Categorized | Education, Featured

Naha and Pinao stones at Hilo Public Library get interpretive sign

The Naha and Pinao Stones fronting the Hilo Public Library. Photography by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7.


Hilo Downtown Improvement Association’s signage design committee members who attended the sign installation ceremony at Hilo Public Library. Front row, from left: Paul Neves (Royal Order of Kamehameha), Dolly Strazar (Lyman Museum), Jeff Melrose (HDIA), and Claudine Fujii (recently retired Hilo Public Library branch manager). Back row includes halau members of kumu hula Paul Neves. Photo courtesy of Hilo Public Library.

Did you know that the Naha and Pinao stones, located in front of Hilo Public Library on the Island of Hawaii, now have an interpretive sign to celebrate the rich cultural history of community places in Historic Downtown Hilo?

Hilo Downtown Improvement Association (HDIA) recently installed “The Spiritual Power of Stones” sign and unveiled it in a ceremony and hula performed by kumu hula Paul Neves and his halau. The sign is also part of a broader interpretive initiative promoted by the community through the Envision Downtown Hilo 2025 Plan.

Both stones are important artifacts of Hilo’s Native Hawaiian traditions and are a link to early ali’i in the region.

According to ancient legend, the person who could move the Naha stone would conquer and unite the Hawaiian Islands. In 1789, King Kamehameha I is said to have lifted the massive 2½-ton stone while he was in his early 30’s which confirmed the prophesy that he would be a great warrior king.

The upright Pinao stone has less certain origins but is associated with the Pinao Heiau that once stood on or near the site of the Library.

The sign is funded by a grant from the County of Hawaii, Envision Downtown Hilo (EDH) program and supported by Councilman Donald Ikeda’s contingency funds in 2008.

Members of the signage design committee included Jeff Melrose (HDIA), Claudine Fujii (recently retired Hilo Public Library branch manager), Dolly Strazar (Lyman Museum), Dennis Taniguchi (EHCC), Paul Neves (Royal Order of Kamehameha), Skylark Rosetti (HIEDB), Sam Pulu’ole (HDIA), and Val Ferrari (Windward Designs).

Hilo Public Library is located at 300 Waianuenue Avenue.

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