Restoration of Hawaiian sacred sites bringing history to life - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Restoration of Hawaiian sacred sites bringing history to life in Kona

Tommy Hickcox Tommy Hickcox
King Kamehameha I King Kamehameha I
King Kamehameha II "Liholiho" King Kamehameha II "Liholiho"
Larry Kuamoo Larry Kuamoo
Keala Ching Keala Ching

By Malika Dudley - bio | email

HILO, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - If you've been to Alii Drive in Kona, chances are you've seen the heiau. The Ahuena Heiau has been a fixture at King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel for over thirty years.

"The site is believed to have been built in the 1500 by umi lau loa the site itself encompassed a very large portion of Kamakahonu which is the area that we're on now," Tommy Hickcox said.

It was originally built as a luakini or sacrificial heiau but took on a new role with the arrival of King Kamehameha.

"When Kamehameha finally united the islands, he returned to the big island and settled here in Kona he then rededicated this particular heiau and from there forward it became his personal heiau."

The Halemana, was where King Kamehameha would meet with his advisors.

"He also used this for the education of Liholiho, who was the heir apparent to the throne."

An important part of history that over time was lost to the elements.

"The original structure that was built here was conceived in the early 60's, with the community members becoming active in wanting to rebuild the heiau."

Corner stones were located in nearby waters by prominent archaeologists. The heiau was rebuilt, in part, by using these stones but the effects of time and nature, over thirty years, did this to the structure, it was time to rebuild.

"I was asked to come here to rebuild this building here at Ahuana Heiau.I was offered to use regular American made scaffold but I don't think that was appropriate for the area," Larry Kuamoo said.

Larry Kuamoo built a traditional frame to dismantle the old structure and rebuild the new one. Traditional notches and thatchings are used to hold the hale together, while the discarded wood, isn't just thrown in the dump.

"Because people would step on it, we want to pay this with respect, great respect, so we burn it and we cast it to the sea. We didn't want to lose that legacy so we want to rebuild it and maintain it."

Just a few.miles away, the Keauhou Beach Resort is undertaking a similar effort. cultural director, Kumu Keala Ching explained the importance of keeping the culture alive.

"We're in a time of discovering what has been lost. Our people left this information so that we can move our waa our body, our canoe, to move it forward. Our people were very akamai, smart to be able to navigate based upon these heiaus, so the reconstruction was to help to bring the energy from the land to encourage our children to learn of the past," Ching said.

Two heiau are under re-construction in the Keauhou-Kahaluu area. Keeku, on the left and Hapai Alii to the right. Since their inception in the 1400's, each heiau has evolved - holding different roles and meaning through history.

"We are able to help to educate on the multi purpose of these temples."

Both resorts are creating cultural programs to teach tourists and kamaaina alike the history, culture and importance of these sacred sites.

"These temples are reconstructed to help us to remind us to learn about who we are."

Keeku and Hapaialii heiau

Ahuena heiau

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