Ancient Sites of Oahu, Hawaii

In January my husband and I visited Hawaii for a 2-week vacation. We spent a week on the island of Oahu and another week on Maui. When visiting the Bishop Museum on Oahu, a docent introduced us to the concept of ‘wahi pana’, sacred places of Hawaii.  These ancient geographical sites merge the spiritual with the importance of place. The ancient ancestors knew the earth’s spiritual essence was infused within these sacred sites, which included dwelling places of the gods, temples, and shrines. They appear as mounds, mountains, weather phenomena, forests, and volcanoes.
We discovered ‘Ancient Sites of Oahu, A guide to Hawaiian Archaeological places of interest’ by Van James in the Bishop Museum bookstore and decided to visit a few of these sites each day as we explored the island of Oahu. We had many adventures trying to locate these sites. We trekked for hours 1,000 feet up a steep and treacherous mountain only to discover that the site was next to the parking lot where we had entered! We ventured into residential neighborhoods and behind community centers to discover sites tucked between houses and into unlikely terrains. One residential site, ‘Healing Stones of Wahiawa’ only contained pictures of the 3 huge healing stones. We never found out what happened to the missing stones. This did not stop folks from leaving flowers on the altar. Most sites were marked with national plaques and many had informational signage. The following are several of the ‘Heiaus’, which are Hawaiian temples, stone platforms or earth terraces and ‘ahus’ or heaps, pile, altars, shrines. I hope you enjoy.

Haleakala National Park


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Slide Locations

  • Haleakala National Park
  • Inactive Volcano Crater on Maui
  • Kaniakapupu Summer Palace of King Kamehameha
  • Heiau in Residential Neighborhood
  • Keaiwa Heiau State Recreation