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`Iao Valley State Park on Maui, Hawaii


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Part 2: The `Iao Needle (Kuka`emoku)
`Iao Valley State Park on Maui, Hawaii

ʻĪao Needle (Kukaʻemoku) in ʻĪao Valley State Monument on the Island of Maui - Hawaii State Parks

Photo by John Fischer, licensed to About.com
`Iao is so sacred that the remains of the highest chiefs were entrusted to secret hiding places in the valley. Kaka`e, ruler of Maui in the late 1400's to 1500's, is believed to have designated this valley as an ali`i burial area.

The presence of Pihanakalani, a large heiau (temple) near the shore and along the `Iao Stream, denotes the religious significance of `Iao.

Commonly called `Iao Needle, the traditional Hawaiian name for the 2,250 foot peak that dominates the valley is Kuka`emoku. This peak is known as the phallic stone of Kanaloa, Hawaiian god of the ocean.

During periods of warfare, the peak was used as a lookout by warriors. It was here that some Maui warriors retreated from the forces of Kamehameha I during the battle of Kepaniwai.

Kuka`emoku is an erosional remnant. It is at the end of a ridge comprised of a denser dike stone. The softer rock around the dike stone was eroded by streams and waterfalls.

It is rare to find `Iao Valley State Park bathed in sunshine, but that is precisely what we found when we visited the park.

Source: Material for this feature was obtained from informational posters located in `Iao Valley State Park.

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