Pu`ukoholā National Historic Site
As foretold, the young Hawaiʻi Island warrior Kamehameha indeed would rise to be the ruler of the entire Hawaiian archipelago. By battle and by treaty, all the disparate chiefdoms would be united under his rule by 1810. His skill in both types of strategy: war and politics, would become legendary by the time of his death, in Kailua-Kona, in May of 1819. During his long life he married several powerful female aliʻi, or chiefesses, and sired the next two kings of Hawaiʻi. For many historians, the story of the ascendency of Kamehameha the Great begins at what is now Puʻukoholā Heiau National Historic Site.
Kamehameha would be assisted on his quest to conquer all the Hawaiian Islands by an intrepid young British seaman named John Young. It was Mr. Young who introduced the British cannon and British strategic thinking to Kamehameha’s wartime arsenal. He would marry into chiefly lines and become grandfather to Emma, the last Queen of the Kamehameha line. John Young died at the age of 93, leaving a vast legacy of lands and highborn children and grandchildren. His first house was built near Puʻukoholā heiau, and the ruins still stand protected within the park site.
Manō (Blacktip reef sharks) are often seen in nearby Pelekane bay, where the remains of another smaller heiau (temple) said to be dedicated to shark aumakua (family gods) lie submerged in the water. In the winter months it is possible to see koholā (Humpback whales) in their breeding and calving waters offshore.