• The Sacred Hale o Keawe Heiau Protects the Pu'uhonua

    Pu`uhonua O Hōnaunau

    National Historical Park Hawai'i

Keōua Stone

Keoua Stone

Keōua Stone

NPS Photo

This large rectangular stone is located within the Pu'uhonua resting on the north side of 'Ale'ale'a Heiau. The stone is 12.5 feet long, 2 feet wide and 2 feet thick, and has been extensively shaped to its current symmetrical form. Local tradition states that Keōua, a high chief of Kona, slept on this stone while his men were out fishing. A natural rust-colored concavity at its western end is where his head rested, while his feet were said to reach the opposite end, making him the same height as the stone. Posts placed in the surrounding holes may have supported a coconut leaf canopy, providing a shady resting spot. Some have also suggested that this stone may have been one of those described by Kamakau concerning the king 'Umi-a-Līloa who ruled over the island in the early 1600's. This tradition indicates that 'Umi requested that large blocks of lava be dressed and prepared for use in the construction of a grand mausoleum for him. He died before the structure was built, but several unfinished stones from locations around the island have been identified as those to be included in the construction of the mausoleum.

Did You Know?

Ki'i standing guard over at the entrance to the Pu'uhonua

Did you know that Kamehameha I died in 1819? Soon after his death, the kapu system and old religions of Hawai'i were discontinued. The sanctuary at Pu'uhonua o Hōnaunau is the only preserved refuge site that you can visit today.