Hilo’s Naha Stone originated on Kauai

The 2.5 to 3.5 ton Naha Stone, located in front of the Hilo Public Library, was originally situated by the estuary of the Wailua River, Kauai, near the Hikinaakala Heiau, which is estimated to have been constructed as early as the 1300s AD.

In about 1405 AD, the Naha Stone was placed upon a large, double canoe by Makaliinuikuakawaiea, the high chief of Kona, Kauai, and shipped to Hilo, where it was landed at Hilo Bay and transported to the Kaipalaoa Heiau.

By circa 1856, Kaipalaoa Heiau was completely destroyed, with the exception that the Naha Stone and a smaller boulder, the Pinao Stone, remained in place at the heiau site.

Mr. J.A. Scott eventually acquired the property upon which the Naha and Pinao stones lay, and for many years thereafter the stones rested in the back garden of his home, until they were moved in 1916 with his permission to the site of Hilo Public Library, then located on a corner of Keawe and Shipman streets.

After the present Hilo Public Library was built in 1951 on Waianuenue Avenue, the Naha and Pinao stones were transferred to its grounds, and in 1962, they were relocated to the front of the library.

Although the Naha Stone was not a sacrificial stone in old Hawaii, it was used in ceremonies related to the birth of chiefs and it was believed that whoever could move it would become the first king to rule all the Hawaiian Islands.

When Kamehameha I was about 20 years old, he visited the Naha Stone, where a prophetess exclaimed: “If you succeed in moving Naha Pohaku, you will move the whole group of islands. If you change the foundations of Naha Pohaku, you will conquer the whole group.”

Legend has it that Kamehameha did move the stone without assistance, and declared, “I have moved Naha Pohaku and I have changed its foundations. I will conquer the whole group,” which he accomplished by 1810 through military force and diplomacy.

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