The Study Abroad Newsletter


By Teagan Maher | Geology Major | University of Tromso (Study Abroad)

Imagine working under the scorching sun, passing large basaltic boulders from the neighbor on you right to the neighbor you left, both three feet away. Only the slight breeze from the ocean gives you that slight moment of cooled relief. The daily routine for months to come, until enough rock and boulders has been gathered to build the heiau - a Hawaiian Temple, erected to increase the harvest, control the weather, and ensure victory in wartime.

We had the opportunity to travel back in time with stories by Park Ranger MokiHana and Nathan at the Pu’ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site. Seeing the remains of the heiau in its glory, the accompanying stories and legends of King Kamehameha and Keōua only made the experience ever more significant.

We took a stroll down to the hale o kapuni heiau (shark temple) and hung around looking out for the black-tip reef sharks. We ended off the huaka’i with a dip at Spencer’s Beach – luckily, we could cool off in the ocean and not just by an ocean breeze as the warriors had many moons before us.

Students at the Heiau