Last week my wife and I decided to take a quick retreat to Maui for some relaxation. Of course knowing me, I could not simply sit back with all of the wonderful wahi pana around the island. This is my second visit since starting my interest in Hawaiian history. Here is a link to my first visit parts one and two.
Our fist spot was back at the fresh water spring leading to the ocean. This water source originates deep within Kaua'ula Valley and flows through lava tubes underground finally spewing out here on the shore.
Next we went to Waine'e Cemetery to pay respects to some of the most prominent monarchs in late Hawaiian history.
Kamehameha's high ranking wives Kaheiheimalie, Ka'ahumanu and Keopuolani. The later being the mother of Liholiho (Kamehameha II), Kauikeaouli (Kamehameha III), and Nahienaena. The later also entombed here. After the death of Kamehameha and in hopes of keeping the kingdom together Ka'ahumanu married the last Ali'i Aimoku of Kauai, King Kaumuali'i. He also rests here.
Kekau'onohi, a wife of Liholiho. She was present with Ka'ahumanu and Keopuolani during the ai noa shared eating with man and women. That heralded the fall of the old kapu system religion to Christianity that the first missionaries were bringing a few months later. Although there were many that opposed including Liholiho at first.
Ulumaheihei Hoapili the son of one of Kamehameha's advisers, Kame'eiamoku. But he was also a close personal friend of Kamehemeha. His first marriage was with the daughter of Kahekili II, Kalilikauoha. They birthed Kuini Liliha whom is also resting here. Hoapili married Keopuolani and cared for her children at the death of Kamehameha, he is the one along with Ho'olulu to have hid the iwi of the great chief.
As mentioned in my first visit. Moku'ula was a very sacred place for rulers on the Maui island throughout the generations. It was a small island in the middle of an ancient waterway the mixed fresh water and salt water at an inlet near where the spring from my first image stands, culminating into a fishpond and lo'i by the name of Loko O' Mokuhinia.
The burials of the beloved cheifesses Keopuolani, Nahienaena, and Kaheiheimalie were at first entombed in a humble crypt on the sacred enclosure of Moku'ula. Until being moved to Waine'e Church Cemetery.
Luckily we took the long way around the park on the way back from the cemetery and we bumped into Ke'eaumoku Kapu. He was kind enough to invite us inside of his conference room and show us what he has been working on lately.
Here he is showing off his custom made Ahu'ula by a family that still practices traditional feather cape making. The cape had modern materials in the cordage framing but it was woven traditionally.
Ke'eaumoku Kapu is a chief, which I think he mentioned being related to the Ka'u district chiefs and to Pi'ilani on either side of his family. He participates and is a current chief at events held at Pu'ukohola Heiau in the Kona district on the Hawaii island. He told us about a sham battle that is held yearly during a commemoration event that if I'm not mistaken is during November? Anyhow, he battled a rival chief at the traditional game of wrestling and each of the two participants walked away with a broken rib and the other a broken finger. There are youtube clips of this sham battle recreating how wars were fought between ko'ako'a warriors of rival districts. Spears are thrown and although they are padded at the tip. Sometimes the fighting gets serious and people leave scared, literally. Sounds like a great scar with a story to have though!
I asked to see some maps of the area and Mr. Kapu brought out a map showing prominent wahi pana within the district of Lahaina and compared it to a newer one made by the city and county showing what remains of them. He mentioned that he's a stickler with state and federal dealings with traditional Hawaiian sites because we wants what is best for the sites, and that is to open them up to be visited by those seeking to bring life to forgotten sites.
Moku'ula is on the way to be revitalized. Even having it's own preservation foundation. But the direction the state tends to take revitalization to is to the natural level. To take it to the level of a wildlife preserve would be to ignore the rich history of the people that made the land sustainable and revered.
After leaving the company of Mr. Kapu and having some refreshments at Maui Brewing Co. I recalled something he mentioned earlier. He said that they do walks around the island like that of the makahiki festival. But he also mentioned that he was a part of a group that came to revitalize Keka'a Point in Ka'anapali. More specifically Kahekili's Leap. Not to be mistaken with the same one on Lana'i.
