The flat rocky peninsula of Kalaupapa has been inhabited for nearly one thousand years, over which time people built with an abundant supply of rock. A'a and pahoehoe lava rocks were the primary resource used to construct land dividers, heiau, house sites, fishponds, walls, tools, and weapons. Hawaiians' reliance on pohaku, or stone, developed a worldview and spirituality which esteemed rock as something much greater, something imbued with its own spirit and life force.
Today, miles of these historic rock walls stretch across the landscape of Kalaupapa National Historical Park, some built by the earliest Hawaiians and some built more recently by Hansen's disease patients exiled to this remote peninsula beginning in 1866. Many of these historic rock walls have fallen into disrepair over the decades, having been toppled by extreme weather, animals, and the growth of aggressive invasive plants.