City of Refuge Hawaii
Welcome to the City of Refuge Hawaii or Pu’uhonua o Honaunau. 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 in such a case would be to elude your pursuers and reach the nearest pu’uhonua, or place of refuge.
As you enter the place of refuge, 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. A condemned individual, reaching this sacred place, would then be saved.
Visitors today may visit Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, the City of Refuge and still feel the spirit of peace and forgiveness that continues to surround and bless this special place. Watch this quality video to learn more!
The Pu’uhonua is still considered a sacred site. Therefore the following restrictions are in effect: No commercial filming, nudity, beach chairs, towels, mats, beach umbrellas, coolers, picnicking, pets, weddings or wedding photos, smoking and recreational activities such as Frisbee throwing, football tossing, etc. are permitted. Please help to preserve the City of Refuge Hawaii , Pu’uhonua as in the ancient times.
Photos and video by Touch Hawaii.