Kona District, Hawaii


Kona District, Hawaii

Kona is the name of a "moku" or district on the island of Hawai‘i in the State of Hawai‘i. In the current system of administration of Hawaii County, the "moku" of Kona is divided into North Kona District ("Kona ‘Akau") and South Kona District ("Kona Hema"). The term "Kona" is also used to refer to its largest town, Kailua-Kona. Other towns in Kona include Kealakekua and Honalo.

In the Hawaiian language, "kona" means leeward or dry side of the island, as opposed to "ko‘olau" which means windward or the wet side of the island. In Hawai‘i, the Pacific anticyclone provides moist prevailing northeasterly winds to the Hawaiian islands, resulting in rain when the winds contact the windward landmass of the islands - the winds subsequently lose their moisture and travel on to the leeward (or "kona") side of the island. "Kona" has cognates with the same meaning in other Polynesian languages. In Tongan, the equivalent cognate would be "tonga"; for "windward", the associated cognate would be "tokelau".

Prior to the arrival of Captain James Cook in 1778, "Kona" was the name of the leeward district on each major island.

The volcanic slopes of Mount Hualalai and Mauna Loa in the Kona district provide an ideal microclimate for growing coffee. Kona coffee is considered one of the premium specialty coffees of the world.

Kona is perhaps best known as the home of the world-famous Ironman Triathlon World Championship held each year in October in Kailua-Kona, Hawai'i and is broadcasted worldwide.

References


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