Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Kukaniloko is considered to be the very center of the Hawaiian culture. As a person and a nation, one can come here and directly be in contact with the past, present, and future of Hawaii. Only royalty were allowed in the area of Lihue. High ranking Ali'i were born here, and the privileged were brought here to learn aspects of Hawaiian culture such as navigation. So much can be said about this district that I have not the knowledge to share.

After walking in from the roadway you will come across two large stones followed by thirty-six smaller stones welcoming you, a privileged visitor of the present times. Had a commoner even stepped on this land in the old times, they'd be put to death immediately. The larger stones represent where the father of the baby would wait as his counterpart was in labor over the birthing stone. The thirty-six stones were placed here in the present day but represent the visiting Ali'i from various districts that came to show respect and maybe even be appointed as guardians over the newborn child.

These stones are also placed here during modern times.

This stone has a bowl that could have been used to collect water. Possibly for viewing the stars.

This stone was pointed out by Tom Lenchanko in a video about the area, as a representation of the head of a canoe. During navigational instruction, the head would sit here and point out the many things going on during sea faring but from the safety of remaining on dry land. Whether the other stones coincide with actual navigational points is yet to be understood in present time. Although there is one stone here that has the physical appearance of the island of Oahu which is situated near this one. 

This is the birthing stone of Kukaniloko. The retainers or Kahuna trusted with the ceremony of childbirth would have carried the mother over this stone as two straddled the stones for leverage supporting her and two more at her feet kept her off of the ground. Finally, another would receive the child just at childbirth. She would have never touched the ground from the time she arrived to this area possibly not even touching the birthing stone itself.

This is the main attraction here in present day. Although I see Japanese tourist grasping and leaving lei on another rock nearby that I have heard no mo'olelo about. This stone has two piko or holes carved into it with rings circling them. Water is used to have them appear more clearer, as I will always do as much as I can to other stones that I come across with markings. It also has ridges that can be used to read the shadows marking the movement of the sun and moon throughout the year. Lining up the two piko will give you a north and south reading, and the two most prominent ridges will give you west and east. Mind blowing!

The smaller circle is a bit harder to see in the center of this image. I tried to get both piko lined up pointing north.

This was the stone Tom Lenchanko suggested was originally meant to be stood upright and the bowl would have been used for star tracking and navigation instruction.

This stone is the one that looks like the island of Oahu. The ridges on this one match the Waianae and Koolau mountains. The bowl in the center would be where Kukaniloko is situated on the island. 

Another angle of this stone. Would we call it the Oahu stone? There already is an Oahu stone, the Oahu Nui stone of legend. It stood at the old boundary of Waikele and Wahiawa in Wakakalaua Gulch. It was visited by travelers around the island and it was said that, "if you have not seen the Oahu Nui stone. You have not seen the entire island of Oahu." That area near Helemano housed the ancient royalty of the island once but also contains stories of cannibalism. One legend connects that practice with one member of royalty as well. Which may be the reason the Oahu Nui stone and another called Aikanaka's Stone Platter in Waialua may have been lost to history. The Oahu Nui stone was pointed out in maps that had already contained paved roads like Kunia road and Kamehameha Highway coming near to it but during a survey conducted for construction in Mililani Mauka in present day, the Oahu Nui stone is noted as not being in the spot where it was supposed to be located in and lost. The idea that there is this stone now sitting here at Kukaniloko that resembles the island and in the nearby district was said to be an Oahu shaped stone is puzzling. I may need to seek further investigation on this topic by someone willing to help me out. Google and books do not reveal this secret.

Kukaniloko "to anchor the cry from within"
This can be interpreted in so many ways. In visiting this area and researching it, I have found new questions and learned more things about Hawaian culture that may take me another step toward what one might consider as being a Hawaiian.

1 comment:

  1. Aloha, mahalo for sharing your adventures on your blog. Regarding Oʻahunui, I was wondering why people now say it is on Waikakalaua? Iʻd heard that Oʻahunui was on the south fork of Kaukonahua stream and disappeared long ago. Who showed you the stone on Waikakalaua? Iʻve also heard that nearby to Oʻahunui was a stone named Oʻahuliʻiliʻi, but I donʻt know anything more about it. Iʻm born and raised in Wahiawā so this is all very interesting to me. - Noah Gomes