Loʻaloʻa Heiau

Loʻaloʻa Heiau is located in Kaupo on Maui. It is one of the few remaining intact examples of a large luakini heiau (state level temple where human and other ritual sacrifice was performed).[3] Once the center of an important cultural complex, oral tradition attributes the construction of the temple at about 1730 AD to Kekaulike, King of Maui, who lived at Kaupo and died in 1736.[3] Its site number is HASS-50-MA-A28-1. It was excavated in 1931.[4][5] It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1962.[1]

Loʻaloʻa Heiau
Loaloa Heiau.jpg
Undated aerial photo
Loʻaloʻa Heiau is located in Hawaii
Loʻaloʻa Heiau
Nearest cityKaupo, Hawaiʻi
Coordinates20°38′24″N 156°7′17″W / 20.64000°N 156.12139°W / 20.64000; -156.12139Coordinates: 20°38′24″N 156°7′17″W / 20.64000°N 156.12139°W / 20.64000; -156.12139
Area1.4 acres (0.57 ha)
Built1730 (1730)
NRHP reference No.66000301[1]
HRHP No.50-50-16-00101[2]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPOctober 15, 1966[1]
Designated NHLDecember 29, 1962[3]
Designated HRHPOctober 15, 1966


Loʻaloʻa Heiau is located in a remote rural setting of southeastern Maui, at the small community of Kaupo. It is located on private land upland from Hawaii Route 31. The heiau is a three-tiered stone platform, built on a small hill. Its apparent measurements are about 115 by 500 feet (35 m × 152 m), but there is damage at one end that precludes an accurate determination of its size without further archaeological work. The eastern end of the platform is believed to be where the ceremonial functions took place, and has terraced retaining walls as high as 20 feet (6.1 m). The western portion of the platform has been significantly disturbed, with virtually no pavement and pit holes from which trees grow. There are secondary structures around some of the edges, and it is possible that the full site (including support facilities for the temple's ceremonial functions) is much larger.[4]

Loʻaloʻa Heiau is a well-preserved example of a state-level temple. In particular, the site's features and known oral history suggest that it includes multiple phases in the evolution of Hawaiian religious practices prior to the arrival of outsiders. At the time of European contact in the late 18th century, the Kaupo area supported a population of about 1,000. When Kamehameha I united the island chain into a single kingdom in the early 19th century, the importance of Kaupo as a civic and ceremonial center declined.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ "Historic Register Counts". Hawai'i State Historic Preservation Division. State of Hawaii. February 1, 2022. Retrieved February 19, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c "Loaloa Heiau". National Historic Landmark Quicklinks. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 8 October 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
  4. ^ a b c Dunbar, Helen R. (August 10, 1987). "Loaloa Heiau" (pdf). National Register of Historic Places - Inventory Nomination Form. National Park Service. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
  5. ^ "Loaloa Heiau" (pdf). Photographs. National Park Service. Retrieved 22 May 2012.