Aloha Authentic: Puʻukoholā Heiau in Kawaihae

Aloha Authentic

HONOLULU (KHON2) — KHON2’s weekly “Aloha Authentic” segment highlights various roadways across the pae ʻāina so the meaning of their names can be uncovered. 

It is time to bring attention to the northern portion of the island of Hawaiʻi.

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From the ahupuaʻa of Lālāmilo to Kawaihae, which all lie within the moku of Kohala on the island of Hawaiʻi, stands a roadway that leads us to a milestone in ancient history.  

That roadway is Kawaihae Road.

The word Kawaihae can be translated as “the water of wrath,” as people are said to have fought for fresh water as the resource was scarce.  

But this area also shares of another fight, one of leadership and power.  

In 1790, Kamehameha, a chief who ruled a portion of Hawaiʻi island, started to construct a heiau, an ancient place of worship.  

This was on a hill of Kawaihae named Puʻukoholā, and he did this because of a prophecy stating that he would incur the favor of his war-god Kūkaʻilimoku and be able to conquer all the islands if he built the heiau.  

In 1791, just one year later, Puʻukoholā Heiau was completed.  

Stories share that thousands of men formed a human chain up to 25 miles long to toss lava rocks, all to be used in the building of the structure.

By 1810, King Kamehameha fulfilled the prophesy and officially established the Hawaiian Kingdom.

Puʻukoholā Heiau still stands 230 years later as a National Historic Site.  

It was registered back in 1972.  

Did you know?  Now you do!

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