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Kamehameha Schools


Hawi, Kohala, Hawai‘i


13 acres


Mo‘okini Luakini Foundation

Regarded as one of the oldest and most sacred heiau, the luakini heiau is located along the northern coast of Kohala. It is one of the oldest and most sacred heiau (places of worship) in the Hawaiian Islands and is one of the first luakini heiau in the islands.


Tradition says that a temple was first built on the northernmost tip of the Island of Hawai’i sometime in the 5th century by the high priest Mo’okini. Later oral tradition says that the current heiau was built on the older temple between the 13th and 14th centuries by Pa‘ao, a legendary priest from either Tahiti or Samoa who is said to have introduced the Hawaiians to human sacrifice, the walled heiau, and several types of kapu – the system of religious, political, and social laws that governed every aspect of daily life. Today, Mo‘okini Heiau is considered a living spiritual temple and a sacred site to Native Hawaiians. Approximately 2,000 feet to the south of Mo‘okini Heiau, is the Kamehameha I Birthsite (Kapakai Royal Housing Complex). Mo‘okini Heiau was built as a luakini heiau in the shape of a parallelogram - 267 feet long on the west, 250 feet on the east, 135 feet on the north, and 112 feet on the south. The National Historic Landmark is steeped in historic and cultural significance dating back to more than 1,500 years ago. Mo‘okini Luakini Foundation and its founder, Kahuna Nui Leimomi Mo‘okini Lum, maintain stewardship of the heiau, its history and its future. Besides caring for the centuries old site, sharing her knowledge with the children and people of Hawai‘i is of the utmost importance to Aunty Momi. The intent of creating a center for learning that furthers the foundation’s goals of education, preservation and perpetuation through a “living” classroom is in the process of being fulfilled.

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