This leap was no joke with a drop of what seemed like four or five stories high. Mr. Kapu mentioned that the group he was in had about 15 participants actually taking the jump off the cliff. This is a slight hill behind the Sheraton. There is no parking so I had to have my wife drop me off and wait in the car while I checked it out. The group did pule to reinvigorate the site here. He hopes it will be opened to native groups to be taken back as a living wahi pana.
At the foot of the hill behind the loading dock of the hotel there is a small cave shelter and a site with a plaque distinguishing it as a historic site.
Here is a small site with a plaque to preserve it and the small 8'x 8' enclosure filled in with small stones often used for leveling platforms in heiau.
The first day ended and we headed out from Kahului. Straight on to a 50 mile drive to Hana the next morning. After filling our stomachs on a non-Maui themed meal in the form of a salad from Whole Foods.
After getting in and out of "the zone" of canyon style touge driving and a lot of ginger chews between my wife and I for motion sickness. We finally arrived at a location I've had my mind on for a long time since reading the stories of Kamakau.
Ka'uiki Hill is a prominent hill next to Hana Bay.
Although its not too high in comparison to other noted fortified hills of ancient times in Hawaii.
Such as Haupu on Molokai where the Hawaiian version of the Helen and Paris of Troy story happened with Kaupeepeenuikauila and Hina. Or Kawiwi in Waianae Oahu where the last monarch of the Kumuhonua line, Haka. Fled after being disposed by the Oahu council of chiefs resulting in Mailikukahi being the first chief to be voted into power from the secondary Mo'ikeha line of Maweke. Later Kawiwi would also be the last refuge for the last rebellion of the Ewa chiefs against foreign rule at the leadership of Kahekili II.
There are a few other fortified hills and even Maui had another one for the rulers at Lahaina at Kahili, near Lahainaluna. Kahili is the stronghold where Kauhi began a rebellion against Kamehamehanui that eventually involved war between all major island rulers for a period of time.
Used as recent as during the shelling of Lahaina by unruly whalers being cut off from native women visiting their ships because of missionary influence. The local chiefs retreated to the shelter on Kahili hill....
There were many battles fought for control of this hill by the chiefs of Maui and Hawaii islands.
The first mentioned was during the battle for power between the two sons of Piilani. Lono a Piilani who was the elder and Kiha a Piilani the younger raised on Oahu and returning only to be abused and was denied rule beside his brother. Kiha wed the daughter of the ruling chief of Hana, Ho'olaemakua. After being denied lands around Hana including Ka'uiki. Kiha went to ask for help with his sister Pi'ikea a Piilani who was married to the ruler of Hawaii, Umi a Liloa.
A massive fleet of canoes were built and within a couple of years Kiha returned to Hana with a large army led by Umi. They had trouble landing ashore at first because of the fighting ability of the Hana chief Ho'olae makua and the use of his skilled throwers of Ka'eleku using smooth 'ala' stones of Waika'ahiki.
At night Ho'olae used another cunning tactic and used a wooden image named Kawalaki'i. It was large wooden model in the shape of a very imposing man. Dressed in war apparel and holding a large club it was brought out and set at the top of the only ladder leading to the top of Kauiki Hill. Then it was removed in the morning before fighting began again and before any lighting could make it out to the enemy as a ruse.
One of the adopted sons of Umi, Pi'imaiwa'a realized that this large warrior was not coming out to fight during the day and thought that it could be a trick. No enemy could approach the hill during the day because of the excellent stone sling throwers guarding the hill. So at night he crept up the ladder and struck the wooden model. It did not move no matter what angle he attacked from. Finally drawing his spear Kahu'elepo, he struck straight at it and it made a thud like sound. Then he said, "the fortress shall be destroyed"...
Here is a a modern ladder built for access to the lighthouse on a small islet in front of Ka'uiki. There is also a small ahu stone platform above it that I am unsure of its significance.
Around the point is a small bay that had very rough swells and I'm sure it is not a good canoe landing or even safe for swimming during these types of conditions.
While walking around the perimeter of the hill on the ocean side. Every position of Ka'uiki hill looked impossible to ascend.
At one point I discovered a rope leading up to who knows where and for what propose but caring for the sites above. I attempted to climb the near vertical cliff, but with only slippers on and my wife waiting back at the harbor. I felt reluctant to go any further and risk falling. This will be one of those moments that I will always look back upon and wish I had climbed that hillside. Hopefully I will get another chance to visit this sacred place with a local guide that will show me the respectful way to approach this site.
