Poli‘ahu Heiau is evidence of a sophisticated culture that sustained thousands of people in a healthy manner long before Western contact. Taro, and later rice, was grown along the river.
It is one of seven heiau stretching along the Wailua River from the ocean to the top of Mount Wai‘ale‘ale. These heiau align on an East to West axis and ceremonies were held within the rock walls.
The presence of an anu‘u tower indicates the importance that stars play in the Hawaiian calendar. They determine the seasons and the timing of cultural ceremonies and traditional practices.