According to tradition, Mo’okini Heiau dates back to the 5th century, when it was built on the northern tip of the island, by the high priest, Mo’okini. Somewhere between the 11th and 14th century (dates vary) another priest called Pa’ao is said to have built the current structure. Pa’ao came from Tahiti or Samoa and is also said to have brought to Hawaii the practice of human sacrifice and the kapu system, laws that governed daily life.
Given its history, it’s not surprising that some people find the site eerie and unsettling. The stone in the photo to the right, is where flesh was stripped from bone after a person had been sacrificed.
For more information about Mo’okini Heiau, go to nps.gov/nr/travel/Asian_American_and_Pacific_Islander_Heritage/Mookini-Heiau.htm.