The next event on Ka'uiki mentioned by Kamakau is when Ke'eaumoku comes here to seek refuge with his wife, Namahana. The high cheifess and widow of Kamehamehanui. Ke'eaumoku rebelled against Kalaniopu'u and after the battle of Pohaku O Mane'O that was an attack on Ke'eaumoku's fort on Hawaii island. He fled with his mother Kuma'aimoku and the Maui cheifs accepted him because they were related. But when he made a wife of Namahana he angered Kahekili II. He was caught up in a battle against Kahekili during the battle of Kalae'ili'ili and fled to Molokai but Kahekili pursued him and the battle of Kalauonakukui commenced. Nevertheless Ke'eaumoku was still a high ranking chief and although in bad relations with two of the most powerful monarchs of his time. He still held sway with those that acknowledged his rank and family ties. Therefore he and his family was accepted up the step path to the stronghold of Ka'uiki. Then being held by Hawaii Island forces under Mahihelelima. During his time there Ke'eaumoku and Namahana brought Ka'ahumanu into this world.
She was born in a humble cave overlooking the ocean and offerings are still left there by visitors paying respect to the life of Ka'ahumanu.
There are many small caves on the cliffs overlooking the ocean. All of them seem to have burning marks on the roofs of them. I wonder what they were used for. Possibly for the watch out posts of the sling stone professionals...
At the year 1781 Kahekili learned of Kalani'opu'u's death and was determined to take back Ka'uiki hill and the Hana district from the Hawaii forces and the Maui factions that joined them. That mighty hill was out of his grasp almost half a century.
Kahekili II divided his army and they came marching from the Ko'olau side and from Kaupo. Because of the defense of the fortress and their abundance of provisions. The hill could not be taken even after a year of fighting. Finally Kahekili II seeked the help from an old man named Kula'ahola of Oleawa.
Kamakau mentions in his writings that Ka'uiki hill was taken by Umi because the guards fell asleep. Peleioholani was simply given Ka'uiki because the occupants surrendered. In ancient times Kahikopawa took the hill and so did Kahikoleiulu. Although the accounts of how it was done was not preserved even into the time of Kamakau.
Anyhow, Kula'ahola was found and he said,"...Today Ka'uiki seems to us a strong fortress, but from this day it will be as if leveled to earth and no longer a fortified place. Anyone can climb it... The fortress Ka'uiki depends on its water supply. Cut that off and Ka'uiki will surrender for want of water."
So began the cutting off of the streams and springs supplying water for the fortress. Then one of the most dreadful slaughters ever witnessed by people of that era commenced. This was called the battle of Kaumupiko'a
Nae'ole and Mahihelelima are said to have been the only ones to escape to Hawaii island from canoes lowered from the hill. Although the later was killed at Makapala, Kohala.
Sometime after the battle of Kepaniwai, in which Kalanikupule the son of Kahekili II was routed by Kamehameha and his cannon and fled through Iao Valley and escaped to Oahu. Ka'eokulani a brother of Kahekili II and ruler of Kauai through marriage with Kamakahelei, father of Kaumuali'i the last Mo'i of the Kauai line. He set off to Oahu with a foreign gunner known as Mare Amara, Kamehamehanui's son Pe'ape'a, his counsulers, cheifs, paddlers, and even his man eating dogs. He convinced Kahekili II to make war on Hawaii island. They left Kalanikupule in charge of Oahu and they sailed first to Molokai.
Landing where Kamehameha's adviser Ke'eaumoku once lived with Namahana. He set his followers from Kauai to take over the land at Waiehu. They then made a tour of the north end of Maui and Ka'eo climbed the hill of Ka'uiki and twirled his weapon, Kamo'olehua. Then motioned it into the sky as if he was expecting to touch the sky on Ka'uiki. Kamakau's book has a reference that may elude to what Ka'eo meant by this.
The famous demi-god Maui has many superhuman deeds throughout the Pacific. One is that he stood on Ka'uiki Hill and separated the sky and earth allowing living things to grow upwards.
