Oʻahu’s verdant Waimea Valley was once the domain of the kahuna, the priest class of ancient Hawaiʻi. 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 the Puʻukua property in Waimea Valley from the threat of development.
Puʻukua 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 Puʻukua in 2019 to complete the permanent protection of this sacred landscape. Hiʻipaka LLC, a local nonprofit, now owns and cares for Puʻukua, as it does the rest of the valley. Descendants of those who have been laid to rest here will be able to continue caring 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 Hawaiʻi.