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

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.

1. Royal Grounds
The royal Grounds area was exclusive to the Ali'i (chiefs) and commoners were forbidden to be there or to even cast a shadow within the area.  The punishment for violating this kapu was death!

 

2. Temple Model
They have built a half sized model of the Hale o Keawe using 'ohi'a wood tied together with coconut fiber.  Ti leaves were used to make the roof.  This model allows you to examine the construction up close, because the actual Hale o Keawe (point 9) is behind a barrier and visitors are not allowed to touch it.

3. Konane
Hawaiian checkers.  White and balck pebbles are used on a stone surface.  The stone playing board is called a papamu.

4. Kanoa
Bowls carved into the lava.  Not sure, but they could have been used to hold dye, make salt out of ocean water or to pound food into pastes.

5. Tree Mold
Made when molten lava would engulf a tree.  The moisture in the tree would cause the surrounding lava to solidify and when the tree was burnt away or decomposed over years, a mold of the tree would be left.

 

6. Keone'ele
This cove was for the use of the Ali'i and the commoners were forbidden.

Sea turtles are often found here sunning themselves on the warm sand.  Sea turtles are protected by federal and state law, so don't disturb or go near them.  Often  when there are turtles on the beach there will be a ranger nearby just to make sure children don't get too close.

7. Halau
The ti leaves hanging from the roof of this structure were tied to a rope and used to drive fish into the shallows - a fishing method called hukilau.

8. The Great Wall
This wall was built to separate the commoners from the royal compound.  The pu'uhonua was on the seaside of the wall.  The wall is up to 10 feet tall and 17 feet thick.  Like all walls built in old Hawaii there was no mortar used.  Originally built about 1550, the wall has been restored to the state it is today.

9. Hale o Keawe
Ki'i (wooden images) stand watch over this reconstruction of a temple and mausoleum which housed the bones of 23 ali'i.

10. Pu'uhonua
On the makai (toward the sea) side of the great wall is the pu'uhonua.  The ground is mostly lava and the living is harsh, but you are alive.  After some mentoring a priest will absolve you of the kapu you broke and you can return home.

11. Keoua Stone
So named because according to reports Keoua, the high Chief of Kona, liked to sit on this stone.  There are holes in the base that may have been use for poles to support a canopy.

12. Ale'ale'a
During its time as the primary heiau for the pu'uhonua, this platform likely had ki'i and thatched huts.  It was constructed in seven stages.

13. Ka'ahumanu Stone
According to legend, Queen Ka'ahumanu, favorite wife of Kamehameha I, once swam a great distance to the pu'uhonua after a quarrel with her husband.  She hid under this stone, but the barking of her dog gave her away.  Her husband found her and they soon made up.

14. Papamu
This is an original stone used in the game of konane.

Photo not available

15. Old Heiau Site
The stones here are all that is left of a very old heiau.  The name has been lost over time.  one of the oldest structures in the pu'uhonua, it has been ravaged over the years by the ocean waves.

16. Heleipalala
This pond, a mixture of sea water and fresh spring water, was a holding pond for fish to be eaten by the ali'i.