According to legends, the Menehune built a fort and a temple at the top of the hill ‘Ulumalu. They were driven away from their fort by the high chief Kuali‘i during his reign (sometime in the 1700s). Kuali‘i rebuilt it after his seizure of the fort. This heiau was the center piece of a string of heiaus that strung across the Kona district of O‘ahu. The existence of such an important heiau at the mouth of the valley could be taken as an indication of the early importance of Mānoa.
Another legend says that the Menehune were driven from their fort and temple by the owls, who became their bitter enemies. The legends say that the Menehune built a temple and a fort a little farther up the valley above Pu‘u-pueo, at a place called Kūka‘ō‘ō. The heiau has been restored and is part of the Mānoa Heritage Center, a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote stewardship of the natural and cultural heritage of Hawai‘i. The site consists of Kūka‘ō‘ō Heiau, a Native Hawaiian garden and Kūali‘i, a Tudor-style house, built in 1911.