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Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park: Map


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The entrance to the park
A few examples of the Hawaiian "hale" built on the beach
Pu uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park is a United Statesmarker National Historical Park located on the west coast of the island of Hawai imarker in the U.S. state of Hawai imarker. The historical park preserves the site where, up until the early 19th century, Hawaiians who broke a kapu (one of the ancient laws) could avoid certain death by fleeing to this place of refuge or pu uhonua. The offender would be absolved by a priest and freed to leave. Defeated warriors and non-combatants could also find refuge here during times of battle. The grounds just outside the Great Wall that encloses the pu uhonua were home to several generations of powerful chiefs.

The park

The 420 acre (1.7 km²) site was originally established in 1955 as City of Refuge National Historical Park and was renamed on November 10, 1978. It includes the pu uhonua and a complex of archeological sites including: temple platforms, royal fishponds, sledding tracks, and some coastal village sites. The Hale o Keawe temple and several thatched structures have been reconstructed.

Hale O Keawe heiau

reconstructed Hale o Keawe
The park contains a reconstruction of the Hale O Keawe heiau, which was originally built by a Konamarker chief named Kanuha.After the death of Keawe, a great chief of Kona in the mid 16th century, his bones were entombed within the Heiau. The nobility (ali'i) of Kona continued to be buried here for 250 years. The last person buried here was a son of Kamehameha I in 1818.

It was believed that additional protection to the place of refuge was received from the mana in the bones of the chiefs. it survived several years after other temples were destroyed.It was looted by Lord George Byron (cousin of the distinguished English poet) in 1825.In 1929, High Chiefess Kapi olanimarker removed the remaining bones and hid them in the Pali Kapu O Keōua cliffs above nearby Kealakekua Baymarker. She then ordered this last temple to be destroyed. The bones were later moved to the Royal Mausoleum of Hawaiimarker in 1858.


  • Ward, Greg. 2004, The Rough Guide to Hawaii. Rough Guides.

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