It seems that the vast majority of heiau are close to the ocean, or otherwise more associated with agriculture (mapele) and governance (luakini) and thus in the wao kanaka (realm of people) close to the coast or in the zones of human activity. The Wao Akua (upland realm of the gods), itself sacred, seems not to have been chosen often for siting heiau.

Ka'awako i ka wekiu o Wai'ale'ale (e nana i na pauku ko'a ko luna)

There are some exceptions though, such as the small platform called Ka'awako near the summit of Wai'ale'ale, or the heiau devoted to la'au lapa'au, Keaiwa in the wao nahele (forest zone) of 'Aiea. There is Pu'u o 'Umi, far inland on Moku o Keawe. But these seem the exceptions. What other wahi pana with built sites are you familiar with that are located far from the wao kanaka?

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Aloha kaua,

Mahalo ia oe for your share. I have never heard of Kaawako and have a deep interest in laau lapaau so mahalo for your thoughts and your beautiful picture.

I am no expert at wahi pana nor recognizing the different wao. However, there is a commonly visited place that may fit the type of sites you are describing. There is a trail called the Likeke Trail in Kaneohe Oahu that starts off the old pali road and continues along the base of the Koolau up until you reach the Likelike Highway, an area frequented by maoli and tourists alike. Although the continued development of Oahu has probably brought kanaka closer to this area, I do believe that this area would be more of a wao nahele. The kupuna who actually first took my friend and I there suggested that the wailele along the trail may be Hiilaniwai, definitely a wahi pana of Kaneohe, and one related to akua and healing. Further along the trail however she took us to an area that probably most tourists do not notice, because of the deep shade cast by towering mango trees. These trees are all planted around the edges of some rock structures that look like walls. She thinks that these are remains of a heaiu, but like many heiau that may have been destroyed throughout the colonization of these islands (by kanaka maoli and malihini alike) we can never know for sure the existence of them except through word or mouth or by recognizing other things, like laau that may reassure us. However I have been in that area more than once when it has been shrouded in clouds and mist and have felt the presence of akua.

This is the first time that I found out that when many heiau were destroyed in the early 1800s many kahu or kahuna of these areas planted mango trees in these sacred areas to mark the wahi as pana even though the rock structure may have been obliterated. Since this experience a few years ago I have since been told this same thing by other kupuna and practitioners. On this same trip we also went back into Lulumahu in Nuuanu where a kupuna had showed this kupuna some rock structures that were marked by huge, more like gigantically tall, laʻi, but again these areas may not be recoreded or known by kanaka today except by the laau that marks them as wahi pana.

Anywho, mahalo for your thoughts and your beautiful picture. Iʻve actually read many of your blogs in different groups and have enjoyed them.
E kala mai e Mahealani, o ka heiau ma Aiea ka i hoolaa 'ia no ka la'au lapa'au. o kela heiau/ko'a ma luna o ka wekiu o Wai'ale'ale, he mea no na akua ki'ohu'ohu paha, wahi a na moolelo...
'Ae, aia ma na wahi pana, ulu pinepine na laau manako, lāʻī, a pela aku. Ke ulu keia mau mea ulu Hawaii, he hoailona o ka nohona Hawaii kahiko...
I just had the opportunity to visit a heiau up in Ka'u. The person who took us there told us it was named Imakakoloa, a hula heiau. From where we stood, the tops of Puu Makanao mä could be seen on our right left as we looked down towards the ocean.

Are you only thinking heiau? What about the uprights on Mauna Kea? Or the adze quarry? There are also uprights on Mauna Loa.

These are the only sites that I know personally inland ... you're right though, that most sites are closer to shore.
Mahalo for the mention of uprights and other structures on the high alpine and subalpine places. I have seen several of these, in Kahuku (Kona), Keanakako'i (Mauna Kea), and other places. It seems the very high and the very low have some of these sites, but the in-between, forested wao don't have as many OR they have been swallowed up by the forests once again. Even so, there are few mentioned in moolelo, Ka'u and its rain god (Kumauna) shrine, and the heiau atop the pu'u of Ninole, as you have seen. and Ka'awako on Wai'ale'ale. It seems sometimes that if you mapped by elevation, you would get a huge peak from 0-500 feet, a scattering of blips between 500 and 9,000 fet, and then another set of sites in the vicinity of the highest peaks. It is those in-between ones I am very interested in. dedication to hula and la'au lapa'au make a lot of sense, since those are both forest-related. I have never run into any dedicated to cano-building, though one might think this would also qualify...
aloha nō kākou,
Mahalo ʻia kēia mau mea! Do you folks know anything about Kanahau or Kaʻanahau heiau on Olomana? Some friends and I visited there after reading the Hiʻiaka story. We saw, sadly, a big tree trying to split open one of the big remaining pōhaku. I've meant to organize some folks with a chainsaw to go up there and cut it down --it's about 20 feet tall.

Anyway, today this heiau also seems to be in a wao nahele, although in the moʻolelo the man Kaʻanahau is the kahu and lives there.

ke aloha,
Aloha e Noenoe:
Mahalo no kau leka. When you say on Olomana, do you mean atop it? or high on its slopes? or perhaps nestled at the base of it? It strikes me that Olomana would be along several of the trails running through the region, being adjacent to both Kaelepulu and Maunawili loʻi areas, so not quite as remote as some. Was Kanahau relatively intact when you last saw it? Kanahau is supposed to be related to Hiʻiaka in some way, isnʻt it? I seem to recall it was a place she stood upon a large boulder, named for her...
aloha e ʻOhu,
ʻAe, it was a heiau associated with Hiʻiaka. He was a man that lived there, too, and fed her lūʻau until she was so full she had to laugh, so of course she fell in love with him. There was and is a pōhaku Hiʻiaka there but I am not sure which one it is.

The heiau is off the trail that horse riders use now just ma uka of the old Kalanianaʻole Highway, between where the correctional school is and the end of that road towards Waimanalo. Just ma uka of where Keolu drive meets the highway. itʻs pretty easy to walk to once you get in there.
It strikes me then, that this heiau Kanahau in ancient times would have been just mauka of the loʻi systems, perhaps a mapele overlooking them, and thus within the realm of the wao kanaka. Once the agricultural fields were diminished by the terrible fall of Hawaiian population, and the movement to urban centers, these fields would have converted to fallow, forested lands. From your description of location, it was easy to find the heiau on Google Maps, using the satellite image view, and zooming in on the locality. Hoihoi loa! One can do the same with Ulupo and Pahukini heiau.
mahalo a nui,
How many ancient Heiau oe alters(ahu) are there still on Mauna Kea bra?


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