized and thrive throughout the State. The contributions of these clubs to Hawaii’s children, families and communities are both numerous and impactful. No doubt, our State is a far better place because of Rotary.

The Vision

Centennial Park Features

  • Historic “Roto-Stone” Markers
  • Rotarian-Planted Gardens
  • Elevated “Paul Harris” Performance Lawn
  • Rolling “Grand Lawn”
  • Regal Wrought Iron/Stone Wall Fencing
  • Natural Stone Seating
  • Meandering Natural Stone Walkways
  • Expansive Shade Trees

benchUpon their arrival, visitors to Centennial Park will note the regal, wrought iron/stone wall fence adorning the park perimeter.

Much like the grounds of Iolani Palace, Centennial Park will be encompassed by a protective, yet picturesque, fencing reminiscent of the late 1800’s. This stylish accent will provide security in the evenings and view ability during the day.

Once inside, visitors will stroll the natural stone walkways stopping to read from each of ten (10) engraved “ROTO-STONES” spaced amongst the Rotarian-planted gardens.
Each large stone is dedicated to a specific decade dating back 100 years and tells two stories of historical significance.

The first details the history, accomplishments and growth of Rotary in Hawaii since 1915 plus notable Rotary International achievements made possible by the Rotary Foundation.
The second provides an historical account of important events occurring in the islands as well as an overview of the transformation of Waikiki during this same 100-year period.
The “Roto-Stones” provide park visitors, both local and international, with a knowledge and perspective available in no other venue in the world.

Centennial Park will be a place of vibrancy and culture

The “Paul Harris Lawn”, an elevated, grass performance area, will be the site of Hawaiian Storytelling, Keiki Hula events, Royal Hawaiian Band Performances and many other cultural and educational activities.

headshotIn the true spirit of Rotary, the perimeter garden areas will be prepared and planted by Rotarians from throughout the State under the watchful eye of professional landscaping experts.

A combination of native and introduced species will be selected to provide a lush and colorful groundcover.

The sense of unity in the creation of Centennial Park represents Rotary’s international mission of bringing people together to promote peace, humanity and the spirit of “Service Above Self”.


To donate or offer support toward the construction of Centennial Park please contact Dave Benson or 808-227-9189.  Tax deductible donations may be sent to: District 5000/Centennial Park, c/o Rotary Club of Honolulu, 705  Queen St., Honolulu, HI 96813

Kirk N. Hovious is a Honolulu based entrepreneur and freelance writer. He can be reached at