Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Hawaiian Ki’i





The Pu‘uhonua o Hõnaunau National Historical Park

According to the National Park Service web site “this place provided refuge to Hawaiians who came here. Today, the park continues as a sanctuary for visitors seeking a peaceful place and as a safe haven for all of the native wildlife living here.”

A place of refuge or pu‘uhonua provides safe haven for fugitives for breaking certain laws in ancient Hawaiian culture. The only escape from punishment by death is by eluding their pursuers to the safe confines of a place of refuge. “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.”

This place was built around 1550 though certain wooden structures have to be replaced periodically because of the tropical environment.

June 2005, The Big Island of Hawai’i

4 comments:

Eric Baroy Mahinay said...

wow...I used to see that pictures on books and even in television....

e-rod said...

eric...that place is pretty cool. it has a very serene and spiritual feel to it.

Luke said...

I can't help but stare at the last picture! There's something magical about the statues standing with their backs to the viewer, as if they're setting off for a journey.

e-rod said...

glad you like it, luke. i think the statues are looking to the ocean to look out for fugitives coming out to this place to seek refuge.