A rare surviving frame church from the missionary period, Haili Church follows the well-recognized New England church form. Its classically inspired, symmetrical facade displays four pilasters supporting a pedimented gable, which is itself surmounted by an inset, graduated, square bell tower. The pair of stained glass windows flanking the altar dates from 1908.
The Hilo congregation was formed in 1824 and was the ninth Congregational church established in the Hawaiian Islands. The present building was the fifth to be constructed by the congregation, with the initial buildings being of thatch construction. Stone was first considered for this edifice; however, because of seismic concerns, timber was used instead. The name of the church derives from the forest where the wood used for construction was gathered, Haili Kulamanu, or “Paradise of the Birds.”