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The Sacred History Of The Waipio Valley On Hawaii’s Big Island

What do you know about the sacred history of the Waipio valley on Hawaii’s Big Island?

Geographical Features Of Waipo Valley


The Waipio Valley is situated along the Hamakua Coast on the northeast coast of Hawaii’s Big Island.  It is the biggest valley in the Kohala Mountains. 

The valley is about six miles deep and a mile wide at the shoreline. Alongside the shore is a stunning black sand seaboard. Motion picture production businesses often use the landscape here as their movie settings.

Around the valley are cliffs and waterfalls. As a result, the route to reach the valley is extremely steep.

In English, Waipio means “curved water”. The gorgeous Waipio River flows across the canyon until it joins the sea at the beach.

Valley Of The Kings


The locals called this place the “Valley of the Kings” ‘cause it was the birthplace of many Hawaiian rulers. Therefore, it holds both cultural and historical values to the Hawaiian.

Back then, Waipio was the most productive canyon on Hawaii’s Big Island. Following oral histories, there were about 10,000 residents who lived here before the coming of Captain Cook in 1778.

In 1780, Kamehameha the Great succeeded the throne and became the ruler of the islands. This remarkable event took place in Waipio. Since then, Kamehameha started his domination of the islands.

During the 1800s period, many Chinese settlers came to the valley. At one point, this place had schools, churches, a post office, a hotel, restaurants, and even a jail. However, the 1946 tsunami swept it all away. This was the most disastrous tsunami in the history of Hawaii. After this deluge, almost people moved out of the valley. It has been sparsely inhabited ever since.

In 1979, this place had to suffer another severe deluge. Until this day, there were only around 50 people still residing in the Waipio Valley. They are fishermen, taro farmers, and those who love to live a simple lifestyle here.

The Sacred History Of Waipio Valley


Besides its historical value, the Waipio Valley is also a holy location for Hawaiians. It was an area that has many significant temples. The most sacred and famous is Pakaalana.

 Many of their kings were buried in ancient burial caves on the steep cliff of the valley. The valley residents believe that the king’s power will protect them from harm. And in fact, no one actually died in the terrible 1946 and 1979 deluges.

Also, this is also the place where the myths of the Hawaiian originate. One of the most famous tales is about how Waipio residents stayed safe from the attack of sharks.

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Maris Lopez
Maris Lopezhttp:////
Hey there! I'm Maris, an American girl who is passionate about adventure, the outdoors and all things travel!


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