Located on the North Shore of Oahu, Pu’u o Mahuka Heiau is the largest heiau on the island, covering almost 2 acres. Built in the 1600’s, Pu’u o Mahuka is a series of three walled enclosures of stacked rock walls. The name of the heiau translates to “hill of escape” and served a pivotal role in the governing of Waimea Valley in the pre-contact era. It was at this heiau that religious ceremonies were practiced up until 1819, when the Kapu System was banned. The heiau was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1962.
Below is a map of the site, along with noted areas of significance.
- Lananu’u mamao or ‘anu’u (oracle tower where religious services were conducted and the gods spoke to the kahuna and high ali’i. This structure often measures 20 feet or more in height and was a pole frame covered with kapa.
- Ki’i or carved wooden images placed by the altar and the entrance to oversee the site.
- Lele altar where offerings for the gods were placed. Often a raised wooden platform.
- Hale Pahu where the sacred drums were kept to announce rituals and send messages.
- Hale Waiea where the sacred water was kept.
- Hale Umu where the temple fires were lit. These fires might be used to cook the offerings.
- Hale Mana where the ceremonial objects were stored and where the kahuna might reside for short periods.
- Ledges along walls where those admitted were seated.
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Directions: Puu O Mahuka is located just off of Pupukea Homestead Road (Highway 835) from Kamehameha Highway (Highway 83) across from Pupukea fire station.