Mo’okini Heiau

|November 20, 2012 | Photos By J.Yuenger, Travels

North Kohala, island of Hawaii. ” Moʻokini Heiau is one of oldest historical sites in Hawaiʻi and among its most sacred. It is a living spiritual temple and not just a historic artifact of the Hawaiian culture. Oral histories indicate that it may be 1500 years old. Evidence suggests the current temple was built on the site of a smaller older one, by the Tahitian priest Paʻao, who brought the Hawaiian Religion to the islands somewhere between 1100-1300 A.D. “

” The current site includes remains of the temple, measuring 250ft x 130ft, with an open stone paved court enclosed by 20ft high stone walls, and a large sacrificial stone slab. The temple is constructed of stones that are said to have been passed from hand to hand from the Pololū Valley, over 12 miles away. One myth holds that the temple was completed in one night. “

” For hundreds of years, a strict set of rules ( kapu ) were enforced at the heiau. It was a closed temple reserved exclusively for the Aliʻi Nui ( the highest royalty ) for praying and offering of human sacrifices to their gods. In Kohala it was the focus of religious life and order. In November 1978, Kahuna Nui Leimomi Moʻokini rededicated the Moʻokini Luakini to the ‘Children of the Land’ ( kama ʻaina ) and lifted the restrictive kapu. In doing this she made the site safe for all persons to enter the heiau and created a place of learning for future generations to discover the past. Her family has been taking care of the temple for centuries. “

” A few hundred yards away is Kamehameha Akahi ʻĀina Hānau, the birthplace of King Kamehameha the Great. He’s said to have been born here in 1758 as Halley’s Comet passed overhead. “