Ancient Home of the Menehunes: Wiamea and Lihue on Kauai, Hawaii


On Kauai, Menehunes build a watercourse to irrigate King Ola’s taro patch, and a pond for their queen that can still be seen today.

King Ola’s Taro Patch

Waimea, on the island of Kauai in the Hawaiian Islands, lies at the mouth of Waimea canyon on the Waimea River. This was one of the ancient homes of the Menehunes. A short distance up the valley is part of a great watercourse, said to be built by the Menehunes to irrigate King Ola’s taro patch. This watercourse, called Kikiaola, is constructed of carefully cut and fitted lava stones. Archeologists say that wherever such stonework is found it is the work of the Menehunes because the Hawaiians did not cut their rock for proper fitting into a wall.

A Royal Fishpond

Lihue, also on Kauai, is another area bounding in Menehune lore. Near there, an ancient fishpond, in the Huleia stream at Niumulu, is a monument to the Menehunes. The walls of the pond are constructed of cut stone.

It is said that the Menehunes built the pone for their alii queen and her brother. To do so, as the legend tells, the Menehunes lined up side by side for a distance of seven miles to Eleele. There they mined special hard rock, which they pasted from one to the other until the stones reached the site where the pond was to be built. There, other Menehune workers fitted the stones into place. And, of course, in Menehune tradition, the construction was all done in one night.

A Danger of Daylight

It was necessary to complete the task in one night because, you see, the Menehunes must be gone with the coming of the first rays of sunlight. If they remained they would turn to stone. It must be true for, alas, the queen and her brother lingered over-long, admiring the fishpond and were caught by the rising sun. They were turned to stone, and the proof is that yet today their stone forms can still be seen looking at their pond.

So whether you are standing on the lush green soil of either Ireland or one of the Hawaiian Island, come St. Patrick’s day on March 17, you just might be the lucky one to see a leprechaun-or perhaps a Menehune.


  1. Boswell, Douglas, Editor. All About Hawaii. Star Bulletin Printing Co., Honolulu, Hawaii.