from the Hawaiian
by Dr. N. B. Emerson 1898
The first "Mo`ōlelo Hawai`i" (Hawaiian History), was written at
Lahainaluna about 1835-36 by some of the older students, among whom was
David Malo, then 42 years of age. They formed what may be called the
first Hawaiian Historical Society. The work was revised by Rev. Sheldon
Dibble, and was published at Lahainaluna in 1838. A translation of it
into English by Rev. R. Tinker was published in the Hawaiian Spectator
in 1839. It has also been translated into French by M. Jules Remy, and
was published in Paris in 1862.
The second edition of the Mo`ōlelo Hawai`i, which appeared in 1858, was
compiled by Rev. J. F. Pogue, who added to the first edition extensive
extracts from the manuscript of the present work, which was then the
property of Rev. Lorrin Andrews, for whom it had been written, probably
David Malo's Life of Kamehameha I, which is mentioned by Dr. Emerson in
his life of Malo, must have been written before that time, as it passed
through the hands of Rev. W. Richards and of Nahienaena, who died
December 30, 1836. Its disappearance is much to be deplored.
Remarks on Hawaiian History
Formation of the Land
Origin of the Primitive Inhabitants of Hawaii-nei
Generations Descended from Wakea
Given to Directions, or the Points of the Compass
Used to Designate Space Above and Below
Natural Features of the Land
Concerning the Rocks
Plants and the Trees
Divisions of the Ocean
Under the Tabu-System
Divisions of the Year
Domestic and the Wild Animals
Articles of Food and of Drink in Hawaii
Tapas, Malos, Pa-us and Mats of the Hawaiians
Stone-Ax and the New Ax
The Aliis and the
Life in the
Out-Districts and at the "King's Residence
Wrong Conduct and
The Valuables and
Possessions of the Ancient Hawaiians
The Worship of Idols
Observances Relating to Children
The Circumcision of
for the Healing of the Sick
The Ceremony of Kuni
Ceremonies on the
Death of a King
Treatment of the Sick
Obsession ( Akua
The House Its
Furniture and Its Consecration
The Hawaiian Canoe
Performed by the Aliis for Offspring
The Makahiki Festival
The Civil Polity (Kalai-moku)
Sports and Games: Ume
Sports and Games: Kilu
Sports and Games: Puhenehene
Sports and Games: Kukini (Running
Sports and Games: Maika
Sports and Games
Sports and Games: Heihei-Waa
Sports and Games: Hee-Nalu
Sports and Games: Hee-Holua (Holua-Sledding)
Sports and Games: Noa
Sports and Games: Pu-kaula (Juggling)
Sports and Games: Kea-Pua, or Pa-Pua
Sports and Games: Haka-Moa (Cock
Sports and Games: The Hula
Sports and Games: Mokomoko (Boxing)
Sports and Games: Hakoko (Wrestling)
Sports and Games: Sundry Minor Sports
Traditions of the
Ancient Kings, and Genealogy
Haloa, the Son of
Waia, the Son of
Ai-kanaka, Puna and Hema, Kahai, Wahie-loa, Laka, Lua-nuu,
Pohu-kaina, Hua, Pan, Huanui-i-ka-lai-lai, Pau-makua, Haho, Palena,
Hana-laa-nui, Hana-laa-iki, Puna-imua, Lana-kawai, Laau, Pili, Koa,
Ole, Kuko-hou, Ka-niuhi, Kanipahu
General Remarks On Hawaiian History
The traditions about the
Hawaiian Islands handed down from remote antiquity are not entirely
definite; there is much obscurity as to the facts, and the traditions
themselves are not clear. Some of the matters reported are clear and
intelligible, but the larger part are vague.
The reason for this
obscurity and vagueness is that the ancients were not possessed of the
art of letters, and thus were: unable to record the events they
witnessed, the traditions handed! down to them from their forefathers
and the names of the lands in which their ancestors were born. They do,
however, mention by name the lands in which they sojourned, but not the
towns and the rivers. Because of the lack of a record of these matters
it is impossible at the present time to make them out clearly.
The ancients left no
records of the lands of their birth, of what people drove them out, who
were their guides and leaders, of the canoes that transported them, what
lands they visited in their wanderings, and what gods they worshipped.
Certain oral traditions do, however, give us the names of the idols of
Memory was the only
means possessed by our ancestors of preserving historical knowledge; it
served them in place of books and chronicles.
No doubt this fact
explains the vagueness and uncertainty of the more ancient traditions,
of which some are handed down correctly, but the great mass incorrectly.
It is likely there is greater accuracy and less error in the traditions
of a later date.
Faults of memory in part
explain the contradictions that appear in the ancient traditions, for we
know by experience that "the heart is the most deceitful of all things."
When traditions are
carried in the memory it leads to contradictory versions. One set think
the way they heard the story is the true version; another set think
theirs is the truth; a third set very likely purposely falsify. Thus it
comes to pass that the traditions are split up and made worthless.
