Ahu'ena Heiau

Malama I Ko Kakou Ho¹olina
Preserving Our Past

Historical Accounts

Louis Choris
1816: Ahu'ena Heiau sketched by Louis Choris, the artist on board the Russianship Rurick, captained by Lieutenant Otto von Kotzebue.

After Kamehameha's death in 1819, the French ship Uranie landed at Kamakahonu. Captain Louis de Freycinet's journal makes it apparent that Ahu'ena had fallen into disuse: "...almost all of the images there had been thrown over and the sacred house of the sovereign was open and filled with furniture of European or Chinese origin, which had been used by the deceased king."

Jacques Arago
The drawing of Ahu'ena made by Jacques Arago, ship's artist, shows two anu'u towers, verifying the account of Kamakau that a second anu'u was built for the weaving of the ka'ai that held the bones of Kamehameha. Arago described the "morai" (heiau) as 'very much neglected."

Mrs. Thomas Holman
Ahu'ena was visited in 1820 by Mrs. Thomas Holman, who was among the first of the New England missionaries to arrive in Hawaii:

April 7 ...we went to see the ruins of the Moriah.... It was sure enough in ruins, and such a scene of devastation., I have never before beheld. There appeared to have been stone (solid lava) enough among the ruins of the temple, to build a city--4 of the wooden gods are left for curiosity...

Rev. William Ellis
The Rev. William Ellis, who visited Kamakahonu in 1823, also described the deterioration of Ahu'ena: Adjacent to the governor's house stands the ruins of Ahu'ena, an ancient heiau... Since the abolition of idolatry, the governor has converted it into a fort, has widened the stone wall next to the sea, and place upon it a number of cannon. The idols are all destroyed, excepting three, which are planted on the wall, one at each end, and the other in the centre, where they stand like sentinels amidst the guns....

John Papa I'i
According to John Papa I'i in addition to Ahu'ena Heiau and other structures associated with his court at Kamakahonu, Kamehameha "...built another house, a hale nana mahina'ai, on the seaward side of Keawe a Mahi's residence from which to observe the farm lands. Facing directly upland toward Kuahewa, this house was like an observation post, for the site ha first been built up high with stones. It was located on the west side of Ahu'ena, a heiau that stood beside Kamakahonu, on a spot where canoes could be seen coming from South Kona and from the vicinity of Kailua in North Kona." .


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