Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Big Island of Hawaii - Pu'uhonua o Honaunau (Place of Refuge)

Continuing south we found the Pu'uhonua o Honaunau (Place of Refuge) Historical National Park.  From the National Park Service website (at this link),

In old Hawaii, if you had broken a law, the penalty was death. Perhaps you had entered into an area that was reserved for only the chiefs, or had eaten forbidden foods. Laws, or kapu, governed every aspect of Hawaiian society. The penalty for breaking these laws was certain death. Your only option for survival is to elude your pursuers and reach the nearest pu'uhonua, or place of refuge. 

As you enter, the great wall rises up before you marking the boundaries between the royal grounds and the sanctuary. Many ki'i (carved wooden images) surround the Hale o Keawe, housing the bones of the chiefs that infuse the area with their power or mana. If you reached this sacred place, you would be saved.  

The ki'i are fearsome!

Kamehameha's wife angered the king, so she fled to the
refuge.  She hid under this rock until he forgave her.

The refuge represents the old religion; the nearby
"Painted Church" represents the new.

I welcome your comments to the blog - one randomly selected commenter from this week's blogs will win a book choice from my convention stash.   This giveaway is open to all readers.  Comments are open through Saturday, March 17, 10 pm in Hawaii.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, March 18.


Kim in Hawaii

March Madness continues here at SOS Aloha! All commenters in March will be entered into a special drawing for prizes from RT in Chicago. 3 US, 3 Canadian, and 3 international readers will win a package with books and goodies.

Comments can be made at:
- SOS Aloha,
- Aloha On My Mind,
- My guest posts at the Reading Reviewer (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday) at

I'll post the winners of March Madness on Monday, April 2.


  1. Love the ceiling of the church.

  2. Love those pictures, especially those statues. I don't think I've ever seen anything like that in person, they are too cool.

  3. That is interesting about the place of refuge. I bet the people were very happy to make it there.

  4. Well, those were fascinating pictures and facts. The last time I saw anything bigger than the Ki'i was when I was in Hong Kong two years ago, and that was a 100ft Buddah. Hope that you're all enjoying your trip to the Big Island.

  5. Kim -

    It sounds like your having a wonderful time!

    The one thing that really caught my eye in the photos was The Painted Church and it's serene simplicity and beauty and in particular the painted ceiling! Did you learn any information on the design of the ceiling and the painting? Was it done by one person or the village artisans as a cooperative effort? For the paint were native plants used for the colors? I'm also curious as to the year(s) it was constructed and the ceiling painted. Inquiring minds would love some additional information.

  6. Thanks so much for sharing such wonderful pics for those who may never get to see something like this in person.


  7. What a beautiful place. I think I visited a different one.

  8. I love all the photos! Thanks for sharing!

  9. I love how you make history fun with the pictures and the way in which you present the information. Enjoy the rest of your vacation!

  10. Such great pics again thanks

  11. I enjoyed the information and the pictures.

  12. love your pictures of the KI'I, they indeed looks very fearsome:), aretha zhen

  13. I love all these pictures Kim and the History behind them. Thanks for sharing your trip with us.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com