Wailua Heiau Complex

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Photo: Joel Bradshaw

Location: The Wailua River, Kauai, Hawaii, USA

Official Listing: State and National Registers of Historic Places

Who Considers it Sacred? Native Hawaiians

Significance: This worship area, traditionally taboo and reserved for royalty, is located on Mount Wai’ale’ale, one of the most sacred areas of Hawaii. The complex fell into disrepair after the conversion of many natives to Christianity. A public restroom and a sugar cane railway marred the site (though were later taken down), and rocks from the site were used to build roads nearby. In 1988, Na Kahu Hikina A Ka La (Keepers of Hikinaakala and Poli’ahu Heiau) was formed to preserve the Wailua Valley sites. This group has done much to clean and curate the site, and to educated the public of the site’s importance.

The Threat: Commercial development; Neglect

Preservation Status: The Wailua Complex of Heiau, including Hikinaakala, Kaleaokamanu, Malae, and Poli’ahu Heiaus, as well as the birthstones of Pohaku Ho’ohanau and Pohaku Piko, is listed on both the State and National Registers of Historic Places

For More Information: Site Saver Newsletter Volume X, Number 2, Winter 2000

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