In the middle of a sugar cane field in central Oahu, you’ll find a sacred site – the Kukaniloko birthing stones. The sign at this site says that as many as 800 years ago, chiefs and chiefesses came to this site for the birth of their children. A child born hire was assured high-ranking status.
Here’s a fascinating except from my Oahu Revealed guidebook about these stones:
Royal birthing procedures were different from what commoners went through. When the time came, the woman would arrive at what was then a secret spot, and in the presence of 36 male chiefs she would position herself at certain stones and in certain ways to give birth while they watched. (Gee, that must have created quite the awkward moment…) Within minutes of birth the child was taken away, and the mother would not see her child again until it was grown. This was to ensure that the child would not be murdered. Infanticide in high-ranking families was common among rival chiefs.
We stopped to see this site on our last visit to Oahu. It’s a peaceful place that also has a mystical feel to it. We could certainly sense the history of this scared place.
What to know when you go:
- These stones are located about a 100 yards from the intersection of Highway 80 and Whitmore Avenue. (See this Google Map.) There’s a very small unofficial paved parking area that’s literally off this intersection, directly across the road from Whitmore Avenue. We accidentally passed by the parking area the first time because it doesn’t look like a parking area. It looks more like a farm road. Be careful that you don’t park in the dirt area if it looks muddy. We almost got stuck when we drove off the pavement to turn around.
- Please respect these stones and the people who visit them as they are sacred to the Hawaiian people. You might see someone chanting or leaving an offering, so be respectful of their place.
- There are two distinct sections to this monument.
- The dirt path to the first section of stones is a flat walk of about 100 yards.
- Allow about 20 minutes for visiting this site.
Have you seen the Kukaniloko birthing stones? What was your impression of this sacred site?