Ka'eo realizes that the sky is not low on Ka'uiki and his weapon cannot touch it. He sees this as a sign and fears that he may not be able to defeat Kamehameha. Nonetheless the battle brought to Hawaii island and the ravaging of Waipio and of the sacred places within occurred.
After the battles Kahekili II and Ka'eo returned to Hana and Pe'ape'a was residing on Ka'uiki hill. Pe'ape'a, a great man of stature said to be able to pull trees out of the ground. Was killed in a mishap when he fired a gun on the hill and a spark fell on a house containing the gun powder. An explosion took place that killed the son of Kamehamehanui.
There is a very small red sand beach on the bay side trail but nothing like the other one on the opposite side...
Kaihalulu Bay is on the opposite side of Ka'uiki. Still surrounded by sharp cliffs and rough ocean. There is a little red rock bay that is possibly one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to in Hawaii. Probably my new favorite beach as far as views go. I even ate a couple of opihi on the red rocks on the far side of the bay. Just to see if there was more iron content in them!
The best part and one of the most magical scenes I've ever witnessed was this Koa'e bird nesting in a cave and periodically coming out to check if there were any fish to be caught in the sea. At one point I saw the Koa'e and many Iwa birds higher up in the sky. I could not capture that image and I'm sorry that my lens could not get a closer look for you. Just know that I could have sat there all day watching the birds and soaking in the view. The trail leading to this side of the hill is not too dangerous. Just enough to keep a large crowd from gathering at the beach...
After that we figured we had a few more hours of daylight and decided to visit Pi'ilanihale Heiau on the way back out of Hana. It is located in what is now known as Kahanu Gardens. One of the largest Ulu plantations in Hawaii. That's about right because Pi'ilanihale Heiau is actually the largest heiau in Hawaii!
We walked to the back side of the park where the ocean is and made our way back toward the heiau to save that structure for the end.
The furthest prominent pohaku from the shore sits alone in the field and stands about three or four feet high and a couple feet wide.
There are relatively small patches of stones gathered in multipe areas around the park. Although some looked like they were a part of the natural setting of the ancient lava flows in this area.
Some of the border walls of the entire complex led straight to the end of the shore as it fell into the ocean. I've never seen that anywhere else.
This small collapsed section in the wall is a very good display of the working of traditional stone stacking, uhauhumu pohaku. The larger stones form the outer sections and lock it in relation to the shape it meets the one next to it. While smaller pohaku form the loose mortar that hold in place the large stones by filling the spaces between. The tighter and less gaps in between rocks the stronger the structure.
This corner stone in the wall surrounding the canoe house looked ominous and called out for attention.
The canoe house is traditionally always open to the ocean with the wall perpendicular to the ocean. So as to easily walk a wa'a straight into or out of the sheltered enclosure from the water.
Here is the second small hale. A place for stone carving
A small hala grove near the ocean. There were trails leading into them but I did not venture.
Finally we get to the walls of Pi'ilanihale Heiau. There is a rather flat topped pohaku that looks to have been used as an offering platform. With ho'okupu offerings there during my visit as well as on the ground in front.
Michael Kolb studied the area in the 80's and analyzed that the heiau structure we see today was built in four phases over several generations of rulers. The first was a small enclosure in what is now the northwest corner of the complex. The second phase filled in a gully in the middle of two ancient lava flows and the builders made stepped walls (I counted seven) finally leading up to a height of 13 meters. The third phase is a superimposed structure in the eastern ridge following the shape of the lava flow. The fourth was finally a leveling of the entire structure.
The following are native fauna used to enrich the park area. Can you name them all?
On the next day we headed straight for the peak of Haleakala. I will definitly return to climb this hill on a bike one day. I promise!
Here is a silversword 'ahinahina. It is the highest growing species of it's kind. Although 'ahinahina can also be found on the shore in other species. There has to be a kumulipo-esk link beween the two!
Three peaks of Haleakala, Mauna Loa, and Mauna Kea
With the last few hours of daylight on our final day. I chose to end at Iao Valley. It is so easy to forget the rich history of this sacred valley. The war of Kepaniwai and all of the lives lost. Also all of the ancient rulers that chose to have their iwi bones hidden in the caves of the valley walls and under and up the waters of Iao...
There were some local youth swimming in the stream and I couldn't resist doing the same. It felt like a blessing to submerge my entire body under the water just, ahhhh chillax...