Virtual Guidebook to the Big Island of Hawai'i
Pu'uhonua O Honaunau
Island of Hawai'i Hawaii


This is one of the longest and strangest names for any unit of the national park system. Pu'uhonua is the Hawaiian term for a "place of refuge", where breakers of kapu (taboo) in the native religion could find safety from punishment. Honaunau is the name of the area, now a village. There are other places of refuge in Hawaii, notably the one at Hauola at the mouth of the Wailua River on Kaua'i.

This relatively spacious "city of refuge" (as it was once named), is bordered by a massive stone wall and contains fishponds, a sheltered landing place, and a heiau (temple). The national park property includes a stretch of coastal trail running south and several village sites. Descendants of Hawai'ian royalty still live nearby.



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A thatched shelter with a traditional canoe under construction.

(March 3, 2011)


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A small fishpond at Pu'uhonua.

(March 3, 2011)


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The Great Wall marking the boundary of the place of refuge.

(March 3, 2011)


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A heiau on the shore at Pu'uhonua.

(March 3, 2011)


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Restored Native Hawaiian heiau at Pu'uhonua o Honaunau.

(March 3, 2011)


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Reconstructed temple enclosure at Pu'uhonua o Honaunau.

(March 3, 2011)


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Carved wooden tikis front the temple at Pu'uhonua o Honaunau.

(March 3, 2011)


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The landing place at Pu'uhonua.

(March 3, 2011)


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Honaunau Bay and landing adjacent to Pu'uhonua o Honaunau.

(March 3, 2011)


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