Kaunua Kahekili Heiau

Punahoa of Keahia say that Kaunua Kahekili was a very large heiau.  It was located on the top of the ridge which divides Wailupe and Waialae, on the highest and most pronounced knoll.

The site was formerly planted in pineapples, but now the heiau is overgrown with high grass and weeds and the pineapples are on the sloping ground which surrounds it.  Many large rocks embedded in the earth are all that remains of the structure.


McCallister, Archeology of Oahu


Wai'alae means "water of the mudhen" and was the name of a freshwater spring.  According to tradition, the springwater was reserved for the ruling chief of O'ahu in this formerly hot, barren area.  Kamehameha III (1813-1854), while on a tour around the island, is said to have asked an old couple living in Wai'alae where he could get some water to drink.  The two were guardians of the spring and told the king the only reason they stayed there was to guard it.  Then they revealed its location to him.  The spring was hidden, sealed by a large stone slab that was covered by pohuehue, or beach morning glory.  Today its location is unknown.


J. Clark, Beaches of Oahu, p 30.

Punahoa 1930

Lit., the altar of Kahekili.  (Pukui, Elbert, Mo'okini)