Ancient Hawaiian culture dates back thousands of years where natives carved “Ki’i pohaku,” or petroglyphs, into stone. More than 100 stone carvings are located around the islands with some being easier to find than others.
Puako, Big Island
The 233- acre Puako Petroglyph Archeological District contains over 3,000 Malama carvings. Petroglyphs include turtles, dogs, humans and weapon-like forms. It is believed that these are some of the oldest carvings in the Pacific due to its stick figure model. Petroglyphs are accessed from the Holoholokai beach park.
Nu’uanu Petroglyph Park, Oahu
The petroglyphs are found in three sites along the Nu’uanu stream, behind the park’s cemetery and mausoleum. Approximately, 40 petroglyphs are found consisting of dog and human figures. Although no wild dogs existed on the island, legend follows the Dog Gods of the Ko’olau Mountains, and involves supernatural dog, Poki.
Kahalu’u Beach Park, Big Island
These flat lava rock petroglyphs are best seen at low tide. High tide generally covers the rocks, making it unnoticeable. The human and abstract carvings are located 200 yards south of the park’s pavilion. A petroglyph depicting the defeat of Maui’s Chief Kamalalawalu is noticeable on the rocks at the southwestern corner of Keauhou Archaeological Complex.
Ka’upulehu Petroglyphs, Big Island
These petroglyphs are located at Kona Village Resort, which showcase unique carvings not found anywhere else on the island. The carvings mainly depict sails, suggesting that this beach could have once offered a navigation school. The only way to see the petroglyphs is through a guided tour.
Olowalu Petroglyphs, Maui
These carvings depict human, animal and canoe artwork etched into a rising cliff wall. To see the petroglyphs, travel south on Highway 30 to Kahului toward mile marker 15, looking for the Olowalu General Store. Take the dirt road located north of the water tower, behind the general store, toward Olowalu Valley. Drive ¼ mile and look for the large mound of rocks on the right. Here, a red handrail is present at the petroglyphs location, which start on the ground up to 60-feet in height.