Photos: Courtesy of Ian Masterson
Article Written By: Katrina Valcourt
What is it?
In Hawaiian lore, Piliaama was a konohiki, surfer and fisherman on the North Shore, until one day, when he was running away form an alii women who was in love with him, he vanishedm leaving nothing but his footprint in a large rock, about 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide, near Waimea Bay. Ian Masterson, noted surfer and WCC professor, says he discovered the stone after delving into Waimea’s surfing history and reading Gilbert McAllister’s description of it in Archaeology of Oahu (1933). He believes the stone should be honored as a scared site, perhaps as a place for offerings to the patron surfer of the bay.
What threatens it?
The Piliaama Stone sits very close to the road, only a few feet back form the asphalt. It is in danger of being hit by cars of nicked by tree-trimming equipment, which has already left marks on the front of it. If nobody knows it’s there, Piliaama’s story may be lost.
What can be done?
“How do we deal with sacred sites, do we leave them hidden or do we honor them? It feels like Piliaama should be honored,” Masterson says. He suggests putting a sign and short wrought-iron fence around it, like the Kahuna Stones in Waikiki, or even a small chain encircling the stone. But building a protective barrier may be a safety issue so close to Kamehameha Highway. Anyone who wants to take on this project would need to discuss it with the State Historic Preservation Division first. “For me, it would be great to be able to be a caretaker, remove brushes away from that area and clean the area up above it,” Masterson says. He’s had “the greatest relationship honoring Piliaama all these years.”