17 May 2015 – Hawaii has a unique and beautiful culture. Just like any other culture it has some very historic and sacred places which are lost amidst its natural beauty and the cacophonous tourist activity.
I’ve always wanted to visit the Kukaniloko Birth Stones due to their unique nature. In Hawaiian culture Kukaniloko is a sacred place where the ruling class (the ali’i) would come to give birth to children in the line of royal succession. The birth would occur amongst the stones and be witnessed by the various chiefs (36 or more) to give an oral account of the birth. The birth was a sacred and very structured process overseen by the Kahuna – Hawaiian priests. The laboring mother was assisted by several others who took specific positions during the labor. Supposedly the site was supposed to enable a painless labor and birth – yeah right.
During the 600 year period of usage, about 1200-1800 CE, the site was guarded and only ali’i and Kahuna were allowed access. Only by the sounds of the drums announcing the birth was anyone else informed of the activities on the site.
Today the site is still considered sacred by the native Hawaiians – however during the last 50 years was changed as stones were added or re-arranged. The original stones are easily identified due to the existence of petroglyphs, carvings, and man-made shapes designed for function – such as holding a bowl.
The entrance to the site is marked by two large monoliths and 36 smaller stones which make an avenue. The 36 stones represent the 36 Hawaiian chieftains. However, these stones were added after the site was no longer used.
Visitors today bring leis to the site and lay them on the stones.