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Search on for bellstone

  • Bethany Freudenthal/The Garden Island

    While cleaning the site, the group uncovered these headstones.

  • Bethany Freudenthal/The Garden Island

    A cement marker designating the Wailua Complex of Heiaus as a registered national historic landmark, was recently uncovered by a cleanup effort at a bellstone site in Wailua.

  • Bethany Freudenthal/The Garden Island

    The group says these two stones are the Solstice stones. The bellstone they say, is missing.

WAILUA — A group of people clearing state land at a bellstone site in Wailua are wondering where the bellstone is.

During the cleanup, Megeso-William-Alan Denis said they couldn’t find the bellstone, which would be more than a century old. A missing bellstone would be considered a significant cultural loss, but one person could probably not carry it away.

“We came here to do our cultural and religious practices to clean up the hale because the state has failed in its fiduciary responsibility to the people, not only to the public, but to the Kanaka Maoli,” Denis said.

The site, he said, is one of the most sacred parts of the hale for the Kanaka Maoli. The bellstone was rung to announce the birth of a child or to warn citizens of a pending danger, such as an attack or a tsunami.

According to historical records, the Kauai bellstone near ‘Opaeka’a Falls is a rock formation that was built by the natives long ago to honor a historical or significant event. The rocks were placed so that a certain sound would be made once they were struck.

Bellstones can be found on all the main Hawaiian Islands. A bellstone in Kauai is reported to be located just off of Highway 580 in the Wailua area. The two boulders of bellstone are supposed to be located about 100 feet past a guardrail, but the group said the bellstone isn’t there.

A visitor to Kauai last year searched for the bellstone and posted this comment:

“On a previous trip to Kauai I was able to walk to what I think was the bellstone, and on to an overlook with a primitive metal pipe fence around it overlooking the Wailua River.

“I just got back from another trip there, but it looks like tons of lava rock has been dumped along the route and has been overgrown, making it impossible to walk or find the location. Am I just misremembering, or has the path been purposely blocked to hide the bellstone from tourists?”

The group also found large boulders and sand they say were dumped at the site.

“This is all one big hale. This is a continuous hale all the way down to the birthing rock. We cannot get to the birthing rock from this location any longer. So to block that access was to block again, the spiritual rights of the Kanaka Maoli people,” Denis said.

He wants to know what the federal government is going to do about any violations and who would be held accountable for them.

In the meantime, he said, they’ll continue cleaning the area.

“But we’re limited with equipment so it will take us a long time. The bellstone needs to be returned to the rightful spot, the whole area needs to be redone, cleaned over, because it is their fiduciary responsibility,” he said.

There are believed to be more bellstone sites on Kauai.

The group’s expectation is for the site to be fully restored.

In a statement to TGI, Hawaii Department of Land &Natural Resources Senior Communications Manager Dan Dennison said, “This matter is under investigation and we don’t comment on matters that are under active law enforcement investigation. Once the investigation is complete we may have something to release.”

16 Comments
  1. Uncleaina March 20, 2018 6:24 am Reply

    I’d love to hear about news that doesn’t involve this same group of people – these are more of the Coco Palms campers who’ve now decided to camp on State land up by Opaekaa falls. Is this all Bethany reports on? So… Was there a bell stone? Who knows? Honestly if no one remembers then how “culturally significant” can it be? I guess they’ll have to occupy this site next to make sure they stay in the headlines. I’m just tired of seeing homeless looking people walking up kuumoo road. DNLR needs to reclaim the park.


    1. Pootunui March 21, 2018 8:03 am Reply

      Yes, DLNR and DOT need to clean up that area. But, the bell stone has not been there since the 1920s or 30s because Andrew Kane took it and eventually gave it to Mrs. Guslander at the Coco Palms Hotel, anyone who worked there knows this. After Iniki, it was eventually taken to the Kauai Museum where it is prominently on display in the main gallery, actually the first display you see when you walk into the gallery. Very bad reporting. The GI is becoming a joke, so sad because that’s all we have here on Kauai. These new reporters need to get it together and learn who to trust with information. Not pono. Aloha.


