Aloha and Good Morning everyone in the Hawaiian Life community. How are you all doing today? Hope you had a great weekend. I did. Had a wonderful birthday with my family! I am sooo blessed. Today I'm writing about the largest Hawaiian temple on Oahu, the Pu'u o Mahuka Heiau. A Senior Chief Petty Officer in the Navy, Tony Chance who is the Senior Enlisted leader for all the Navy Seebees in the Pacific, and his Command, are volunteering their time and are going to help out the caretaker of the heiau and clean up the grounds. He contacted Mike and I was honored to do an article on such an important part of Hawaiian history...
*Hidden Hawaiian Treasures... The History of Pu'u o Mahuka Heiau*
Nestled snug on two acres of land on the North Shore town of Pupukea on the gorgeous island of Oahu, is a site that is overlooking the hilltop of the beautiful Waimea Bay and Waimea Valley. A national landmark and registered state historical site! Its name Pu'u o Mahuka Heiau! Translated it is referred to as the hill of escape. This particular heiau, which is a Hawaiian temple, is the largest on Oahu and isn't your typical tourist attraction. It is actually one of Hawaii's hidden treasures and has a history that is quite fascinating dating back to the 17th century! The Pu'u o Mahuka Heiau played an important role in the social, political and religious system of Waimea Valley, a major center of Oahu in the pre-contact period!
It is possible that the village was constructed in the 1600's. It is a series of three walled enclosures, the stacked rock walls range in size from three to six feet high and it was the highest that may date back to the 1700's. The lower two maybe perhaps were added during the 18th century. The interior surface was paved with stone, and it would have been built by the maka'ainana, which were the commoners, under the direction of the ali'i nui, who was the high ruling chief and his kahuna, the priests. The upper platform functioned as a heiau and was a sacrificial temple to bring success to war.
Under Oahu's Chief Kahahana in the 1700's, the high priest Ka'opulupulu oversaw this temple (heiau). There was upheaval in the political sense. Religious ceremonies were conducted by the high priest Hewahewa, who was under King Kamehameha I, who conquered Oahu in 1795. Hewahewa performed the traditional religion at the sacrificial temple until it was abolished in 1819. With the commanding view on a ridge of the beautiful Waimea Valley, signal fires from this temple could be seen 100 miles away on the gorgeous island of Kauai and provided visual communication between the two islands.
When Captain George Vancouver anchored his ship, the Daedalus in 1792, off Waimea, he sent a party ashore to collect water. A battle ensued with the Hawaiians and three of Vancouvers men were killed! Many have suggested over the years that the men were taken to Pu'u o Mahuka Heiau for sacrifice based on findings from the ancient Hawaiians. As time went on, Russians and Alaskan Aleuts based fishing and whaling activities out of Waimea Valley. Many descendants of the original residents of Pu'u o Mahuka live in nearby North Shore communities. There is even a smaller village with reconstructed Hawaiian arts and cultural events located in the heiau.
Recent archeological research indicates several changes in the structure of the Heiau over time. Initially the heiau consisted of the upper enclosure paved with a floor of basalt and coral boulders. Later on a paving of small stones known as 'ili'ili was laid over the boulders. The altar area to the east held the anu'u, the oracle tower., ki'i images and tele altar, a small version remains, where offerings are still left to this day. At the oracle tower religious services were conducted, and the gods spoke to the kahuna and ali'i. The original structure measured 20 feet or greater in height!
In 1962 in recognition of impotance to Hawaiian culture and history, the Pu'u o Mahuka Heiau was declared a National Historic Monument. The property was placed under the jurisdiction of Hawaii State Parks. There are other tours of other Hawaiian sites of authentic homes and heiau's that are conducted by the resident archeologist, who is a native Hawaiian, at the Waimea Valley Park below the cliffs of the heiau. There are spectacular views of the sunset on clear evenings on this amazing (hill of escape)...
I hope you enjoyed this piece of history. There are soo many buildings and landscapes of importance all over the world that just need a little (TLC) tender loving care. Sometimes it just takes one person or two to make a difference that can have an everlasting impact... In this case, on Hawaiian culture so it is preserved for generations to come... Don't forget our Store Front has lots of merchandise to choose from at Hawaiian Life including items with our Logo right on them. You can also get items with Mikes inspiring quotes... Our Fan Page at Facebook has Tiki's, that are free to a good home, just waiting for you ... help yourself... send them to family & friends... make someone smile... Be good to each other and have a great week... ;-)
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Video on the Pu'u o Mahuka Heiau:
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Until next time, Mahalo!