Pu'ukua/Waimea Valley

Entrance to Waimea ValleyPhoto credit: Hi'ipaka LLC

O'ahu's verdant Waimea Valley was once the domain of the kahuna, the priest class of ancient Hawai'i. Today, the valley is a living place of refuge, welcoming visitors and local residents to wander its spectacular botanical gardens, encounter native wildlife, and take part in traditional Hawaiian culture. In 2006, The Trust for Public Land helped protect more than a thousand acres surrounding Pu'ukua in Waimea Valley from the threat of development.

Pu'ukua was the last privately-owned parcel in Waimea Valley. It is home to two historic burial sites and traditional drystack stone structures. The land is adjacent to an ancient heiau, a place of worship, honoring Lono, the Hawaiian god of peace, agriculture, and fertility. Native Hawaiian religious practitioners still offer traditional foods and prayers at the restored heiau.

The Trust for Public Land purchased Pu'ukua in early 2019 to complete the permanent protection of this sacred landscape. Hi'ipaka LLC, a local nonprofit, owns and cares for Pu'ukua, as it does the rest of the valley. Descendants of those who have been laid to rest here will be welcomed to care for the site and restore the area by planting native plants. It is a gathering place for Hawaiian cultural practitioners, and will be restored into the native forest that welcomes all to Waimea Valley to learn about the living traditions of ancient Hawai'i.

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Since 1972, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than 3.3 million acres and completed more than 5,400 park and conservation projects.