Established August 17th, 1972

As foretold by prophecy, the young Hawaiʻi Island warrior Kamehameha indeed rose to be the ruler of the entire Hawaiian archipelago after the raising of Puʻukoholā Heiau. By battle and by treaty, all the disparate chiefdoms would be united under his rule by 1810. For many historians, the story of the ascendency of Kamehameha the Great begins at what is now Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site. Kamehameha would be assisted on his quest to conquer all the Hawaiian Islands by an intrepid young British seaman named John Young. It was Mr. Young who introduced the British cannon and British strategic thinking to Kamehameha’s wartime arsenal. His first house was built near Puʻukoholā Heiau, and the ruins still stand protected within the park.

Manō (blacktip reef sharks) are often seen in nearby Pelekane Bay, where the remains of another smaller heiau (temple) said to be dedicated to shark ʻaumakua (family gods) lies submerged in the water. In the winter months it is possible to see koholā (humpback whales) in their breeding and calving waters offshore.


Please refer to the national park page for current conditions and alerts.

Directions from Kona International Airport: Take Highway 19 North for 27 miles. Turn left (north) onto Highway 270 (Kawaihae Road) and go 1/2 mile to the park entrance (on the left side of highway). The Visitor Center and Park Store is located downhill on your right, towards Spencer Beach County Park.

Directions from Hilo: Take Highway 19 North 67 miles. Continue on Highway 270 (Kawaihae Road) to the park entrance (on the left side of highway). The Visitor Center and Park Store is located downhill on your right, towards Spencer Beach County Park.

Directions from North Kohala (Hawi/Kapaʻau): Take Highway 270 South 20 miles to the park entrance (on the right side of highway). The Visitor Center and Park Store is located downhill on your right side towards Spencer Beach County Park.

Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site Visitor Center is open daily from 8:00 a.m. – 4:45 p.m. (including all Federal Holidays).  
Park entrance gate close at 4:30 p.m. daily and all vehicles need to be out of the parking lot by 5:00 p.m.

**Hours of operation may change due to emergency situations, without notice.

The weather on the coast on the Kohala coast of Hawaiʻi Island is dependably hot, sunny and humid.  Temperatures range from the mid-70°s F to the 90°s F and there is little shade at Puʻukoholā National Historic Site.

PARK LOCATION

Please refer to the national park page for current conditions and alerts.

Explore the Park
Park Features

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Kamehameha carried the war god Kūkaʻilimokū into battle with him. He was a embodied as a fierce-faced, red-feather-covered entity.
Waterworn stones prescribed by prophecy for construction of the heiau are believed to have been passed person to person from Pololū Valley, over 20 miles away.
The lei o manō (a sharkʻs necklace) weapon was made of shark teeth attached to a wooden paddle, and was used in war as a fearsome cutting tool.
Iconic coconut palms stand at Pelekane Bay today as they have for centuries. Coconut trees were very import in Polynesian life, and were carried to Hawaiʻi by the first settlers.
John Young was a westerner who became a favorite of Kamehameha and who taught Hawaiian warriors how to use a musket and cannon.
On the hot, dry grounds of the park you can find something unexpected: Hawaiian cotton. Hawaiian cotton grows naturally along the leeward coasts.
Hawaiʻi Pacific Parks Association. P.O. Box 74 Hawaii National Park, 96718 HI

© COPYRIGHT HAWAIʻI PACIFIC PARKS ASSOCIATION 2017.

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