Hawaii’s history and culture are visible on the Big Island for those who look for this evidence. The western and northern part of Hawaiʻi island known as the Kona – Kohala Coast gets very little rainfall during the yearly seasons. We stayed in the area in Puako which gets less than 15 inches per year. It is a desert. It was also the area that King Kamehameha the First made his ancestral home.
Kamehameha I took control of the Kona and Kohala districts in 1782, but for eight years since then fought in a number of inconclusive battles. After returning from Maui in 1790, he was attacked by his cousin Keoua Kuahu’ula who still controlled the East side of the island. He returned to the village of Kawaihae, where he had spent some time earlier. A respected Kauna (priest) named Kapokahi suggested building a lueakeni heiau (sacrificial temple) to gain the favor of the war god Kukaillimoku
Puʻukoholā Heiau meaning “Temple on the Hill of the Whale” was the result, probably on the site of an older temple from about 1580. It was built entirely by hand with no mortar, in less than a year. The red stones were transported by a human chain about 14 miles long, from Pololu Valley to the East. Construction was supervised by Kamehameha’s brother Keli’imaki’i, involving thousands of people.