Wailua River

Hikinaakala Heiau

brochure Wailua River - Hikinaakala Heiau
WAILUA AHUPUA‘A The Wailua ahupua‘a (traditional land division) ran from Mt. Waiale‘ale to Wailua Bay. The Wailua River runs the length of the ahupua‘a for a distance of 11.8 miles. The ridges of Nounou and Kälepa divide the ahupua‘a into the makai (seaward) portion called Wailua Kai and the mauka (upland) portion called Wailua Uka. Wailuanuiaho‘ano, translated as the great, sacred Wailua, refers to the lower portion of the Wailua River basin and is named for an ali‘i who lived in the 14th Century. WAILUA COMPLEX OF HEIAU The Wailua Complex of Heiau was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1962. Consisting of Poliahu Heiau, Hikinaakalä Heiau, Kalaeokamanu Heiau, and Malae Heiau, these heiau denote the religious and social significance of the Wailua ahupua‘a to the history and culture of both Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i. Other sites within this historic complex are the royal birthsite at Holoholokü, the petroglyphs at the rivermouth, and the bellstone. Wailua River State Park was initially established in 1954 in recognition of the outstanding scenic and wilderness character of the Wailua River along with the significant historical, archaeological, geological and other scientific values. The heiau sites were included in the park in 1962 to promote preservation and public awareness of these important cultural resources. HIKINAAKALÃ HEIAU WAILUA COMPLEX OF HEIAU STATE OF HAWAI‘I Department of Land & Natural Resources Division of State Parks PRESERVE HAWAI‘I'S PAST FOR THE FUTURE Wooden kiçi (image) from Kauaçi Artwork by Frank Fellhauer A 10/97 AWAI TE KS H I Traditionally, food items were left as offerings at a heiau. Please do not wrap or move rocks and do not leave items such as coins, incense, or candles as they cause long‐term damage to this fragile resource. ST Wailua and Waimea were the two royal centers on Kaua‘i prior to Western contact. These royal centers were the political, religious, and social centers for Kaua‘i's paramount chiefs (ali‘i nui) who resided at these sites for much of the year. Certain areas, such as the heiau, were set aside exclusively for the ali‘i and priests. The maka‘äinana (commoners) supported this royal compound by farming the agricultural fields along the river, harvesting the inland fishpond, and fishing the ocean waters of Wailua Bay. The traditional Hawaiian religion was abolished in 1819 and missionaries arrived in 1820. Debora Kapule, former wife of Kaua‘i's king Kaumuali‘i, was an early convert to Christianity. When she lived in Wailua in 1830s, she is said to have used some heiau as animal pens. Today, these heiau are important reminders of Hawai‘i's past and a valuable link for the Hawaiian community to their cultural heritage. Special recognition is given to Nä Kahu Hikina A Ka Lä, a community volunteer group, for their hard work and dedication as the curators of Hikinaakalä Heiau. PA R Wailua River State Park Kaua‘i A CHANGING LANDSCAPE This site area has undergone many changes in the past 700 years. Believed to be one of the early sacred sites of Wailua, it was converted to a secular use when the traditional religion was abolished in 1819. Hikiniaakalä as it may have looked in the 1700s. E ala e Ka la i ka hikina I ka moana Ka moana hohonu Pi‘i i ka lewa Ka lewa nu‘u I ka hikina Aia ka la E ala e Awake O sun in the east From the deep ocean From the life in the ocean Climb to the heights To the sky above In the east There is the sun Awake Pualani Kanakaçole Hikinaakalä is translated as the rising of the sun. It is here that the rays of the sun rising in the eastern sky off Wailua first greet the shore of Kaua‘i. For centuries, the dawn was celebrated with prayers and chants at Hikinaakalä. The walls of this large rectangular enclosure encompass an acre of land at the mouth of the Wailua River. The walls were once described as 6 feet high and up to 11 feet wide on the southern wall. Today, you see only the parallel row of large, upright boulders that formed the foundation for these once massive walls. The labor force required to move and erect these stones attests to the power and authority of the ali‘i (chiefs) and their kähuna (priests) who oversaw the construction of such a site. Traditional history suggests that the site may have been built as early as the 1300s. The large size of this site suggests its importance but little is known about its function. Might astronomers have come here to mark the changing of the seasons by the rising of the sun on the horizon? What structures might have existed within these walls? Was there an entry through the wall? A row of wooden ki‘i (images) were placed outside the walled enclosure and faced the rivermouth. These ki‘i with their arms of kapa cloth watched over the site and were said to sway and tilt while being washed by the waters of Wailua. HAUOLA Hauola (dew of life) is the name passed down from ancient times for this place at the mouth of the Wailua River. Traditional history records a pu‘uhonua (place of refuge) located here where one could escape punishment and find safety during times of war. The boundaries of this pu‘uhonua may have changed over time and as a chiefly area, it could have included much of the Wailua ahupua‘a (traditional land division). The religious center of Hauola was this site called Hikinaakalä. NÃ KI‘I PÕHAKU (PETROGLYPHS) The river and ocean currents remove the blanket of sand that covers the boulders along the riverbank. When exposed, you can see the ki‘i pöhaku (petroglyphs) marked on these stones. Created many generations ago, the meaning of these human, fish, and geometric images is uncertain today. Sometime after the petroglyphs were made, the boulders were used as grinding stones. The smooth surfaces on the boulders are reminders of those who came here to sharpen, shape, and polish their adzes. These stone tools were lashed onto a handle and used for woodworking. In the 1700s, the walls of the site enclosed the sacred area. These massive walls were 6 feet high and 11 feet wide. A row of wooden ki‘i (images) known as ka pae ki‘i o Wailua stood near the river and watched over Hikinaakalä. When the traditional Hawaiian religion was abolished, structures within the walled enclosure would have been destroyed. Sometime later, a house was built and a garden of sweet potatoes and coconut trees was planted within the walls. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, many rocks were removed and used in roadbeds. Only the foundation stones of the once massive walls remain today as reminders of the site's importance.

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