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Pu'uhonua O Honaunau
National Historic Park


Pu'uhonua O HonaunauPoo-eue-ho-new-ah oh Ho-now-now is also called by many locals The Place of Refuge is a very important place for Hawaiian history.  In ancient Hawaii the rule of law was the kapuKah-poo system where there were forbidden things and activities, which the primary punishment for breaking a kapu was death.  The pu'uhonua were sanctuaries that provided people a second chance.  If someone who broke a kapu could reach a pu'uhonua they would be safe as no blood could be shed within the confines of a pu'uhonua.  The Pu'uhonua O Honaunau (which means place of refuge at Honaunau) is one of the few restored places of its type and is a very beautiful spot.

Here is an artist rendering of the Pu'uhonua O Honaunau (by a local artist Herb Kawainui Kane) that shows the area enclosed by the great wall and the Royal Grounds just outside the great wall.

The rendering is used on the park's brochure and I have placed it here without permission.  There were no copyright notices on the brochure, so I assume it is ok.


The rendering has numbers indicating points of interest that corresponds to the information for the self guided tour of the park.  We will take the tour in photos:

Pu'uhonua O Honaunau
National Historic Park
Walking Tour In Photos

In the visitors center on the way to the area of the park shown above is some audio stations that will give you a bit of a history lesson as to how the islands were populated by the early people and the wall you face gives a pictorial account.

The first panel depicts the discovery of the islands and the audio goes into how the Marquesas first colonized the islands in about 600 to 700 AD and subsequent migrations about 500 years later from what is now called the Society Islands.


Next panels that depicted life in early Hawaii.  Warriors, fishermen and priests are all part of a class system that was unique to Hawaii.