Country Profile


Missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serving in northern California were assigned to begin preaching in Polynesia in 1850. In February 1851, the first convert was baptized in Hawaii. By August, there were five congregations with 220 members. A meetinghouse was built in Pulehu on the island of Maui in 1852. This structure still remains today. In 1854, Lanai became the designated gathering place for members, where a colony and plantation began.

The Church purchased land at Laie for a colony, sugar factory, and schools. The Church College of Hawaii (now BYU—Hawaii) opened in September 1955. In 1963, the Polynesian Cultural Center opened to represent the various South Pacific cultures. These structures, in addition to the temple completed in 1919, bring international attention to the Church.

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