  2. manawai March 20, 2018 7:52 am Reply

    I bet I can tell who moved that stone away. The same people who proclaimed themselves konohiki and said they malama the land leaving their oil-leaking junked cars and kāpala there. It’s probably in someone’s backyard; an example of out-and-out theft.


    1. Pootunui March 21, 2018 7:59 am Reply

      No, cannot be blamed on these guys… The stone was taken from the side of the Wailua river hill in the 1920s or 30s by Andrew Kane, who later gave it to Mrs. Guslander at Coco Palms. Anyone who worked with Mrs. G knows this. And, it is currently on display at the Kauai Museum. Never missing! The reporter should have done her homework! Do not believe the GI any longer, their fresh-off-the-boat lady reporters like to sensationalize and take everything out of context. Not good for anyone, and no need. But the bell stone is not missing!!!! Aloha.


  3. CHRIS HOPPER March 20, 2018 8:52 am Reply

    OH WHERE,OH WHERE are the true hawaiians of the recent sitin at COCO PAKMS ? Should they not protect & preserve all our bell stones ETC ?? HMMM I sure wish they would do this work to prove to all of us they are true thro & thro, CHRIS


  4. coolio March 20, 2018 10:54 am Reply

    The “group” of people saying they are cleaning up there are the same homeless squatters that were trying to live for free on Coco Palms land and now they have moved up to the Bell Stone area to live…If any cleaning is being done it is they can squat there and live for free…”cleaning the area” is just a way for them to live as squatters on the land for free…Everyone knows…Just call it like it is…We all saw what their “cleaning” looks like from the opala they left at Coco Palms…Real “Stewards of the land”…


  5. harry oyama March 20, 2018 11:32 am Reply

    The State has always neglected its duty to respect Hawaiian artifacts. I remember in high school we used to ring the Bell stone that produced a deep pitched tone by hitting with another rock in a certain area. It was quite large, maybe a little over 5 feet tall and just as wide, so probably weigh at least a couple hundred pounds.


    1. Pootunui March 21, 2018 7:54 am Reply

      Where was that at Mr. Oyama? The Bell Stone was at Coco Palms as anyone that worked their with Mrs. Guslander will tell you. It is at the Kauai Museum now on display as soon as you enter the gallery. You would have thought the reporter would have done her homework…. ‘Awe!


  6. Derek and Kim Ozment March 20, 2018 4:14 pm Reply

    In the book “Ancient Sites of Kaua’i” by Van James, it says the bell stone has been missing since the 1930’s (page 64). Is this not the bell stone in question?


    1. Pootunui March 21, 2018 7:52 am Reply

      Van James is mistaken, I know him. He was given bad advice. The Bell Stone is on display at the Kauai Museum. It was at Coco Palms for many years after Andrew Kane gave it to her; he found the stone in the 1920s or 30s and kept it at his home for many years before giving it to Mrs. G. IT IS ON DISPLAY AT THE KAUAI MUSEUM. This reporter did not do her homework and should not be relying on self-called Spiritualists who believe they know all the history, and other uneducated angry people that think it is their kuleana to take care of Wailua… ‘Awe!


  7. MisterM March 20, 2018 4:43 pm Reply

    Homeless bums on welfare using any excuse to squat

    “But we’re limited with equipment so it will take us a long time…”

    I bet.


  8. te March 20, 2018 5:59 pm Reply

    Wow… some of the most biased reporting ever… DLNR placed those rocks because people were driving around the gate to party there. What gives these folks the right to “clean” up the area. Seems like they are just moving from one “free” spot to another.


