Kukaniloko Royal Birthing Stones

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Location: Island of Oahu, near the town of Wahiawa, Hawaii

Who Considers it Sacred? Native Hawaiians

The Site was Saved From: Development, which included a 2007 proposal for an 18-hole golf course and 3,100 homes and a more recent proposal to build 50-70 homes with large lots dedicated to agriculture. So called “Estate Farms” are rarely farming entities and this would have allowed further subdivision.

Background: The site is surrounded by a 1,750-acre parcel of land known as the Galbraith parcel that was once a pineapple farm. The heirs of Galbraith tract explored many options for divesting themselves of the land.

The Preservation Solution: The Galbraith heirs, working with the Hawaii director of the Trust for Public Land, agreed to sell the land for conversion into many small farms ensuring that the birthing stones would retain their natural environment.

Cultural and Sacred History: The birthing stones are believed to have been used by royalty in the 12th through 17th centuries. Birth on the sacred stones at Kukaniloko ensured the child would be blessed by the gods. Royal women would give birth against these stones to assure regal status for their offspring. This was considered essential to confer royal status and maintain royal lineages. After birth, the child was taken to a nearby heiau, Ho’olonopahu, for purification rites and the cutting of the umbilical cord by Kahuna’s or priests. Sacred chanting and drumming would announce the royal birth.

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