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These ki`is (tikis) are representations of the gods and protect the sacred areas of Pu`uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park, also known as the City of Refuge. Prior to the "discovery" of Hawai`i by Europeans, the islands followed a system of kapus or rules of behavior. Punishment was often quite severe including death — however if the person who broke the kapu could escape and make it to this sacred spot, his crimes would be forgiven by the Kuhuna (priest) allowing him to return, his "debt to society" having been paid.
This site is now preserved and offers cultural programs to inform the public about aspects of the lives of ancient Hawai`ians. Volunteers demonstrate ancient musical instruments, carve dugout canoes, make tapa cloth, carve ki`i, etc. If you visit the Big Island, don't miss it.
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hawaii, kii, tiki, alii, puuhonua, honaunau, puuhonua o honaunau