The Hawaii Kahuna, Priest, and Healer

Kahuna Drumming

While religion figures prominently in all of the activities of the kahuna, they were also experts in their professions or crafts. The temple priests were closely associated with their chiefs and advised them in all important matters.

The medical kahuna, representing more than a dozen specialties, relied upon the spiritual aspects of their profession as well as their knowledge of the human body, of herb remedies, andmassage. Other kahuna, experts in crafts, supervised the construction of houses and canoes. The dreaded kahuna were those who prayed victims to death (kahuna ‘ana’ana).

Hawaiian Traditional CeremonyThe following are some of the types of kahunas:

Kahuna nui:

The high priest. A chief advisor to the ruling chief who consulted with him on matters of importance, such as the proper time to wage war.

Kahuna pule:

Selected from the chiefly class. Pule means prayer. Conducted the rituals in the heiau.

Kahuna kaula:

A prophet. A man or woman who foretold coming events and the outcome of such events. The spirit of his god caused each kaula to speak out fearlessly, often revealing a turn of events that his chief did not want to hear.

Kahuna hulihonua:

The land experts.

Kahuna kuhikuhilani:

Reads sign and omens in the sky.

Kahuna kuhikuhipu’uone:

Locates sites, especially for building heiau. He also selected sites for fishponds and houses.

Kahuna oneone'honua:

Dedicates the heiaus with prayers and special services.

Kahuna kilo hoku:

Studies the stars

Kahuna kilo honua:

Reads signs in the earth.

Kahuna nana uli:

A weather prophet.

Kahuna po'i 'uhane:

Captures the souls of the living or the dead.

Kahuna 'ana'ana:

Prayed people to death.


There were approximately 15 other types having to do with illness and medical practices.

There are no related articles for this article

The Kahuna Versatile Mystics of Old Hawaii

kahunaAuthor: L.R. McBride
Manufacturer: Hilo, Hawaii: The Petroglyph Press (1986)
Used From: $5.99
Buy Now
Description : Great book featuring the history of cultures, religion, and arts of the Kahuna Order of Hawaii. 12 black and white illustrations of Hawaiian art, cermony and culture. Includes bibliography. Softcover.Read More

The Kahuna: Versatile Mystics of Old Hawaii

Author: L. R McBride
Manufacturer: Petroglyph Press
Used From: $7.99
Buy Now
Description : Versatile Masters of Old Hawaii In ancient Hawaii the kahuna were far more than the priests of a religious order. They were experts, trained in a variety of skills and occupations, the learned and professional men and women of their time. On them rested the responsibility of preserving and advancing knowledge within their specific discipline. They arrived at their positions only after more than two decades of training. L. R. Mcbride...Read More

English Arabic Chinese (Traditional) French German Indonesian Italian Japanese Portuguese Russian Spanish

Honolulu Weather

Light rain



Light rain
Humidity: 76%
Wind: E at 14 mph
Mostly sunny
72°F / 82°F
Mostly sunny
70°F / 82°F
Mostly sunny
69°F / 81°F
PM showers
65°F / 79°F

Quick Island Info


Waikiki beach & Diamond Head on Oahu Some consider the island of Oahu to be the prettiest of the islands. From the sandy beaches of Waikiki, to the majesty of Diamond Head, and the inland...

Things to do on Oahu Oahu has it all. From the glitzy, busy lifestyle of Oahu and Waikiki, to the historical aspects of Pearl Harbor and Hawai'ian culture, to nature trails,...

Hiking on Oahu Oahu offers a bit of everything for the hiker. From easy hikes, to more crowded touristy hikes (Diamond Head Crater), to very challenging hikes. And...

Camping on the island of Oahu When one thinks of Oahu, one tends to think of Honolulu skyscrapers and Waikiki beaches. But the island includes many secluded areas and lovely beaches...


Island Falls on the island of Maui The island of Maui is known as the heart chakra of the Hawai'ian islands and the energy of love is greatly present... from the healing provided by Nature...

Hiking Haleakala on Maui On Maui you can hike up at 10,000 feet where you will be above the clouds, or you can hike at sea level, whether by the ocean on impeccable sandy beaches,...

Things to do on the island of Maui Whether your interests center in nature, spirituality, history, wine-making, or something else, Maui has a lot to offer. From the eastern side of the...

Camping on the island of Maui, Hawaii Camping on the island of Maui can range from desert-type settings such as at the Haleakala Volcano Crater, to the beach or tropical settings on the rest...


Relaxing on the island of Kauai In the system that classifies the Hawai'ian islands according to chakras, Kaua'i is the third eye (sixth chakra). Thus it has connotations and connections...

Things to do on Kauai The island of Kauai invites the visitor to its rounded mountains softened with years of erosion. You can visit a fern grotto, farm homesteads and plantations,...

Kauai Hiking Trails: Wailua Falls Kaua'i offers perhaps the most diverse choice of hiking trails of the Hawai'ian islands. It has its own "Grand Canyon" (Waimea Canyon) in the south,...

Camping site on the island of Kauai Kauai's climate ranges from the lush tropical settings of the North shore to the dry arid beaches of the south. The government of Hawaii provides sheltered...


Green Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii   The Big Island has a variety of attractions for the Nature Lover. From the beaches which range from white, green, or black sand, to the mountain...

Things to do on the Big Island The Big Island offers many options for the visitor, and of course no visit would be complete without a visit to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park or...

Hiking on the Big Island: Pololu Valley Awini Trail The Big Island offers a variety of hiking choices for the beginner as well as the experienced hiker. You can hike up to the edge of mountains and volcanic...

Camping on the Big Island of Hawaii The Big Island offers a wide variety of camping choices... from the black lava rock, to the lush tropics of the eastern shore, to the sandy beaches of...


Rainbow over the island of Molokai Molokai is known for its slow pace of life, for its awesome geography, its friendly people, and for Father Damien and his work with the lepers of Kalaupapa....

Things to do on the island of Molokai Molokai prides itself on being the "slower" Hawaiian island, one where the pace of life is still the way it was before modernisation came in and sped...

Hiking on the island of Molokai The island of Molokai is known worldwide due to Father Damian and his work on a secluded section of the island with the lepers at Kalaupapa. However,...

Camping in Molokai: Pala Molokai offers country parks and state parks for the camping enthusiasts. This is one of the less populated and less visited island thus providing you...

Molokai Beach While Molokai may be one of the less visited islands of the Hawaiian chain, it nevertheless has some beautiful scenery and beaches. Papohaku Beach is...


Spinner Dolphins on the island of Lanai Lanai is one of the less visited islands due to the fact that for many years as it was mostly a huge plantation for the Dole company. However, as time...

Things to do on the island of Lanai While Lanai is not a very highly visited Hawai'ian island, it nevertheless offers a choice of activities for the visitor. Whether you prefer hiking or...

Hiking on the island of Lanai  Lanai does not offer a lot of hiking trails. The Munro Trail is an easier hike while the Kuolanai is classified as rugged and dangerous. The Koloiki...