Stop 5 Pu`ukohola Heiau
Figure 1. Pu`ukohola Heiau. (Photo by Shandi Siegl)
The Pu`ukohola Heiau (Fig 1) is located on the northwestern coast of Hawai`i. It's dimensions are 224' by 100'. This Heiau was dedicated to the war God Kuka`ilimoku who needed human sacrifices to be appeased. It was built to fulfill a prophesy made from Kapoukahi, a powerful kahuna [or sorcerer], that said the war would end if Kamehameha constructed this heiau (National Park Service 2009). There was a visitor/learning center that had very good information and handmade tool replicas of what the natives would have used in that time period. This Heiau took a year to build with stones carried from the Polou Valley; “up and over Kohala Mountain” by way of a human chain that was “25 miles long” (National Park Service 2009). It was constructed with sediment and rocks on the inside while smooth, nicer looking rocks made up the outer cover. Its form was a “massive terraced and walled hilltop platform built of mortar less, water worn lava rocks and boulders … it contained walls on each end and the landward side [leaving] the side toward the sea open,” (National Park Service 2009). During the construction process everyone was required to help build with the single exception of the King’s brother, Keali'imaika'I. Afterward its completion it was “only accessible to priests and chiefly classes,” (National Park Service 2009).
Stop 5 Royal Village
Figure 2. Beach of the Royal Village. (Photo by Shandi Siegl)
It is said that if one could flip the Naha stone, that they were qualified to rule. The Hawaiian people thought that only those of royal blood had the ability to flip it but it was proven false when Kamehameha I fulfilled a prophecy and flipped the Naha stone becoming the new King after Keoua (his rival) was murdered in 1791 (National Park Service 2009). This happened in Pelekane (Fig 2), a royal village which later became a popular English port and currently still has ruins dotting along the black sand beach. (featured on left) The European ships played a huge role “in the importation of foreign goods, the distribution of local products, and the spreading of new ideas and mores during a time of great chance for the Hawaiian people,” (National Park Service 2009). Vancouver , captain of the Discovery, noted that “the village consisted only to straggling houses of two classes…residence of the inhabitants were small, mean, miserable huts; but the others, allotted to the purposes of shading, building, and repairing their canoes, were excellent in their kind, (National Park Service 2009).
Pu`ukohola Heiau Obtained National Historic Status
Figure 2. Entrance sign to the learning center. (Photo by Shandi Siegl)
Pu`ukohola Heiau became a Historical Landmark in 1928 by the Hawaiian Territorial Government . “The Queen Emma Foundation donated 34 acres of land in 1972” surrounding the Heiau and the John Young Homestead helped turn it in to a National Historic Site (Fig 2) (National Park Service 2009).
Stop 5 Mailekini Heiau
Figure 3. Mailekini Heiau. (Photo by Shandi Siegl)
The Heiau built before Pu`ukohola is the Mailekini Heiau (Fig 3). It was built before Kamehamehas time and was utilized by him as a fort with cannons to defend against incoming ships.
Fig 5. Drought visible in the Royal Village. (Photo by Shandi Siegl)
Today it is cloudy on the land with mostly clear skies in the ocean. There is a gentle breeze with tall trees and tall grasses that are home to what sounded like many chirping birds. Day/Night temperatures range from 90F/70F in summer and 70F/50F in winter (National Park Service 2009). Most of the grasses that had sprouted out of the volcanic rock had an unhealthy gray look to them, it made sense when I discovered that “Kawaihae is considered the driest place in Hawai’i, receiving six inches of rain,” (National Park Service 2009). It also doesn't help that the island is on it's eighth year of drought. The effect of the drought is clearly noticeable by the color of the grasses in Fig 5.
Stop 5 Hale O Kapuni Heiau
Fig 6. The bay the Hale O Kapuni Heiau is buried in. (Photo by Shandi Siegl)
In the bay (Fig 6), which is not advised as one to go swimming in, there is a submerged temple dedicated to the shark god twins Uukanipo (National Park Service 2009). Its name is Hale O Kapuni Heiau, there was a stone chair on it so that the current chief could sit upon it and feed his favorite sharks. Today it is common to see black tip reef sharks swimming around, we did not see any but instead sighted the tips of two manta rays wings go in and out of the water. The temple can no longer be seen due to the “construction of the Kawaihae Harbor in the 1050s, as well as tsunamis,” (National Park Service 2009).