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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, November 16, 2002

New Hope ministry buys Moloka'i's Pau Hana Inn

By Karen Blakeman
Advertiser Staff Writer

Moloka'i's Pau Hana Inn, in its heyday the rural island's Hawaiian-style Cheers with hotel rooms, was purchased yesterday by New Hope International, an arm of New Hope Christian Fellowship.

DeGray Vanderbuilt of the Pau Hana 'Ohana Foundation sought to keep the Pau Hana Inn in business.

Advertiser library photo • April 8, 2001

New Hope, which paid $850,000 for the property, plans to use the inn as a religious retreat center, executive pastor Elwin Ahu said.

It will be used by New Hope churches throughout the state, as well as those on the Mainland and in several other countries.

The Pau Hana Inn was Moloka'i's primary center for nightlife for more than five decades. In December 1998, leaseholder Moloka'i Beach Ltd. canceled its insurance coverage on the facilities and closed the doors. Although residents made several attempts over the years to rescue the rustic seaside hotel and Banyan Tree Terrace bar and restaurant, none were successful.

"Most of our parents and grandparents met there," said Matthew Adolpho, a member of a community group that tried to revive the Pau Hana.

"It's a landmark," said Moloka'i physician Emmett Aluli.

"It had live bands and dancing. Local people and visitors — everybody got there. It was big enough. It was affordable and fun."

"If it's for a Christian cause that's applaudable," Aluli said of the deal with New Hope. "I hope it has a focus on the community."

The Pau Hana Inn sits on nearly six acres. Its six buildings include 40 guest rooms and a restaurant — soon to be converted to a dining hall. The focus will be on New Hope congregations, but Ahu said plans are also under way for programs to serve the community.

The deal with New Hope closed before lunch yesterday, said Harold Edwards, senior vice president of Moloka'i Ranch, which owned the Inn.

"Several escrows have come and gone, and we're obviously happy that this one closed," Edwards said. "It definitely needs some loving care."

The deal has been in the works since October, Ahu said.

Music and entertainment, once key factors in the hotel's 50 years of successful operation, might enjoy a New Hope incarnation at the retreat center.

"One of our ideas is a retreat for Christian songwriters," he said. "I could see local artists attending — there are a lot of local musicians who are Christians. We could have a free concert for the community."

Refreshments, Ahu said, would not include the intoxicating variety.

Ahu said the church plans to meet with community leaders on Moloka'i to develop other programs targeted toward the community.

"There will be marriage enrichment retreats, and the community could become involved with that," he said. "There will be leadership retreats, youth camps, sports clinics and maybe rope courses to build individual and team confidence."

New Hope is headquartered on O'ahu, with offices on Sand Island. Its main church services are held at Farrington High School. The church, started in 1995 by Senior Pastor Wayne Cordeiro, has expanded to 36 sites across Hawai'i, the Mainland, Samoa, the Philippines, Myanmar, Finland, and Japan. Cordeiro's sermons are delivered by videotape at branch locations.

New Hope has also been negotiating for several months toward the purchase of the Japanese Cultural Center.