Place of Refuge Big Island: Hawaii
Kailua-Kona, United States
Place of Refuge Big Island: Hawaii Kailua-Kona Reviews
Place of Refuge ~ pu'uhonnua ~ scenic sanctuary Nov 11, 2007
The Place of Refuge or Pu'uhonnua O Ponaunau is an amazing place to visit. It holds a very important place in the Hawaiian culture. The bones of chiefs are buried there. The sanctuary offered a person with a death sentence a second chance.
If a person broke one of the kapu, the sentence was death. If he or she were not killed the village and the whole island were at peril with the wrath of the gods. The gods could send an earthquake, famine, volcano eruption or tidal wave to punish the village.
The ka'pu were part of everyday activities such as eating with the opposite sex or gathering timber without permission. The ka'pu also regulated honoring the chief. People were not allowed to look directly at the chief, step in his steps, touch his possessions or allow their shadows to fall on the palace grounds. If these things happen it is fatal as the villagers must hunt down and kill the transgressor.... the only way to escape death is to run or swim to the place of refuge where the kahunas absolve the person of the crime and send them back to the village. Sometimes it only took only a few hours before they returned to their families.
The park entrance has excellent pamphlets explaining the sights and customs of the ancient Hawaiians. The houses and stone structures are marked and explained in the pamphlet. Many of the stone structures are from 1500's. The park is beautiful and peaceful and it really feels like a holy place. The freshwater ponds are a great place to get photographs...
The place of refuge is a short 30 minute drive from Kona airport area south on highway 11. Put this on your to-do list for the Big Island. It is a fascinating look at the ancient customs and life on Hawaii.
Part of the Mahalo Hawaii travel blog
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