The Healer Stones of Kapaemahu – Honolulu, Hawaii - Atlas Obscura

The Healer Stones of Kapaemahu

On Waikīkī Beach, a monument to four extraordinary individuals of dual male and female spirits who brought the healing arts from Tahiti to Hawai'i. 

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In the heart of Waikīkī, between the statue of Duke Paoa Kahanamoku, the father of modern surfing, and a police station, sit four large stones that represent a Hawaiian tradition of healing and inclusion that is all but unknown to the millions of locals and visitors passing by. 

According to legend, these boulders honor four mahu—people of dual male and female mind, heart, and spirit—who long ago brought the healing arts from Tahiti to Hawaiʻi and used their spiritual power to treat disease. The stones were much beloved by Princess Kaʻiulani, the last heir to the throne of the Hawaiian Kingdom, who placed seaweed lei and prayed to them before swimming. But an influx of foreign influences and prejudices throughout the 20th century resulted in a vastly changing island landscape, and the stones were nearly forgotten. At one point they were even buried under a bowling alley.

The stones were recovered in 1963, and today they sit on a raised platform protected by a fence. But their story is still largely unknown, and the accompanying informational plaque does not even mention that the healers were mahu, or that their duality was the source of their healing power. The best way to help restore this unique monument is to share the story of the stones and what they represent.

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July 28, 2022

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