The same cause no doubt
produced contradictions in the genealogies (moo-ku-auhau). The initial
ancestor in one genealogy differed from that in another, the advocate of
each genealogy claiming his own version to be the correct one. This
cause also operated in the same way in producing contradictions of the
historical traditions; one party received the tradition in one way,
another party received it in another way.
In regard to the worship
of the gods, different people had different gods, and both the worship
and the articles tabued differed the one from the other. Each man did
what seemed to him right, thus causing disagreement and confusion.
The genealogies have
many separate lines, each one different from the other, but running into
each other. Some of the genealogies begin with Kumu-lipo 1 as
the initial point; others with Pali-ku 2; others with Lolo
3; still others with Pu-anue 4; and others with
Ka-po-hihi 5. This is not like the genealogy from Adam, which
is one unbroken line without any stems.
There are, however,
three genealogies that are greatly thought of as indicating the Hawaiian
people as well as their kings, These are Kumn-lipo, Pali-ku, and Lolo.
And it would seem as if the Tahitians and Nuuhivans had perhaps the same
origin, for their genealogies agree with these.
NOTES TO CHAPTER 1
Kumu-lipo, origin in darkness, chaos. Ripo-ripo is a Polynesian word
meaning vortex, abyss. In Hawaiian, with a change of the Maori and
Tahitian r to /, it was applied to the blackness of the deep sea.
Origin by Kumu-lipo may by a little stretch of imagination be
regarded as implying
the nebular hypothesis.
Pali-ku meant literally vertical precipice. There is in the phrase a
tacit allusion to a riving of the mountains by earthquake
cataclysmal theory of cosmogony. "Pali-ku na mauna" is an expression
used in a pule.
Lolo, brains in modern Hawaiian parlance; more anciently perhaps it
meant the oily meat of the cocoanut prepared for making scented oil.
Pu-anue; Mr. S. Percy Smith kindly suggests, Pu, stem, root, origin.
Anue, the rainbow. Cf. Samoan account of the origin of mankind from
the Fue-sa, or sacred vine, which developed worms (iloilo), from
which came mankind.
Ka-po-hihi; The branching out or darting forth of po, i.e. night or
chaos. Po was one of the cosmic formative forces of Polynesia. Hihi:
to branch forth or spread out, as a growing vine. Po-hi-hi-hi means
obscure, puzzling, mysterious. In Maori, Tahitian and Marquesan hihi
means a sunbeam, a ray of the sun.
Back to Contents
Formation Of The Land (Cosmogony)
It is very surprising to
hear how contradictory are the accounts given by the ancients of the
origin of the land here in Hawaii.
It is in their
genealogies (moo-ku-auhau) that we shall see the disagreement of their
ideas in this regard.
In the moo-ku-auhau, or
genealogy named Pu-anue, it is said that the earth and the heavens were
begotten (hanau maoli mai).
It was Kumukumu-ke-kaa
who gave birth to them, her husband being Paia-a-ka-lani. Another
genealogy declares that Ka-mai-eli gave birth to the foundations of the
earth (mole o ka honua), the father being Kumu-honua.
In the genealogy of
Wakea it is said that Papa gave birth to these Islands. Another account
has it that this group of islands were not begotten, but really made by
the hands of Wakea himself.
In the genealogy called
Kumu-lipo it is said that the land grew up of itself, not that it was
begotten, nor that it was made by hand.
In these days certain
learned men have searched into and studied up the origin of the Hawaiian
Islands, but whether their views are correct no one can say, because
they are but speculations.
These scientists from
other lands have advanced a theory and expressed the' opinion that there
was probably no land here in ancient times, only ocean; and they think
that the Islands rose up out of the ocean as a result of volcanic
Their reasons for this
opinion are that certain islands are known which have risen up out of
the ocean and which present features similar to Hawaii nei. Again a sure
indication is that the soil of these Islands is wholly volcanic. All the
islands of this ocean are volcanic, and the rocks, unlike those of the
continents, have been melted in fire. Such are their speculations and
The rocks of this
country are entirely of volcanic origin. Most of the volcanoes are now
extinct, but in past ages there were volcanoes on Maui and on all the
Back to Contents
The Origin Of The Primitive Inhabitants Of Hawaii Nei
In Hawaiian ancestral
genealogies it is said that the earliest inhabitants of these Islands
were the progenitors of all the Hawaiian people.
In the genealogy called
Kumu-lipo it is said that the first human being was a woman named
La'ila'i and that her ancestors and parents were of the night (he po
wale no), that she was the progenitor of the (Hawaiian) race.
The husband of this
La'ila'i was named Ke-alii-wahi-lani (the king who opens heaven); but it
is not stated who were the parents of Ke-alii-wahi-lani, only that he
was from the heavens; that he looked down and beheld a beautiful woman,
La'ila'i, dwelling in Lalawaia; that he came down and took her to wife,
and from the union of these two was begotten one of the ancestors of
And after La'ila'i and
her company it is again stated in the genealogy called Lolo that the
first native Hawaiian (kanaka) was a man named Kahiko. His ancestry and
parentage are given, but without defining their character; it is only
said he was a human being (kanaka).
