In old Hawaii, 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 forbidden. Laws, or kapu, governed every aspect of Hawaiian society. The penalty for breaking these laws was certain death. Your only option for survival is to elude your pursuers and reach the nearest puuhonua, or place of refuge.
As you enter, 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. If you reached this sacred place, you would be saved.
Today, you may visit Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, and still fell the spirit of peace and forgiveness that continues to surround and bless this special place.
It seemed, from the brochures and the signs there, that this place was some kind of village as well. The king or the chief of the area lived there at times, and had a small harbor that only he was allowed to use. In this small natural harbor, we could see sea turtles puttering around.
We fell soundly into our beds that night. We had lots of big plans for our first full day.