Kona Hawaii / Pu'uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park

May 2004
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This cove (Keone'ele) was the royal canoe landing, forbidden to all commoners. Honaunau Bay, with its sheltered canoe landing and availability of drinking water, was a natural place for the ali'i - royal chiefs - to establish one of their most important residences. Separated from the royal grounds by a massive wall was the pu'uhonua, a place of refuge for defeated warriors, noncombatants in time of war, and those who violated the kapu, the sacred laws. This place was used for several centuries. Then, in 1819, Kamehameha II abolished traditional religious practices and many of the old religious sites and structures were destroyed or abandoned. The temples of the pu'uhonua were left to the extremes of sun, wind, and sea. The area was set aside as a county park in the 1920s. In 1961 it became a national historical park to maintain a setting where many of the old Hawaiian ways carry on in the modern world. (Courtesy of National Park Service)