Kuamo'o Battlefield and Burial Grounds
What We Did
Returned land to Native Hawaiian descendants of those who died in the 1819 Battle of Kuamoʻo and who are buried on the land.
Protect culturally significant landscapes throughout Hawaiʻi and return those lands to Native Hawaiʻian stewardship.
Located on the north Kona Coast, the Kuamo‘o battlefield and burial ground embody a divide between tradition and new Western Influences.
The 1819 war was a battle between Hawai‘ians over the kapu religious system. This was not only a war between Hawai‘ians but a fierce fight within a family. The dispute pitted the forces of Kekuaokalani, nephew of Kamehameha I, who sought to preserve the traditional system, against his cousin, Liholiho (Kamehameha II), who had abandoned the kapu system.
Liholiho prevailed, but many warriors from both sides perished in battle and were buried on the property. The battle marked an important point in Hawai’ian history that led to many cultural changes. After the battle, traditional gods were abandoned, leaving a spiritual void. Ships full of missionaries arrived shortly after the battle, forever changing Hawaiʻi’s future.
The site is protected forever due to the diligent work of Trust for Public Land (TPL), local Native Hawaiian led nonprofit Aloha Kuamo‘o ‘Āina (AKA), the previous landowner (descendants of one of the first Native Hawaiian Christians Henry ʻŌpūkahaʻia), and community members.
“There is so much important history at Kuamoʻo. I have always wanted this to be preserved and shared. I am so [delighted] that Trust for Public Land and Aloha Kuamo‘o ‘Āina has helped secure a good future for these precious lands. I strongly support Aloha Kuamo‘o ‘Āina’s vision and plans to share the importance of this ‘aina for many generations to come,” shares Mrs. Margaret “Possum” Schattauer – the previous land owner.
This sacred land offers a window into the past, laced with shrines, ceremonial areas, and the shadows of a historic village. Kuamo‘o’s diverse landscape combines sea caves, salt pans, and agricultural terraces. The land also features approximately a half-mile of the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, an ancient coastal trail where hikers can walk in the same paths traveled by Native Hawaiʻians.
Lea Hong, State Director for TPL Hawai‘i, shares how Kuamo‘o encompasses TPL’s beliefs. “It reflects our commitment to equity and community by returning land to Native Hawaiian descendant of those who died in this tragic war – ensuring that they will always be able to care for and steward their ancestors’ burials and other sites on the land for generations to come.”