The Famous Stones of Wahiawā


Read this article in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi

Photo: Kalani Akana

Wahiawā is famous for its stones – those at Kūkaniloko, the stone called Oʻahunui, the stone platter of ʻAikanaka, and the healing stones named Keanianiʻulaokalani.

Wahiawā means “place of noise” and was an ahupuaʻa in the district of Waialua as established by Maʻilikūkahi. It was joined to a portion of Waiʻanaeuka in 1913. In 1925, the ʻili of Waikakalua from Waikele of the district of ʻEwa was added to this new Wahiawā. Then, in 1932, some land was added from the district of Waialua, namely, the military base at Schofield.

Therefore, Wahiawā is really a mixed regional district. It is anchored, nevertheless, by its stones.

Kūkaniloko: At Kūkaniloko are the royal birth stones that were sanctified by Nanakaoko and Kahikiokalani for the birth of their royal progeny, Kapawa. The majestic chiefs, Kūkaniloko, Kalaʻimanuia, Māʻilikūkahi, and Kākuhihewa were born at this sacred place. According to tradition, Kamehameha desired that Keōpūolani give birth to Liholiho at this consecrated royal place. Of interest, according to the late Abraham Piʻianaiʻa, professor of geography at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, these stones are the tips of mountain ridges and are not true stones. That may be the reason for the great power of Kūkaniloko

The Healing Stones Wahiawā:  Keanianiʻulaokalani is the name of this pair of wondrous stones. A plantation worker saw them in Kaukonahua Gulch and then they were taken to the ranch of George Galbraith near Kūkaniloko. There, they were cared for by Hawaiians who came for the healing of various illnesses. Many people of various ethnicities also came to this place bringing offerings of lei and various gifts like taro, tobacco, and money. When the site was sold, the two were moved to California Avenue in town, but the six-foot stone fell over and broke. In town, they were sheltered and infrequently visited until 1988 when Hindu believers came to worship the healing stones. They believed that the god Shiva dwelled within the two. Due to the anger over the worship practices of the Hindu, the stones were dug out and extracted from the cement and hidden by those people.

Stone Food Platter of ʻAikanaka: This is not the ʻAikanaka ancestor of Kalākaua, but was a strange chief from a foreign land that came to Wahiawā via Kauaʻi along with his race of people. Kalōʻaikanaka was the full name of their chief. Their language was different, their skin was black, and their most fearsome acts were their cannibal worship feasts. The “food” platter was of stone (see picture). After they were expelled from Kauaʻi they came to live in Halemano, Wahiawā.

Oʻahunui Stone: Oʻahunui was the chief who welcomed the aforementioned ʻAikanaka to Halemano. Because of his association with these cannibals, he became a cannibal himself and killed and ate his nephews, the sons of his sister, Kilikiliʻula. The father of the boys, the brother-in-law of Oʻahunui, then came and killed all of them. Oʻahunui’s body turned to stone. According to elder Tom Lenchanko, Oʻahunui is in Waikakalua stream. It is said, “If you haven’t seen Oʻahunui, you haven’t seen Oʻahu.” However, “If you have not seen Kūkaniloko, you haven’t seen Oʻahu.” The famous stones of Wahiawā are now known.