Bishop Museum revisits history of gender-fluid healers

  • Beachgoers walk by the Kapaemahu stones at Waikiki beach in Honolulu on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. A new exhibit at Honolulu's Bishop Museum draws attention to the stones which honor four "mahu" healers from Tahiti who visited Hawaii more than five centuries ago. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)

  • Beachgoers stop to read the plaque at the Kapaemahu stones at Waikiki beach in Honolulu on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. A new exhibit at Honolulu's Bishop Museum draws attention to the stones which honor four "mahu" healers from Tahiti who visited Hawaii more than five centuries ago. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)

  • Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu, one of the curators of the new Kapaemahu exhibit at Bishop Museum, poses for a photo in Honolulu on June 16 in front of pictures of four healers who visited Hawaii from Tahiti more than 500 years ago. The exhibit draws attention to the stories of the healers, who were “mahu” or individuals who presented themselves as a mixture of male and female, and highlights gender fluidity’s deep roots in Polynesia. (AP Photos/Audrey McAvoy)

  • The Kapaemahu stones are seen at Waikiki beach in Honolulu on June 28.

  • Kekoa Hager presents an offering at the Kapaemahu stones at Waikiki beach in Honolulu on June 28. A new exhibit at Honolulu's Bishop Museum draws attention to the stones which honor four "mahu" healers from Tahiti who visited Hawaii more than five centuries ago. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)

  • The Kapaemahu stones are seen at Waikiki beach in Honolulu on Tuesday, June 28, 2022. A new exhibit at Honolulu's Bishop Museum draws attention to the stones which honor four "mahu" healers from Tahiti who visited Hawaii more than five centuries. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)

HONOLULU — More than 500 years ago, Hawaiians placed four boulders on a Waikiki beach to honor visitors from the court of Tahiti’s king who had healed the sick. They were “mahu,” which in Hawaiian language and culture refers to someone with dual male and female spirit and a mixture of gender traits.