Unless you have lived or are from Pauoa, you may not have even heard about the small, lush neighborhood.
It is not as well known as other famous nearby valleys like Manoa and Nu'uanu, but it is no less magical and has its own distinct character.
Click here to watch Cam Tran's report.
Pauoa is hidden right outside of Honolulu, just a mile from downtown, and is tucked between Pacific Heights and Papakolea.
“When I think of Pauoa, it’s a really special place. It’s a small close knit community tucked in a nice little valley,” said Sean Tajima, Pauoa Elementary School principal and Pauoa resident.
The nice little valley is full of lush greenery, tall trees and colorful flowers.
The frequent rain fall is an average of 150 inches a year and keeps the Pauoa Stream flowing.
The valley's natural beauty inspired local musician and Pauoa native Kaipo Hale to write a song dedicated to his hometown.
Pauoa was once covered in taro fields and home to a large Hawaiian population. In fact, Pauoa Elementary is one of the state's oldest schools and was opened 150 years ago to cater to the population.
“It started off as a Hawaiian immersion school where everything was taught in Hawaiian and at some point it became an English teaching school,” said Tajima.
The school's most famous alumnus is former U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka.
Akaka was born and raised in Pauoa on Akaka Lane, a street carrying his family's namesake.
Another well-known family who lives here is the Aikaus. Eddie Aikau spent his formative years growing up on a three-acre cemetery plot.
Now, Pauoa consists mostly of single family homes with Booth Park at its center.
The old Lau Poo Market, a grocery store, is now a credit union and the land where a shoyu and ice factory was located has been turned into homes.
With those businesses gone, only a dozen are left standing; one of them is Lynn's Saimin and Cookie Shop.
The 30-year-old restaurant is known for its cheap Hawaiian food and popular homemade cookies, which give people a big smile every time they walk out the door.
“It’s like heaven in your mouth,” said Healani Soon, a Pauoa resident. “I really love the cookies, the best cookies ever.”
Linda Brown, the owner, makes the cookies from scratch every Saturday and don’t expect to find any if you don't get there by midweek.
“These cookies are good. They are made with love,” added Soon.
There's also another hidden gem in this valley, one you'd easily pass if you didn't give a second glance.
Inside a cemetery off Auwaiolimu Road lies a garden that once belonged to Queen Lili’uokalani. Even though there is a historic marker on the side of the road, the garden is so isolated that residents don’t know it’s there.
“Uluhaimalama is sacred ground because it was given to the people by Queen Lili’uokalani on Oct. 11, 1894. This was the year after the overthrow,” said Karl Veto Baker, a fourth generation Pauoa resident.
Baker says the garden became an icon for those who supported the monarchy after the provisional government took over.
“Most people don’t realize at the time Hawaiians couldn’t gather. They would be arrested,” said Baker. “After it became a garden it was so iconic for the people. They could come and visit and have a good time. They came here and uprooted all the plants that were planted and then it became a graveyard.”
Eventually weeds and tall grass overtook the garden and it was in complete disarray. That is until the Halau I Ka Wekiu came in ten years ago and cleared out the garden.
Halau members replanted trees following the Queen's original design.
“We’re sitting underneath this Kukui tree. There’s this one here and another one over there and Kukui is for enlightenment, that light and positivity,” said Michael Casupang, Halau I Ka Wekiu leader. “There’s pili grass, the works. Pili means to be close; that pili she had with those people.”
That close bond is something those who live in Pauoa share to this day.
When you mention Pauoa to people who are from the valley or went to school in the valley, their eyes light up and it’s something about it. They know it's a hidden secret and gem and it is something special.
“Don’t give the secret that Pauoa is the greatest place to live,” said Rex Freitas, a fourth generation Pauoa resident.
People from Pauoa say they are extremely proud to be from here. It is a very special place. It is centrally located. It is peaceful and quiet and they hope to keep it that way.
Click here for Part 2 of the Where You Live: Pauoa where we introduce you to the Aikau family and how Eddie and his siblings grew up in this valley that is so dear to their heart.
Click here for photos of Pauoa.