Heiau where high chief petitioned gods once stood on church site


Helani Church and Mukumuku Heiau

The ruins of Helani Church can be seen on the mauka side of Alii Drive, just south of St. Peter’s Church. This lava rock and coral lime mortar church was built by Rev. John D. Paris in 1861.

After the Hawaiian congregation moved inland and it fell into decay, a new wooden Helani Church was erected in 1908 in Kahaluu mauka along Mamalahoa Highway.

The heiau of Mukumuku (no longer existing) is said to have stood where Helani’s ruins are today. Traditionally believed to have been built by the gods, this heiau was rededicated by High Chief Lonoikamakahiki to gain strength to defeat the invading Maui chief, Kamalalawalu, in the 16th century. After his victory, the proud Hawaii chief sacrificed the unlucky invader at nearby Keeku Heiau at Kahaluu.

Legend states the Maui chief brought his two dogs, a blind black one and a white one, to his final battle. After the sacrifice of their master, the dogs lay down outside the temple walls and died. They were buried there, and the site is said to be still haunted by their faithful presence.

This site is also part of the Kahaluu Historic District.

Copyright 1998 Kona Historical Society. Reprinted by permission.