For those with the gut and the gumption for understanding the history of real Hawai'i, the big island awaits, but it isn't all aloha and leis, it includes a past that like most national pasts, earned its peace and unification through war and human sacrifice. In 1791, this heiau was the center of the action. King Kamehameha's hula (spiritual advisor and prophet) told him if he wanted to unify the islands under his single rule, to first build a temple to the war god Ku. This he did with the help of his soldiers who literally moved mountains, or a mountain of stone over Kohala to build the foundation of this architecturally significant and magnificent structure. He was then told to invite his cousin and rival chief Keouato of Ka'u to the island where, upon his embarkment at Pelekane Beach, adjacent to the heiau, Kamehameha I, ordered him to be murdered and his body brought up from the beach to be sacrificed upon the altar as an offering to the Gods. Indeed, this action gave Kamehameha I power over Ka'u as well as the power to negotiate peace with the other islands not yet under unified control of a single king. By 1810, Kamehameha ruled over all of the islands and in peace. This temple should not be missed as it is still the site of sacred practice in Hawai'i and provides one with an unsantized understanding of how the foundation for the kingdom of Hawai'i was earned. Why it is not more highly regarded in architectural circles is beyond me.
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