Wailua River State Park

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Wailua Complex of Heiaus
Pōhaku Hoʻohānau (birthing stone) and Pōhaku Piko (umbilical stone), Holoholokū Heiau
Wailua River State Park is located in Kauai
Wailua River State Park
Wailua River State Park is located in Hawaii
Wailua River State Park
Nearest cityWailua, Hawaii
Coordinates22°2′41″N 159°20′14″W / 22.04472°N 159.33722°W / 22.04472; -159.33722Coordinates: 22°2′41″N 159°20′14″W / 22.04472°N 159.33722°W / 22.04472; -159.33722
NRHP reference No.66000297
Significant dates
Added to NRHPOctober 15, 1966[1]
Designated NHLDDecember 29, 1962[2]

Wailua River State Park and the Wailua Complex of Heiaus, which it includes, are located on the eastern side of the Hawaiian island of Kauai. The park consists primarily of the Wailua River valley, which is the only navigable river in Hawaii. Visitors to this park can kayak, take riverboat cruises and explore the rainforest. Even motorboats and water skiing are permissible on the river.

Wailua Complex of Heiaus[edit]

The Wailua Complex, a National Historic Landmark,[2] was once the center of chiefly power on the island. It contains the remains of several important structures: places of worship (heiau), places of refuge (puʻuhonua), and sites related to royal births.[3] The most important sites are:[4]

  • Hikinaakalā (Rising of the Sun) Heiau, which includes the Hauola place of refuge (puʻuhonua) and the Kiʻi Pōhaku ancient petroglyphs, at the mouth of the river adjacent to Lydgate State Park[5]
  • Malae, also known as Malaea or Makaukiu or Mana Heiau, a huge, rectangular luakini heiau almost 400 feet long on the south side of the river just above Highway 56[5]
  • Holoholokū Heiau, also known as Kalaeokamanu, adjacent to the pōhaku hoʻohānau (birthing stone) and pōhaku piko (navel/umbilical stone), where women of high rank would give birth and bury their afterbirth and umbilical cords[5]
  • Poliʻahu (also spelled Poliahu) Heiau, a large luakini heiau high on the narrow ridge between ʻŌpaekaʻa Stream and Wailua River[5]
  • Bellstone (on the same ridge), used to announce important events, such as royal births[5]

Of these, only Holoholokū has been largely restored.[4]

Heiau images[edit]


Wailua was the land of the ali'i (kings) and was one of the largest ahupuaʻa (subdivisions) on Kauai. It is said that King Kaumuali'i's favorite place to live was in Wailua. There are Hawaiian heiaus starting from the mouth of the river all the way to the summit of Mt.Waialeale. The huaka'i po (Ghost Warriors) are said to walk ancient trails along the river at night up to Mount Waiʻaleʻale. Wailua has many legends about it and was once home to many Hawaiians.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. ^ a b "Wailua Complex of Heiaus". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-07-03.
  3. ^ "Hawaii State Parks: Wailua River State Park". Retrieved 2009-12-05.
  4. ^ a b "NRHP Inventory—Nomination Form". Retrieved May 23, 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d e Kirch, Patrick Vinton (1996). "Heiau Complex at Wailua". Legacy of the Landscape: An Illustrated Guide to Hawaiian Archaeological Sites. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. pp. 16–19. ISBN 0-8248-1739-7.