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Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park

Hawaii is full of national parks. There is such rich culture, geography and history on the Hawaiian Islands that it is hard to determine what not to deem “protected” or “important to history”. You’re sure to visit one of the State or National Parks on your Hawaiian holiday.

Pu'uhonua O Honaunau and its History

In old Hawaii, the culture thrived on coastal living and farming. The people respected and paid homage to their gods and goddesses and had a deep respect for the law of the lands.

When someone broke that sacred law, or kapu, the punishment would be harsh. Sometimes, it would mean death. The only chance that a criminal or lawbreaker had was to make it to Pu’uhonua o Honauanau. If they did make it then they were absolved of the crime in a special ceremony and were allowed to return to the public realm. Pu’uhonua literally means “place of refuge”.

Pu'uhonua O Honaunau is located on the South Kona coast, next to Honaunau Bay. It is located on 180-acres of deep, Hawaiian cultural land and important land. Besides being the place of refuge up until the 19th century, it was also the home of royal grounds for quite a while.

What to do While Visiting Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park

  • Much of the park has been restored and beautifully done.
  • It is hundreds of years old and is still a place of important history for the Hawaiian culture.
  • You can take a self-guided tour of the lands and see:
  • The Great Wall which stands 10 foot high and is 17 feet thick
  • Wooden images of gods, called kii, guard the sacred temple of Hale o Keawe Heiau.
  • The Hale o Keawe Heiau once housed the bones of 23 alii, or chiefs.

The Royal Grounds near Pu'uhonua

  • The Royal Grounds are just north of Pu’uhonua and they were once the home of the alii.
  • You can all see the Keoua Stone which was a favorite spot to rest for the Kona high chief.
  • The Royal Grounds holds another heiau (sacred temple) one of the oldest structures in the park.
  • The Royal Grounds can be particularly breathtaking at sunset.

A trip to Pu'uhonua O Honaunau National Historical Park during your Hawaiian holiday will may take you away from the beach, snorkeling and shopping for the day, but you’ll leave with a deeper respect and understanding of Hawaiian culture when you leave.