Written in Stone

A historic site yields clues to Maui’s ancient culture

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Opinions vary as to why Kaupō’s heiau luakini seems to address a god of peace, but nearly everyone who visits can agree on one thing:

It’s huge.

What makes its scale even more impressive is the manpower it took to build it. While the rocks appear to be native to the region, they were likely transported here hand to hand in a lengthy human chain, since pre-contact Hawaiians had no metal, wheels, or horses for hauling.

Scott Fisher, of the conservation nonprofit Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, believes Lo‘alo‘a demonstrates “the mana [power, spirit] of the chief who built it, because if you can leverage your personal mana to construct a heiau of that mass and substance, you’re the type of chief who can make things happen.”

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