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Historic Hawaii
Island of Lanai

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You are invited to visit the traditional Hawaiian religious sites listed in this website. However, you are asked to remember that these are religious sites which are still sacred to the Hawaiian people. As historic sites, these places are also fragile and subject to damage and collapse. Please visit with respect and care for these important places.

  • View the heiau from the exterior. Please do not climb on or over the rock walls. The stacked roof is unstable and may collapse.
  • It is unlawful to take, excavate, destroy, or alter any historic site on state land. Any person who violates this law is subject to a fine of $10,000 (HRS Chapter 6E-11)
  • Wrapping a rock in a ti leaf is not a traditional offering. This damages the plants and the integrity of the heiau structure.
  • Offerings of coins, candles, incense and similar items cause long-term damage.

The historic sites of Hawaii are unique resources that are fragile and cannot be replaced. Please help us protect Hawaii's past for the future.

Extremely rough, bone-jarring dirt road - accessible by 4-wheel drive only. Drive on Highway 440 toward Kaumalapau Harbor, past the airport turnoff. Take a sharp left on the first dirt trail and proceed a couple of miles to a yellow standpipe on your right. Turn right and go down the hill toward the ocean and Kaunolu.
(South Lanai)
A traditional fishing village where daily life revolved around gathering and preparing food from the sea. The site consists of numerous house platforms, stone shelters, gravesites, detached pens and garden patches. There is a heiau (temple) and a koa (fishing shrine), as well as Kahekili's Leap - where Hawaiians practiced lele kawa or cliff jumping. National Historic Landmark.

From Lanai City, head toward Manele Bay on Manele Bay Road (Highway 440). Turn left on the first dirt road. Head straight for the large water tank. The petroglyphs are past the tank on the slopes of the hill.
(South Lanai)
Ancient Hawaiians left their picture albums for us here. These petroglyphs, (Na Kii Pohaku, literally, stone images) were made by the ancient Hawaiian people for "traditional" or spiritual purposes before the 1600's. Two of the stones represent the physical presence of the rain gods and to them prayers were offered to ensure fertility of the land and the race. Covering a three-acre area, most of the petroglyphs are found on the south faces of the boulders.

4-wheel drive only. From the Lodge at Koele, drive past the parking lot to the top of the hill and proceed straight ahead on Highway 440 for 8.5 miles over the mountains. Near the sea, the dirt road to the left becomes a sandy road. Go about 3 miles further to small primitive fishing cabins. A short walk leads to the ruins of a lighthouse, and an arrow on a sign for "The Bird Man of Lanai" points you to the petroglyphs.
(East Lanai)
The Bird Man of Lanai Petroglyphs are little stick figures about 12 inches tall, with strange, birdlike heads. They decorate the rocks on the lonely and windswept shores of Shipwreck Beach. Their symbolic meaning is a mystery lost in time. This coast has been the graveyard for many vessels. There is a rusty hull of a World War II Liberty Ship stranded on the reef. The beach can still be a nightmare to any captain caught in its turbulent whitecaps and long ragged coral fingers.

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