Pu'u o Mahuka Heiau State Monument

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Puʻu o Mahuka Heiau
Ruins of mahuka heiau.jpg
Main platform at Puʻu o Mahuka Heiau
Pu'u o Mahuka Heiau State Monument is located in Hawaii
Pu'u o Mahuka Heiau State Monument
Nearest cityHaleiwa, Hawaii
Area2 acres (8,100 m2)
Built17th century
NRHP reference #66000292[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPOctober 15, 1966
Designated NHLDecember 29, 1962[2]

Puʻu o Mahuka Heiau State Historic Site on the North Shore of Oʻahu is the largest heiau on the island,[3] covering 2 acres (8,100 m2) on a hilltop overlooking Waimea Bay and Waimea Valley. Puʻu o Mahuka means 'Hill of Escape'. Hawaiian legends have it that from this point, Pele (Volcano Goddess) leaped from Oahu to the next island, Molokai. From its commanding heights, sentries could once monitor much of the northern shoreline of Oʻahu, and even spot signal fires from the Wailua Complex of Heiaus on Kauaʻi, with which it had ties. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1962, when it became the center of a 4-acre (16,000 m2) State park. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.[4]

The highest of the three walled enclosures may date to the 17th century, with the lower two enclosures perhaps added during the 18th century. These were times of great conflict, and the upper platform appears to have functioned as a heiau luakini (sacrificial temple) to bring success in war. During the 1770s, the overseer of this heiau was Ka'opulupulu, the high priest of the last independent high chief of Oʻahu, Kahāhana. In 1792, George Vancouver's ship, HMS Daedalus, anchored near Waimea Bay to collect water. Three men in his shore party were killed in a skirmish with Native Hawaiians, and may have been taken to the heiau as human sacrifices. After Kamehameha I conquered Oʻahu in 1795, his high priest Hewahewa led religious ceremonies here and the heiau remained in use until the traditional kapu system was abolished in 1819.[4]

The first new moon after the Pleiades (Makali'i) as seen from Kaena Point, rising out of Pu'u o Mahuka Heiau just after sunset, mark the beginning of Makahiki, the four months of Hawaiian New Year.

The site can be reached from Pupukea Homestead Road (Highway 835), which starts at Kamehameha Highway (Highway 83) across from Pupukea fire station.



  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23.
  2. ^ "Puu O Mahuka Heiau". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-07-04.
  3. ^ Fournier, Rasa. "Hiking Puu O Mahuka Heiau". Hawaii.com. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Hawaii State Parks: Oahu: Pu'u o Mahuka Heiau State Historic Site". Retrieved 2010-01-09.

Coordinates: 21°38′41″N 158°03′43″W / 21.64472°N 158.06194°W / 21.64472; -158.06194