“Endless is the good that I have given you to enjoy.”–Kamehameha I
How many places in America can you walk in the footsteps of a king? Where else has a stranded sailor risen up to become a great chief over an entire island? Where else can you experience the culminating event of a people, foretold from centuries past? Where else can you stand on a beach and watch as sharks pass over a submerged temple? Experience all this and much more – only at Pu’ukoholā Heiau!
A Furious Journey of Life or Death was Determined by the Gods
Imagine you had just broken the sacred laws, the kapu, and the only punishment was death. Your only chance of survival is to elude your pursuers and reach the Pu’uhonua, a place of refuge. The Pu’uhonua protected the kapu breaker, defeated warriors, as well as civilians during the time of battle. No physical harm could come to those who reached the boundaries of the Pu’uhonua.
On the Lava Flows the People Discovered a Spirit…
To survive in a hot and arid environment the native Hawaiians (kanaka maoli) used ancient fishing skills, including the building of fishponds, and the knowledge of the location of precious fresh water (wai) that flows into the many brackish pools throughout the park. The spirit of the people (poe) and the knowledge of the elders (kupuna) created a tradition of respect and reverence for this area.
Enduring Spirit, Sacred Ground
When Hansen’s disease (leprosy) was introduced to the Hawaiian Islands, King Kamehameha V banished all afflicted to the isolated Kalaupapa peninsula on the north shore of Molokai.
Since 1866, more than 8000 people, mostly Hawaiians, have died at Kalaupapa. Once a prison, Kalaupapa is now refuge for the few remaining residents who are now cured, but were forced to live their lives in isolation.
A National Monument in the Making
Although not yet open to the public, Honouliuli National Monument will tell the history of internment, martial law, and the experience of prisoners of war in Hawai‘i during World War II. Honouliuli will be a place to reflect on wartime experiences and recommit ourselves to the pursuit of freedom and justice.