Waikoko: Bloody water

The smallest of the nine Halele‘a ahupua‘a, Waikoko contains only 1.8 square kilometers. It is smaller than many ‘ili found in other ahupua‘a but nothing has come down to us to say why this is nevertheless a full fledged ahupua‘a. It had no access to the colorful mountain birds whose feathers were so highly prized. The Waikoko stream runs through it, sometimes unusually acting as a boundary marker. It does have a reef although the waves are usually quite strong and the rip tide can be very swift. Even recently, a fisherman standing on the rocks below Makahoa was swept to his death by the waves.

It is bordered by Lumaha‘i on the west and Waipā on the east.

Two reasons are given for the name of this ahupua‘a. The first says that the stream was red because of the blood of warriors that had flowed into it during a battle against Lauhaka. The second says the water was colored red by a small plant that grew in the water. This fresh-water algae disappeared after rice began to be grown in Waipā.

Both Waikoko and Lumaha‘i had sinister reputations for being dangerous to travelers. The ancient road crossed Makahoa headland and descended to the beach. At the next headland, a path of rocks was made. This path washed out any time there was a storm, which meant a traveler had to return home to wait until the path had been repaired. This path and the safety of crossing it belonged to the mo‘o maiden Ho‘ohila. The beach’s name can be translated as "The Beach of Dead Bodies".

There is no record of any heiau in Waikoko, although there certainly would have been one to receive Lono during the Makahiki season, as well as a fishing shrine near the shore. [Luahiwa]