In old Hawaii, if you had broken a law, the penalty was death. 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 one enters Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park on the Big Island, a great wall rises up 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. Today, one can still feel the spirit of peace and forgiveness that continues to surround this special place.