Babette Galang and Kathleen Kang Kaulupali, both students of Papa Henry Auwae, recently shared a presentation about these "Healing Stones" in Waikīkī before taking POL staff down to see them earlier this week. They are part of a small group of stewards that have been cleaning and maintaining the site since 1988.
The following is excerpted from a report to the Queen Emma Foundation and the Historic Preservation Division of the Department of Land and Natural Resources by Fields Masonry, 1997:
Centuries ago, from the island of Raiatea, four healers from the court of the Tahitian chief came to Hawaii: Kapaemāhu, Kapuni, Kīnohi and Kahaloa.
The four healers travelled throughout the islands ministering their miraculous cures to those who were ill. Their fame spread throughout the Hawaiian islands. Their services were sought after by chiefs and commoners alike.
They resided at a place called Ulukou in Waikīkī, near the Moana Hotel. When the time came for the four to return to their ancestral home, they requested four stones be placed, two at their place of residence and two at their favorite bathing place. On the night of Kāne, thousands transported four huge stones from the quarry in Kaimukī (former site of the King's Daughter's Home, at the juncture of 5th and Wai‘alae avenues) to Ulukou. Ceremonies and rituals lasted through another cycle of the moon and then four healers departed to their homeland, never to return. The four stones have been moved to several locations since, an in 1980, the City Department of Parks and Recreation relocated them to the current site at Kūhiō Beach Park.
Under the guidance of Papa Henry Auwae, Hawaiian organizations and the City & County worked to provide a proper setting for the stones. This included building a paepae (platform) for the stones to be placed and a fence to prevent further desecration. They have been placed in the same vertical and horizontal orientations as they were previously.
Planted nearby are naupaka kahakai, ‘ohe, and Hawaiian tobacco.
The haumana of Papa Auwae regularly go to Nā Pōhaku to clean and maintain this sacred site. They also share the history and significance with interested groups.