Old Kite Petroglyphs Found in Hawaii

Ben Ruhe
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That the ancient Polynesians in New Zealand and Easter Island, Tahiti and the Cook Islands, and elsewhere were kite makers and kite fliers is well documented. But of particular interest to Americans, perhaps, is the evidence for this skill to be found in the U.S. itself—in the nation’s southernmost state, Hawaii.

The evidence is scanty but unquestionable. Two beautiful large petroglyphs (rock carvings) showing kites similar to the bird kites of the Maori of New Zealand can be found on the Kohala coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. They are at the Kaupulehu site, on the grounds of a resort north of Kona airport. Access to the carvings in ground level lava is obtained by booking into the Kona resort, or by calling the resort for a tour reservation. "“Not a bad idea",” says Georgia Lee, author with Edward Stasack of Spirit of Place: Petroglyphs of Hawaii. "“It is, in my opinion, the greatest resort ever. It should be, at $500 a day.”" The kite images are associated with petroglyphs of giant sails.

A third, smaller kite petroglyph is at the Puako site on the grounds of the Mauna Lani hotel, north of Kona village. The site is huge and permission to explore is not needed. Dr. Lee, a long time archeologist on Easter Island, says she will provide specific directions for anyone wanting to find this carving, which measures 86 by 60 cm (33.5 by 23.4 inches). Her online address is moananui@worldnet/att.net.

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