Respecting Hawaii

2 06 2015

Many visitors that come to Hawaii love the weather, to bask in their holiday time, but forget to explore the richly lived past of the Ancient Hawaiians.

For a more rich experience while visiting the magical Big Island take a walk on the King’s Trail, check out the petroglyphs, visit a heiau, and imagine yourself on the island before all the shoreline development and increased population pressures of modern life today.
Puukohola Heiau National Historical Site
Painting by Herb Kawainui Kane

The massive ruins of Puukohola Heiau are an impressive sight. The founding of the Hawaiian kingdom can be directly associated with one structure in the Hawaiian Islands: Pu’ukohola Heiau.

The temple was constructed to incur the favor of the war god Kuka’ilimoku. Built between 1790-91 by Kamehameha I (also known as Kamehameha the Great), together with chiefs, commoners, men, women and children. As British sailor John Young looked on, the temple was built and dedicated, a chief rival was sacrificed, and the war god Ku was pleased. Kamehameha I waged several subsequent battles using Western military strategy and weapons to extend his control over all Hawaiian Islands. The monarchy he established lasted 83 years, from 1810-1893.

Visit the Lapakahi State Historical Park up the Kohala Coast and walk among the ancient site.

Lapakahi State Historical Park is the archaeological site of what remains of a traditional 14th century Hawaiian fishing community. Lapakahi is one of the best-preserved fishing village in Hawaii. A self-guided tour takes visitors to house sites and a canoe halau (long house); runs through a game area where visitors can try spear throwing, ‘ulu maika (disc rolling) and konane (checkers); and leads to a fishing shrine and salt pans along the rocky shoreline.


Explore the early Hawaiian life of the common people through cultural demonstrations of daily activities, story telling, and self-guided one mile loop walk through the partially restored remains of this ancient Hawaiian coastal settlement. Wear decent shoes and go early if you want to beat the heat, it’s a dry part of the island. This 265-acre park is located along the shoreline of the Lapakahi Marine Life Conservation District. The nearby ocean waters comprise a marine preserve with various activities regulated but great snorkeling. Park gate is open from 7 a.m. to closes promptly at 4 p.m.

Take this the site to heart and you will be transported back to earlier times allowing you to reflect upon the Hawaiian first people.


Hawaii is lovely place, respect the past by treating the island with a reverence for it heritage is a part of being a responsible visitor to the islands. Get out and walk and explore. Pick up any trash you find and remember to live the Aloha Spirit.


Don’t Miss the Ancient Puako Petroglyphs- K’i’i pohaku

10 01 2015

Ancient Hawaiians called their stone art k’i’i pohaku, or images in stone. The k’i’i pohaku are commonly referred to as petroglyphs, this comes from the greek words, “petros” for rock and “glyphein” to carve. The largest concentration of petroglyphs in the Pacific lies within the 233-acre Puako Petroglyph Archaeological District.

This preserve is part of one of the most extensive petroglyph fields in the Hawaiian archipelago. Once difficult to get to, this area is now easily reached via the Mauna Lani Resort. The walk will take you through a kiawe forest and takes about 20 minutes. It can be a hot spot so go early or late but not in the mid-day sun. The rock etchings are scattered throughout an old pahoehoe lava flow.

There are more than 3,000 petroglyphs of all different designs – families; Hawaiian tools; fish; chiefs; fishermen; paddlers and more. . You will see among the ki’i pohaku (petroglyphs), the piko stones used by the Hawaiians to encase their newborns’ umbilical cords in a rite designed to give the child mana (power) and long life. About 80% of the images are cupules or holes, which were used as depositories for umbilical cords at the birth of a child to assure long life. They are also believed to represent the recorded passage of individuals, families or troops, further indicated by circles and semi circles, as well as distinguishing between the people and the Ali’i (royalty). Other images include anthropomorphs, human representations in the form of paddlers, fishermen, runners, surfers, marchers, warriors and chiefs, and also canoes, sails, animals, tools and numerous symbolic geometrics.

The first Hawaiians arrived from the Marquesas Islands as early as 750 AD, and may have brought some of the carving designs with them. All petroglyphs are constantly being eroded by the environment, so physical contact is prohibited to prevent an increased rate of deterioration.

Carved into Pahoehoe lava, these petroglyphs are protected as National Treasures and are an enigma of the Pacific. This site is an outdoor museum, these are ancient treasures; do not touch or damage them. It is likely that many of these petroglyphs were made sometime between A.D. 1000-1800 but their exact age is unknown. The petroglyphs are fragile and can be easily damaged or destroyed – please take every precaution respect and preserve this Hawaiian cultural treasure site.

 Turn Left onto Hwy 19 & go 23.8 miles to entrance for Mauna Lani Resort (left side – between Mile Marker 74 & 73)

  • Turn Left at Mauna Lani Drive & go 1.1 mile to traffic circle
  • Enter Traffic Circle and take first right turn (North Kaniku Drive)
  • Go 0.8 mile on North Kaniku Drive to sign for Holoholokai Beach (right side)
  • Turn Right at sign & go 0.4 mile to beach parking lot
  • The path to the petroglyphs is at the entrance to the parking lot (right side)
  • Note: Open daily 6:30 AM -6:30 pm, restrooms. The trail to the Petroglyph Exhibit is wheelchair accessible.