Pu’u Pehe, also known as Sweetheart Rock, is one of Lâna’i’s most recognisable landmarks. On the Southern coast of the island, between Hulopoe Bay and Manale Bay, stands this magnificent rock, steeped in Hawaiian legend.
Legend tells of two lovers, a beautiful Hawaiian maiden from Lahaina called Pehe and a young warrior from Lâna’i called Makakehau, who gained his name from the Hawaiian words maka, meaning eyes, and kehau, meaning mist. He was so taken by Pehe’s beauty that he would well up every time he saw her.
Makakehau took Pehe to Lâna’i as his wife and hid her in a sea cave at the base of Manele’s cliffs so that no other men could see her. One day Makakehau was out gathering supplies when the weather drastically changed and the raging surf began to pound on the side of the island. He rushed back to the cave but it was too late, Pehe had drowned by the surge of storm waves. Stricken with grief Makakehau gathered her in his arms and, with the help of the gods, he climbed the steep rock island. He buried Pehe in a tomb and then jumped off the 25 metre (80 feet) tall rock to his death.
A trail leads visitors from Hulupo’e Beach, up the side of the cliff, to the overlook of Pu’u Pehe rock. From here one is able to see the tomb on the top of the triangular-shaped rock. Archeologists state that there are actually no human remains in the ‘tomb’ and suggest that it may in fact have been bird heiau (temple) built by ancient Hawaiians.