Designed to complement Aliiolani Hale, this modest two-story government office building is constructed of reinforced-concrete blocks and incorporates such Italian Renaissance Revival elements as a balustraded parapet and the use of different arched openings for each story. Originally designed for government record storage, the building was immediately claimed for office space. In 1930, a wing was added to the building's southeast side and connected by a recessed, central entrance corridor. The round-arched, original mauka entrance bears the motto of Kalakaua's reign, “Ho‘oulu Lahui” (Increase the Race). The name “Kapuaiwa” means “the mystical/profound taboo” and honors King Kamehameha V, being one of the sobriquets given to the earlier monarch. It is also the name bestowed upon his royal coconut grove on Molokai.
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