Inikiwai Ku'ula Heiau

Inikiwai Ku'ula Heiau (HMQA6)

Location: Kailua Kona, HI 96740 Hawaii County
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Country: United States of America
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N 19° 34.253', W 155° 58.023'

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This archaeological site is known as the Inikiwai Heiau. It is sometimes known as the Pahe'ehe'e Ku'ula.

Hawaiian Fishermen built these shrines on promontories along the seashore or near ponds and streams. These shrines are a place for prayer and offerings to the fish god Ku'ula or the fisherman's personal family gods ('Aumakua). Ku'ula was the most prominent god of fishing. His wife, Hina, and son Aiai, were also fishing gods. The shrine itself is also called a Ku'ula.

Fishermen prayed to the Ku'ula stone image at these Ku'ula heiaus for an abundant catch before they went fishing. When they returned, they addressed the gods and placed the first fish caught on top of the heiau as an offering to Ku'ula or to their own "Aumakua. Sometimes the first fish caught was marked in some way such as cutting its tail or keeping it in the bow of the canoe, separated from the rest of the catch until they returned.

Mounted on top of this heiau platform is the original Ku'ula stone fish god. Theses Ku'ula stones were usually oceantumbled-polished stones, odd shaped stones, or sometimes hand carved stones.

Fishing "hot-spots" were located out in the sea. These spots were called Ko'as and were the best locations where an abundance of fish might be caught. Fishermen were taught to lacate the Ko'a by taking sitings with prominent land objects, sometimes using Ku'ula shrines as part of the alignment.

Hawaiian fishermen had many fishing-related beliefs. They believed that if they respected their fishing-related devices that they would have a better catch. All of their fishing equipment was kept clean, neat and orderly and stored in the homes high above the dirt floors. Whenever they made a new net, fish hook, or other fishing-related device, they had it blessed by a Kahuna (priest). Fish hooks were usually made out of bone, sometimes from the bones of their enemies. Some fishermen took small stone images of Ku'ula or their own "Aumakua" with them in their canoes when they went fishing. They believed these images caused the fish to come near their canoes where they could be caught. A bad dream would bring bad luck; bananas brought in his canoe would also bring the fisherman bad luck. The color black was strictly avoided while fishing as it also brought bad luck.

Hawaiian fishermen believed fish could hear them. They never told their friends that they were going fishing. Since fish had ears they were aware of all home disturbances. While the fisherman was fishing, his family at home had to be on their best behavior. He would never talk while fishing, but prayed silently to his own 'Aumakua to guide him to the best fishing spot. After fishing and making their offerings to Ku'ula, the fishermen went home quietly, thankful for his catch. He never bragged about his catch or talked about "the one that got away."

This heiau was originally larger than it is at present and was rectangular in shape. Its original north to south dimension was 40 feet, while its east to west dimension was 20 feet. It had a 4 foot high lava wall around it and was modified by erosion and negligent bull-dozing. The heiau was built on a knoll of brittle lava chunks of a'a. The height is about 10 feet above ground level and the top is paved with hand placed 'ili'ili pebbles (small ocean-polished stones such as is used on Kanone game boards).

Researched and Written by Joseph N. Castelli, 1988
HM NumberHMQA6
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 at 6:32am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)5Q E 188690 N 2166698
Decimal Degrees19.57088333, -155.96705000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 19° 34.253', W 155° 58.023'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds19° 34' 15.18" N, 155° 58' 1.38" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)808
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 78-6800 Alii Dr, Kailua Kona HI 96740, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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