Hawaii Map

Kukaniloko Birthstones State Historic Site

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Hawaii, USA
Island: Oahu


Description: Kukaniloko Birthstones is one of the most significant cultural sites on O'ahu. This significance was recognized in the listing of the site on the National and Hawai'i Registers of Historic Places. A 5-acre parcel encompassing the site was acquired by the State of Hawai'i in 1992 and placed under the jurisdiction of State Parks to preserve and interpret this important historic site.

The site is managed and maintained through a partnership between State Parks, the Hawaiian Civic Club of Wahiawa, and the Friends of Kukaniloko. Additional support for interpretive efforts at the site has been provided by the Wahiawa Hospital Association and the Wahiawa Community and Business Association in commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of Wahiawa (1998).

These uplands were a place where chiefs were born, where famed chiefs lived, and where key battles for the control of O'ahu were fought. The royal birthsite of Kukaniloko and the associated Ho'olonopahu Heiau (temple), now destroyed, were within the Waialua district. Nearby was Lihu'e within the lands of Wai'anae Uka. Lihu'e was a noted royal center of O'ahu between A.D. 1400-1500. The chiefs of this area were called Lo chiefs who preserved their chiefly kapu by living in the uplands of Waialua.

As a chiefly area, several heiau were built on the slopes and in the gulches of the Wai'anae Range facing the Wahiawa Plateau and along the shoreline of Waialua. The numerous streams and the rich agricultural soils of the Wahiawa Plateau supported extensive fields of sweet potato and yam.

Major trails crossed the island and intersected near Kukaniloko. The Waialua Trail ran from Waialua through Wahiawa to 'Ewa. The Kolekole Trail from Wai'anae crossed the Wai'anae Range and joined the Waialua Trail near Kukaniloko.

Wahiawa is translated as place of rumbling. It is said that Wahiawa is where thunderstorms, the voices of the ancestral gods, welcomed an offspring of divine rank. Being the center of O'ahu, Kukaniloko is also symbolic of the piko (navel cord) and thus, birth.

Services: Trash cans, interpretive signage, no drinking water

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