Sacred Hawaiian Stones

Sitting at the front entrance of the Hilo Public Library are two large stones. People drive past on Waianuenue Ave, some walk past glancing, but without second thought. What seems to be unique landscaping pieces are probably the most significant display of importance to ancient Hawaiian history that the library has to offer.

The smaller of the two stones is known as the Pinao stone. It was the entrance pillar which once stood guard at the ancient Pinao Heiau (temple) that was located near the Wailuku River on the edge of Hilo.

The larger of the two stones is called the Naha Stone. According to Hawaiian history high chief Makali’inuikualawalea brought the heavy rock to Hilo from the island of Kauai via double-hulled outrigger canoe. The Naha Stone layed outside the Pinao Heiau.

naha pinao

The Naha Stone is said to hold the power of being able to determine the legitimacy of those who claimed to be of the royal Naha rank. During ancient Hawaiian ceremonies newborn baby boys were placed on top of the Naha Stone. While Kahuna chanted prayers to Hawaiian Gods attention was focused on the newborn. If it cried as most had, he would live the life of a commoner, the maka’ainana. If the baby remained calm, he was was of royal Naha ‘alaea, the royal tribe or clan.

The Naha Stone fulfilled another important role in Hawaiian history. Legends claim whoever was able to move the stone would be the first king of all the Hawaiian islands, united. Those who attempted to move the Naha Stone, but were not able risked certain death.

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A young boy at the age of 14 named “Kalani Pai’ea Wohi o Kaleikini Keali’ikui Kamehameha o ‘Iolani i Kaiwikapu kau’i Ka Liholiho Kunuiakea” attempted and succeeded in moving the 7,000 pound stone. He was the Hawaiian king who unified all the islands under his rule by 1810. He is known as King Kamehameha the Great.