Honolulu publisher Thrum locates Kauai heiau

Honolulu publisher and amateur archaeologist Thomas G. Thrum, accompanied by Kauai tax assessor J.K. Farley, located 75 heiau scattered throughout Kauai from Polihale to Haena during a visit that concluded on Sunday, July 8, 1906.

Those 75 heiau, when combined with heiau previously found on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island, brought the total number of heiau accounted for up that time in the Hawaiian Islands to about 240.

All of the heiau Thrum visited were in ruins, with only a few still in fair condition and with no two being alike.

Every shape of heiau — round, oblong, square or L-shaped — known in the construction of heiau was located.

The Hauola Heiau in Hoea Valley near the Knudsen home at Waiawa — a platform of two divisions measuring 136-by-179 feet — was in the best condition of all.

Malae Heiau at Wailua, measuring 273-by-324 feet, with buttressed corners, a portion of which had been destroyed by Queen Deborah Kapule, was the largest.

Thrum noted that the heiau at Polihale — which was built for devotion to Laka, the Goddess of Hula, and was used for ceremonial rites up to the time of King David Kalakaua — showed evidence of current usage as well, for little mounds of recently placed stones were piled up on the edges of two of the heiau’s four terraces, which run back 104 feet into the cliffside.

Thrum pointed out that the heiau at Haena Point beyond Kee Beach had also been devoted to Laka.

Also of interest was the Kaneiolouma Heiau in Koloa, at 102-by-180 feet in size, containing three terraces with inner rooms or divisions varying from 10 to 36 feet, with rear walls 11 feet thick and 8 feet high.

On what is now the grounds of the Lae Nani Resort at Olohena, Thrum noticed that Kukui Heiau featured paved passageways about 4 feet in width within each wall.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.