Waimea Valley, on the North Shore of Oahu, is certainly beautiful. It has a world class botanical garden collection and, being located in a Conservation District, is a managed habitat for endangered and native Hawaiian birds. However, it is also a culturally and historically significant spot to visit on the North Shore! In old Hawai’i, the common subdivision of land was called an ahupua’a, consisting most frequently of a slice of land that went from mountaintop to shoreline, and Waimea Valley is one of the last partially intact ahupua’a on Oahu!
It was here that the Europeans first set foot on Oahu in 1779, and when they did they found a flourishing culture with richly cultivated lands. As well as villages, there were at least two important heiaus (Hawaiian temples) here, one dedicated to Lono, the god of agriculture and harvest, and one to the war god, Ku. The village ruins, which still remain, are protected. Some, such as Kauhale Kahiko, are being restored so that visitors can gain a better appreciation of the Hawaiian past.
Hale O Lono, located inside the valley, is an agricultural heiau dating to as early as 1000-1400 AD, while Pu’u O Mahuka overlooks the valley. Dedicated to the war god Ku, Pu’u O Mahuka is Oahu’s largest heiau! Kamehameha the First worshipped here himself after conquering O’ahu. To the Hawaiian people this is still sacred land, and the many archeological evidences of their past which have been preserved here serve to demonstrate the respect and the strong connection they had to the land and to nature. This connection continues to this day and one of the often quoted sayings is “Malama the Aina”…Care for the Land. Take a visit to the Waimea Valley Park and enjoy the picturesque setting, the flora and fauna, and a majestic waterfall, and take yourself back in time to the days of Old Hawai’i!
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