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Tag-Archive for "Hawaii culture"

Please Show Respect Nov 02


Sacred Grounds

As a travel consultant who specializes in sending many visitors each year to visit The Hawaiian Islands I try to provide them with as much information as possible. Throughout the booking process we discuss  which islands to visit,  which activities, which restaurants  and so forth. I love sharing the information I have gathered over the years and many visits to each of the islands about all the fun stuff there is to do, but it is also my  Kuleana (responsibility) to make sure that visitors know that when they see culturally sensitive sites  marked with signs that say KAPU (keep out- forbidden) they need to respect these sites and stay out.
I was so upset on my most recent visit to the islands while visiting such a site a malihini (tourist or visitor) went running right by this sign as well as others that were posted and just kept on running.  I wondered to myself  how he made his reservations to visit the island  on his own or through a travel agent, and how much time had been spent learning about all the beautiful things Hawaii
has to offer, but obviously very little time about the Hawaiian Culture.
   From the very first time I visited  the Hawaiian Islands, I felt they were very special and continue to try to learn more about the culture and history. It must break the heart of  kama’aina (native born or islanders) when they witness someone disrespect their Hawaiian Heritage. To many visitors  it may just look like a pile of rocks , mound of dirt or something very common, but when you learn to understand the connection between the Hawaiian people and the ‘aina  (the land) it helps put everything into prospective. We grow up knowing that Hawaii is one of the United States, but to native Hawaiians  there was a monarchy and most of these sites have a connection to the royal family somehow, a birth site, site of their residence or sacred resting place.
 They also have a deep respect for their  rainforest, waterfalls, rivers and the ocean as well as so many other treasures that are Hawaii so  please be careful to observe their signs, place your ‘opala  (trash or rubbish) only in designated places and help to maintain the beauty that is Hawaii for generations to come. We should always remember that we are malihini   (tourists or visitors) and that those that came before us took care of it for us and it is our responsibility to do the same for those that visit after us.
Normally  I so enjoy sharing fun  enlightening things about my visits to the islands, but I just felt compelled to write about our responsibilities to always repect the Hawaiian People, after all we are visiting their homeland .
Mahalo Nui Loa ( Thank you very much)
Linda Dancer    Email     Toll Free 1-888-811-1800 ext 331

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Pu’uhonua o Honaunau – Place of Refuge Aug 03

Entrance to the Park

Located on the black lava flats of the southern Kona Coast of the Big Island of Hawaii, Pu’uhonua o Honaunau is a National Historical Park.  The park  gives visitors insight into the traditional Hawaiian way of life.  Honaunau Bay, was a perfect location  due to a protected place for canoe landings and availability of drinking water, fit for a king  literally, this area as established as one of the most important residences of the ali’i (royal chiefs).

The Pu’uhonua (a place of refuge for defeated warriors  and those that broke kapu-the sacred laws)  was separated by  the royal grounds by a massive lava rock wall.  Used for centuries until  1819 when Kamehameha II abolished  traditional religious practices, many of the religious sites and structures were destroyed or abandoned ,and with years of neglect the temples of the pu’uhonua were ravaged by sun,wind and sea. Finally in the  1920s  the area was set aside as a county park and in  1961 it became a national historical park to preserve a setting where visitors can learn about Hawaiian ways in a natural setting.

Ki’i(wooden images) stand watch over this rebuilt temple and mausoleum

The self guided tour along the  one half mile graveled walking path takes visitors through the royal grounds  and the pu’uhonua. The royal grounds were within the ahupua’a of Honaunau, a political sub-district that descended the slope of Mauna Loa into the ocean. The ancient Hawaiians used the mountain-to-the-sea method of dividing land because it gave residents access to farm,collecting drinking water and to fish to provide for their families.  The original royal residence consisted of 10 or more thatched  buildings in the coconut palm grove . The beach canoe landing was only for the chief and his attendants, the wooden images in the water warned others of the kapu. A massive stone wall  built around 1550  still stands and separates the royal grounds form the pu’uhoua. It was not the stone wall that bestowed sanctity to the area but the mausoleum that held the bones of 23 ali’i (noble chiefs)-tradition holds that the ali’i possessed mana, spiritual power. Hale o Keawe, the newest heiau built about 1650 to honor the great-grandfather of Kamehameha I , and being an important chief his bones were placed in the temple, and the mana of Keawe was believed to protect the pu’uhonua. Blood could not shed within its confines, so those who sought a new life here were safe -the spirit of the pu’uhonua was respected by all.

When you visit the park  remember this is a sacred place, please be respectful .  Many of the stone structures are very fragile so please do not climb or walk on them and remember it is unlawful to disturb or remove any structures,artifacts, plants or wildlife from the park.

Often  Hawaii green sea turtles bask in the sun, but remember you can not touch them, and you must stay within posted boundaries away from them.

Pu’uhonua o Honaunau  –     (808) 328-2288   Located on the Kona Coast  Big Island of Hawaii, take Hawaii 11 to Hawaii 160(between mile posts 103 nad 104) the park entrance will be down the hill . Begin at the visitors center to pickup a park map – I suggest wearing closed toe shoes as the gravel kept getting in my flip-flops.  Also just outside the royal grounds are a couple of picnic tables , so go late morning and then have a picnic lunch.

For more info contact: Linda Dancer   Direct Line  828-256-1520

Remember the best way way to enjoy Hawaii is to get out and explore the islands


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