The Healer Stones of Kapaemahu honor four mahu – remarkable individuals of dual male and female spirit – who brought healing arts from Tahiti to Hawaii long ago. Although the stones still stand on Waikiki beach, their story has been suppressed and the once respected role of mahu erased, even from the plaques at the monument.
This omission does harm to those whose existence it erases, to the Kanaka whose histories it suppresses, and to the residents and visitors who lose the opportunity to learn about Hawaii’s long traditions of diversity and inclusion.
I support the community effort to make the signage at the site of the stones historically and culturally accurate by including the important role of mahu. Public sites are powerful symbols of who and what a community values. The City and County of Honolulu public monument to Kapaemahu, of all sites, should be a shining example of that ideal.