Keaʻiwa Heiau State Recreation Area

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Keaʻiwa Heiau State Recreation Area
Keaiwa heiau woods.jpg
Map showing the location of Keaʻiwa Heiau State Recreation Area
Map showing the location of Keaʻiwa Heiau State Recreation Area
Keaʻiwa Heiau State Recreation Area
Nearest cityAiea, Hawaii
Coordinates21°24′08″N 157°53′59″W / 21.40222°N 157.89972°W / 21.40222; -157.89972Coordinates: 21°24′08″N 157°53′59″W / 21.40222°N 157.89972°W / 21.40222; -157.89972
Area384 acres (155 ha)
Governing bodyHawaii State Parks Division

Keaʻiwa Heiau State Recreation Area is the ruins of a temple (Heiau in the Hawaiian language) at the summit of a hill and neighborhood called ʻAiea Heights on Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi. The recreation area includes camping facilities and a 4.8-mile (7.7 km) trail. It also offers clear views of Pearl Harbor.[1] A possible translation of Keaʻiwa would be mysterious, incomprehensible. It is believed that this name was given in reference to the healing powers of the plants that no one could really explain.[1] In addition, Keaiwa Heiau may have also been known as a "Heiau Hoʻola," or the healing or life-giving heiau according to Mary Kawena Pukui, a native Hawaiian scholar, dancer, composer, and educator.[2]

Erected sometime in the 16th century by Kakuhihewa, the 15th Aliʻi ʻAimoku, or ruling chief, of Oahu[3], the 100 feet (24 m) by 160 feet (49 m) stone temple had walls averaging 4 ft in height and 5 ft in width. The walls consisted of numerous evenly faced one foot stones that are filled with rubble. [4]. Abundant medicinal herbs in the area were used by kahuna as a type of ancient herbal clinic. The kahuna would also train haumana (students) interested in the art of laʻau lapaʻau (healing medicine).[5] The kahuna would also train students in the practice of praying, fasting, and medicinal healing using the neighboring plants. The reputed healing powers of the surrounding plants still draws visitors who leave temple offerings, hoping to experience medicinal benefits.[6]

Most of the trees in the area were replanted during the early 20th century. Although native species can be found at the highpoint of the trail.[1] The remnants of a military airplane that crashed onto the area in 1993 can also be seen from the trail.[7]

The site provides a map for the 4.5 miles (7.2 km) Aiea Loop Trail. Several varieties of trees and other vegetation are enjoyed by visitors who make the trek.[6]

Fees, hours, and facilities[edit]

Heiau State Recreation Area is free to the public.[1]

April 1 to Labor Day: 7 am to 7:45 pm[1] After Labor Day to March 31: 7 am to 6:45 pm[1]

The camping and picnic areas accommodate up to 100 people and come equipped with restrooms and showers. Advance permits must be obtained for camping.[6]


The plaque at Keaʻiwa Heiau

A temple with life giving powers believed to be a center where the Hawaiian kahuna lapaau or herb doctor practiced the art of healing. Herbs grown in nearby gardens were compounded and prescribed with prayer—Commission on Historical Sites

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation Area". State of Hawaii, Division of State Parks. Retrieved August 14, 2018.
  2. ^ [ "Ewa Community"] Check |url= value (help). Kamehameha Schools. Retrieved 2020-04-16.
  3. ^ Keaīwa Heiau State Recreation Area. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  4. ^ McAllister, J (1933). BPBM #104, Archaeological Sites of Oahu, Site 107. Honolulu, Hawaii: Bishop Museum Press. p. 103.
  5. ^ [ "Laʻau Lapaʻau- The Ancient Healing Medicine of Hawii"] Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 2020-04-16.
  6. ^ a b c Bendure, Glenda; Friary, Ned (2006). Lonely Planet Honolulu Waikiki & Oahu. Lonely Planet. pp. 159, 160. ISBN 978-1-74059-990-0.
  7. ^ Eisele, Philip R. (2009). Let's go Hawaii (5th ed.). Cambridge, MA, USA: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 031238579X.

Eisele, Philip R. (2009). Let's go Hawaii (5th ed.). Cambridge, MA, USA: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 031238579X.

External links[edit]