is a tiny island now buried beneath an abandoned baseball field in Lahaina, Hawaii
. It was the private residence of King Kamehameha III
from 1837 to 1845 and the burial site of several Hawaiian royals. The one-acre island was and continues to be considered sacred to many Hawaiians as a piko
, or symbolic center of energy and power. According to one writer, "the moated palace of Mokuula...was a place of the "Sacred Red Mists," an oasis of rest and calm during the raucous, rollicking days of Pacific whaling. When the capital of Hawaii moved from Lahaina to Honolulu, Mokuula fell into disrepair. By 1919, the county turned the land into Malu Ulu O Lele Park. Restoration efforts are currently underway to revive the site.
It was added to the Hawaii State Register of Historic Places on August 29, 1994, and to the National Register of Historic Places on May 9, 1997 as King Kamehameha III's Royal Residential Complex.
Mokuula was surrounded by a 17-acre spring-fed lake, Mokuhinia. The lake was reported to be the home of Kihawahine, a powerful moo
or lizard goddess. According to myth, the moo was a reincarnation of Pi'ilani
's daughter, the chiefess, Kalaaiheana. Hawaiians cultivated loi, or taro
patches, and fishponds
within the lake.
The Friends of Mokuula, a non-profit organization dedicated to restoration of the sacred site, formed in 1990. Members lead tours of the area. In 1992, archaeologists surveyed the site and began documenting its features and boundaries.
Further reading and resources