Ki’i Wooden Gods


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Ki’i Wooden Gods, Pu’uhonua o Honauna
Big Island of Hawaii

Wooden images of the gods, known to the ancient Hawaiians as ki’i, protect Pu’uhonua o Honauna, one of the most sacred places in Hawaii. The ki’i guard the Hale o Keawe Heiau, a sacred temple that housed the bones of 23 Hawaiian chiefs said to still inhabit the area with their power or mana. Until 1819, defeated Hawaiian warriors and those who broke sacred law could escape death by reaching this sacred ground. A ceremony of absolution would take place to allow the law-breaker to return to society.