By John Fischer
Puʻuhonua O Hōnaunau, formerly known as the City of Refuge Park, was set aside as a national historical park by Congress on July 1, 1961. Utilizing many local artists and artisans with authentic and traditional tools, the National Park Service has worked very hard to restore the site to its appearance in the late 1700's.
The park, located on the Big Island of Hawaii, is of major cultural and historical significance. It is situated on 180 acres, but is easy traversed on foot. A brochure and map for a self-guided tour is available at the Visitors Center.
The park has two major sections, the Palace Grounds and the Puʻuhonua O Hōnaunau, the Place of Refuge. Separating the two areas of the park is the Great Wall.
Your walk through the park begins at the Palace Grounds, the home of the ruling chief. It is surrounded by a beautiful coconut palm grove overlooking Hōnaunau Bay. The nearby beach was strictly reserved for the royalty.
You can see samples of canoes carved from koa wood with lashings of coconut fibers. All of their construction was done with the materials native to the land. Along your path you see models of the different types of houses and storage sheds which sat on the palace grounds.