“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Keauhou in Hawaii County, Hawaii — Hawaiian Island Archipelago (Pacific Ocean)

Inikiwai Ku'ula Heiau

Inikiwai Ku'ula Heiau Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William J. Toman, December 26, 2010
1. Inikiwai Ku'ula Heiau Marker
Inscription.  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.

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"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
Closeup of Inikiwai Ku'ula Heiau Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William J. Toman, December 26, 2010
2. Closeup of Inikiwai Ku'ula Heiau Marker
[Caption for top right graphic of lure, with labels for "cowrey shell lure," "toggle," "point," "shank," and "rock sinker:] The fisherman used a cowrie shell and hook to catch an octopus.

[Caption for left graphic:] Cowry Shell Lure
Ancient octopus fishing lure found at the King's retainers' house (mua) located north side of the Surf and Racquet Club swimming pool. [See the nearby Lonoikamakahiki Residence marker.]

[Caption for bottom right graphic:]
Ku'ula Stone Fish God Atop Inikiwai Ku'ula Heiau.
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
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Anthropology & ArchaeologyNative Americans. A significant historical year for this entry is 1988.
Location. 19° 34.253′ N, 155° 58.023′ W. Marker is in Keauhou, Hawaii, in Hawaii County. Marker can be reached from Alii Drive, half a mile north of Kamehameha III Road, on the left when traveling north. The marker is on the grounds of the Keauhou Kona Surf and Racquet
Inikiwai Ku'ula Heiau Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William J. Toman, December 26, 2010
3. Inikiwai Ku'ula Heiau Marker
The marker is at the bottom right, with the Inikiwai Ku'ula Heiau in the background.
Club near condo building number 5. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 78-6800 Alii Drive, Keauhou HI 96739, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Lonoikamakahiki Residence (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Hale Mua (approx. 0.2 miles away); Keauhou - Kahalu'u Heritage Corridor (approx. 0.3 miles away); Keauhou Bay (approx. 0.7 miles away); Kauikeaouli, Kamehameha III (approx. 0.7 miles away); Birthplace of Kauikeaouli (approx. 0.7 miles away); Kuemanu Heiau (approx. ¾ mile away); Kauikeaouli and Nāhi'ena'ena (approx. ¾ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Keauhou.
Inikiwai Ku'ula Heiau image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William J. Toman, December 26, 2010
4. Inikiwai Ku'ula Heiau
The Ku'ula Stone Fish God on top of the Inikiwai Ku'ula Heiau, with the Pacific Ocean in the background.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on December 27, 2010, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 1,326 times since then and 153 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on January 1, 2011, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin.   2, 3, 4. submitted on January 2, 2011, by William J. Toman of Green Lake, Wisconsin. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.

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Sep. 22, 2023