Official Hawaiian blessing kicks off project to restore part of Waikiki Beach

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Busy Waikiki Beach near the Duke Kahanamoku statue. Beach Maniac Photo

A $2.3 million project to replenish the sand along a 1,700-foot shoreline of Waikiki Beach kicked off with a formal Hawaiian blessing ceremony. Officials began the project – which runs from the Duke Kahanamoku statue to the area between Royal Hawaiian and Sheraton Waikiki hotels – by symbolically passing sand from the water to the beach.

The sand replenishment project is expected to take about 60 days and occur during the winter months to take advantage of calmer ocean conditions in the winter. The state is contributing $1.5 million for the project, and Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and Kyoya Company will provide $500,000 each. Kyo-ya Hotels and Resorts owns the Moana Surfrider and other Waikiki hotels.

“Through this public-private partnership, we will take care of Waikiki beach for all people of Hawai‘i to enjoy,” Governor Neil Abercrombie said earlier in the year in announcing the project. “This partnership is a great example of being innovative and collaborative in moving forward with our New Day Plan.”

Approximately 24,000 cubic yards of sand will be recovered from offshore deposits located 2,000 feet offshore, and pumped to the shoreline where water will be removed and then placed along the beach. The project will widen the beach by about 37 feet, restoring the beach to its approximate width in 1982.

“I was born and raised in Hawai‘i and I remember going to Waikiki Beach as a young boy,” said Kyoya Executive Vice President Ernest Nishizaki. “We believe it’s important to restore Waikiki Beach for long term use by residents and visitors. This is a great time and opportunity to partner with the state to see that our shared goal is accomplished.”

To minimize impacts to beach users, the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources will work on the project in stages so most of the beach will remain open for public use. In 2007, DLNR’s Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands pioneered this technology for beach replenishment by successfully pumping 10,000 cubic yards of sand from the same offshore deposits to three sites on Kuhio Beach. This $475,000 pilot project allowed the state to restore a high-value recreational beach for public use, and the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association in 2008 named Kuhio Beach in Waikiki as winner of its Best Restored Beach Award.

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