The Painted Church of Puna

This is a stunning little church in the middle of, well – nowhere. Actually its opposite a Noni farm.

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I went inside and found some amazing Naive style paintings depicting scenes of a leper colony and their relationship with Father Damien who had come to Puna in 1864.

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It’s location is on Highway 130 in Kalapana area. Apparently it was built between 1927 -1928 and the Artist responsible for the lower panels was George Heidler from Athens, Georgia. Father Evarist Gielen from Belgium painted the upper section interior.


There was a huge lava flow in 1990 that affected the Kalapana area so because of this the church had to move to its present location now.

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The locals refer to this church as “The Painted Church” but don’t get confused with the other painted church which is located on the Kona side of the Big Island. The official name for this painted church of Puna is actually “The Star of the Sea Painted Church.”

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Walking into this church I found it to be so full of character and color and personality not to mention the history of such an enchanting and quaint little church. I hope my photo’s do justice to this little monument of peace and love.



4 thoughts on “The Painted Church of Puna

  1. wow, so beautiful! what an amazingly decorated church.Thank you for taking so many pics of it, especially the detail of the paintings.I LOVE THEM!

    • Yes, I planned to go back but so many other things I needed to go and take a “Looksy” – If you ever think about coming back to Hawai’i, there is a WOOFER program just the thing you’d love. Free accommodation, veg. food on a Noni farm opposite the painted church. I been there, my friend Elonia lives out that way. Some real “Punatics” out there too!
      Please email Shankur his email address is on website provided and I can also forward you an application form (real easy stuff to do just med. cert, resume, photo I.D etc) they even offer pick up from airport on some days for small fee or you may get for free depending. You can do this Big Island (Island of Hawai’i) on a shoestring. Believe me I learnt the hard way. You just need a ticket here that’s it – maybe you and hubby can come out here one day?? It’s totally an Artist’s paradise – you’ll fit right in!

  2. For sure this is great, the photographs are fascinating your really a great photographer. Am gonna tell all my friends about this, it’s so natural. Keep it up.

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