Mookini Heiau

Mookini Heiau | Big Island Activities

mookini heiauThe ancient stones of Mookini Heiau (temple) call to your soul and connect you to a time long ago. Our journey to one of the most hidden Big Island activities has not been easy. We encountered potholes in the road as big as the heiau itself. Several cars that followed us in have turned back. We keep going and complete the final mile on foot.

For over 1,500 years the Mookini Heiau has stood watch over this northern tip of Big Island. Almost hidden from the dirt road below, the size and enormity of Mookini took us by surprise with its 30 foot walls and huge interior.

Mookini stands among Hawaii’s most sacred and ancient sites.

On our arrival there is no one here, only the spirits from centuries ago. We are left alone to feel Mookini and reflect on its sacrificial past.

It was here that thousands of Hawaiians were sacrificed to the Gods. Founded in 480 A.D., by Paao, a Tahitian priest, this temple was rededicated in 1978 to the “Children of the Land.”

mookini heiauIn the rededication, the restrictive kapu was lifted by high priestess, Leimomi Mookini Lum, to make it safe for all people to enter. Her family has cared for the temple since its beginning in a rare unbroken line of guardianship.

Mookini Heiau was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1963. It was deeded to the State of Hawaii in 1978 on stipulation that the Mookini bloodline, through its kahuna nui (advisor on ritual, tradition and guidance), be consulted on all matters.

Also nearby is the birthplace of Kamaehameha the Great who is believed to have been born here in 1758.

Directions. Turn makai (towards the ocean) at the 20 mile marker (Upolu Airport Sign). It’s a 2 mile walk or drive on a dirt road (4 wheel drive is best). Map.

8 thoughts on “Mookini Heiau | Big Island Activities”

  1. Aloha! 🙂
    We have never been to Kona and looking for help comparing with our love of Kauai’s beauty & Mauai. we have first timers coming with us on our next trip and don’t want them to be dissapointed. (if that’s possible for hawaii, but just don’t want an island too commercialized, and instead prefer the more hawaiian traditional feel/look, like Kauai) I know one would love to see the active volcano, but is there also beautiful beaches, scenery, etc on Kona & is it all driveable/do able in a day (since the island is much bigger) 🙂
    thanks so much for any help, advice, opinion.

  2. I am looking to go to Hawaiis big island in May or June next year, will it be cheaper to fly in one of these months?and when should Be the best price for flights from Denver? What should I expect to pay?
    You are always so great at helping. Have helped me in the past.
    Thanks once again in advance for the help you give.

    1. Hi Sandy.

      Thank you. May is a safer bet but first week of June should be okay too. It would be safe to plan on mid-$500’s with a good connection. Late 2016 or early 2017 will be the time to buy.


  3. We went to Mookini this past February for the first time. As you mentioned it’s a bit of a trek but for those who appreciate Hawaiian history and are willing to make the effort it’s well worth it.

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