  9. Dakine_Kekaha March 20, 2018 7:31 pm Reply

    There was a bellstone located there. That is the truth and history of the area which is a sacred area. Many heiau on the journey from the river mouth up to Waiale’ale. “Uncleaina”…you are tired of seeing the local homeless. Well, they probably tired of seeing and hearing you, too. I was there a few years back specifically looking for the bell, but was so disappointed, the shrub and bush overgrowth was overwhelming. I was wondering why the area was being abandoned in upkeep. I am happy to hear any group is now cleaning it. As far as Coco Palms, that is not my kuleana. Those who feel they need to voice their opinion on what is not their business, no matter how wrong those may have gone about handling the situation, your words are disgusting. I know and feel the ill behavior from certain groups of people towards locals and Hawaiians. From way back in history, It’s the root of the issues causing the problems today. It’s the cause of disparity, distrust, anger for many. There are always folks who come to the islands, think they are better than others. Please show the Aloha, dignity, empathy, respect to others and always forgive. Gotta forgive those who trespass against us.


  10. Pootunui March 21, 2018 7:46 am Reply

    This story did not do their homework. Van James is also wrong in his book, and the current “occupiers” have not stolen the stone. The Wailuanuiahoano pohaku kani WAS FOUDN IN THE 1920S by Andrew Kanes who kept it at his home for many years. He eventually gave the stone to Mrs. Guslander at Coco Palms, where she would ring it every year on Debora Kapule’s birthday. Ask anyone who worked at Coco Palms and they will tell you the stone is not missing. After Iniki, the stone was taken to the Kauai Historical Society and held in the vault for a few years for safe keeping. It is now on display at the Kauai Museum. This reporter should have done her homework and not relied on fresh off-the-boat spiritualist and other people who choose selective history for their own benefit. Not pono at all. Aloha.


  11. Pootunui March 21, 2018 8:14 am Reply

    And no, bell stones are not found on all the islands, nor elsewhere that we have found throughout Polynesia. There is one in Maui that we are aware of, and many on Kauai (one of Kaahumanu’s high chiefs, Huleia, came to Kauai and Maui to destroy all the idols after Kaahumanu lifted the kapu. He broke the stone, as well as a total of 12 bell stones on Kauai (pohaku kani; and many of these stones are in Hanapepe and elsewhere on the west side) and Huleia threw the broken Wailuanuiahoano pohaku kani over the cliff toward the Wailua River. This history is recored in the archives which you can access on-line or at the Kauai Historical Society, or look at the stone on display at the Kauai Museum for several years now. the stone was at Coco Palms for many years with Mrs,. Guslander who would ring it every year on Debora Kapule’s birthday in August. Anyone who worked at Coco Palms can tell you this. GI – PLEASE DO YOUR HOMEWORK before you listen to fresh-off-the-boat spiritualists who say they know everything about Hawaiian religion (no on does! even the Hawaiian religious experts would never claim this!). Bell stones are really unique to the island and culture of Kauai, not the other islands. Not sure where this “Denis” guy got his information, but he is incorrect in so many ways. Too bad Bethany got sucked into his “history.”


  12. Megeso March 22, 2018 4:49 pm Reply

    The information comes from state archives, tour guides, local practitioners, etc. The Bellstone in Lihue, by their own admission has not been authenticated. This desecration and lack of fiduciary responsibility violates one of many statutes on the books. Most specifically Title 18, Section 247 which is titled Damage to Religious Real Property. The statute reads (a) Whoever, in any of the circumstances referred to in subsection (b) of this section—
    (1) Intentionally defaces, damages, or destroys any religious real property, because of the religious character of that property, or attempts to do so; or
    (2) Intentionally obstructs, by force or threat of force, any person in the enjoyment of that person’s free exercise of religious beliefs, or attempts to do so;
    (a) Shall be punished as provided in subsection (d).
    It also violates Title 18, Section 249, which is the Hate Crimes Prevention Act (Discrimination & acts of genocide). The Bellstone Heiau site It is of extreme importance to those of us who are interested in spiritual and cultural sites, and their significance, worldwide. It is also important for religious & spiritual history buffs in search of the truth of the history we were taught, or led, to believe, including annexation. Most of the people, at the Bellstone Heiau, doing the cleanup, are Not homeless.


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