Mookini Heiau State Monument, Hawaii Island
Name: Mookini Heiau State Monument
What: 1500-year old, sacred temple. Birthplace of King Kamehameha is nearby.
Where: Driving towards Hawi, at the Upolu Airport sign, turn left on the unmarked dirt road. Follow it roughly 2 miles.
Over 1500 years old, Mookini Heiau State Monument is one of Hawaii’s oldest and most sacred historical sites. A heiau is an early Hawaiian religious temple, and Mookini Heiau was also a luakini heiau, or a temple of human sacrifice. This hallowed site located in North Kohala on the northernmost tip of Hawaii Island should be treated with great reverence.
A short walk south and you’ll find another revered Hawaiian site. A sign that reads, “Kamehameha Akahi Aina Hanau,” in front of a thick stone wall marks the birthplace of King Kamehameha I, Hawaii’s greatest king. Do not walk on the rocks or remove them. This is an area that Hawaiians and others consider to have great mana (spiritual power), so visitors should treat both sites with the utmost of respect. While you’re here, be sure to take a short drive west to the small town of Kapaau to see the original King Kamehameha Statue.
Note: The October 15, 2006 earthquake caused some damage to the heiau and the Kamehameha Birthplace, but both may still be visited from the outside.