Kupulanakehau was the
name of Kahiko's wife; they begot Lihauula and Wakea. Wakea had a wife
named Haumea, who was the same as Papa. In the genealogy called Pali-ku
it is said that the parents and ancestors of Haumea the wife of Wakea
were pali (precipices). With her the race of men was definitely
These are the only
people spoken of in the Hawaiian genealogies; they are therefore
presumably the earliest progenitors of the Hawaiian race. It is not
stated that they were born here in Hawaii. Probably all of these persons
named were born in foreign lands, while their genealogies were preserved
here in Hawaii.
One reason for thinking
so is that the countries where these people lived are given by name and
no places in Hawaii are called by the same names. La'ila'i and
Ke-alii-wahi-lani lived in Laiowaia; Kahiko and Kupu-lana-ke-hau lived
in Kamawae-lualani; Wakea and Papa lived in Lolo-i-mehani.
There is another fact
mentioned in the genealogies, to-wit: that when Wakea and Papa were
divorced from each other, Papa went away and dwelt in Nuu-meha-lani.
There is no place here in Hawaii called Nuu-meha-lani. The probability
is that these names belong to some foreign country.
Back to Contents
Generations Descended From Wakea
It is said that from
Wakea down to the death of Haumea there were six generations, and that
these generations all lived in Lolo-i-mehani; but it is not stated that
they lived in any other place; nor is it stated that they came here to
Hawaii to live.
Following these six
generations of men came nineteen generations, one of which, it is
supposed, migrated hither and lived here in Hawaii, because it is stated
that a man named
Kapawa, of the twentieth
generation, was born in Kukaniloko, in Waialua, on Oahu.
It is clearly
established that from Kapawa down to the present time generations of men
continued to be born here in Hawaii; but it is not stated that people
came to this country from Lolo-i-mehani; nor is it stated who they were
that first came and settled here in Hawaii; nor that they came in
canoes, waa; nor at what time they arrived here in Hawaii.
It is thought that this
people came from lands near Tahiti and from Tahiti itself, because the
ancient Hawaiians at an early date mentioned the name of Tahiti in their
meles, prayers, and legends.
I will mention some of
the geographical names given in meles: Kahiki-honua-kele1
Anana-i-malu,2 Holani3 Hawa-ii, Nuu-hiwa; in
legends or kaaos, Upolu, Wawau, Kukapuaiku, Kuaihelani; in prayers,
Uliuli, Melemele, Polapola, Haehae, Maokuululu, Hanakalauai.
Perhaps these names
belong to lands in Tahiti. Where, indeed, are they? Very likely our
ancestors sojourned in these lands before they came hither to Hawaii.
Perhaps because of their
affection for Tahiti and Hawaii they applied the name Kahiki nui to a
district of Maui, and named this group (pae-aina) Hawaii. If not that,
names of the first men
to settle on these shores were Hawaii, Maui, Oahu, Kauai, and at their
death the islands were called by their names.
The following is one way
by which knowledge regarding Tahiti actually did reach these shores: We
are informed (by historical tradition) that two men named Paao and
Makua-kaumana, with a company of others, voyaged hither, observing the
stars as a compass; and that Paao remained in Kohala, while
Makua-kaumana returned to Tahiti.
Paao arrived at Hawaii
during the reign of Lono-ka-wai4 the king of Hawaii. He
(Lono-ka-wai) was the sixteenth in that line of kings, succeeding
Paao continued to live
in Kohala until the kings of Hawaii became degraded and corrupted
(hewa); then he sailed away to Tahiti to fetch a king from thence. Pili5
(Kaaiea) was that king and he became one in Hawaii's line of kings (papa
It is thought that
Kapua in Kona was the point of Paao's departure, whence he sailed away
in his canoe; but it is not stated what kind of a canoe it was. In his
voyage to Hawaii, Pili was accompanied by Paao and Makua-kaumana and
others. The canoes (probably two coupled together as a double canoe)
were named Ka-nalo-a-mu-ia. We have no information as to whether these
canoes were of the kind called Pahi.6
Tradition has it that on
his voyage to this country Pili was accompanied by two schools of fish,
one of opelu and another of aku and when the wind kicked up a sea, the
aku would frisk and the opelu would assemble together, as a result of
which the ocean would entirely calm down. In this way Pili and his
company were enabled to voyage till they reached Hawaii. On this account
the opelu and the aku were subject to a tabu in ancient times. After his
arrival at Hawaii, Pili was established as king over the land, and his
name was one of the ancestors in Hawaii's line of kings.
There is also a
tradition of a man named Moikeha, who came to this country from Tahiti
in the reign of Kalapana, king of Hawaii.
After his arrival
Moikeha went to Kauai to live and took to wife a woman of that island
named Hinauulua, by whom he had a son, to whom he gave the name Kila.
When Kila was grown up
he in turn sailed on an expedition to Tahiti, taking his departure, it
is said, from the western point of Kahoolawe, for which reason that cape
is to this day
(the route to Tahiti).
Kila arrived in safety
at Tahiti and on his return to these shores brought back with him
Laa-mai-kahiki."7 On the arrival of Laa was introduced the
use of the kaekeeke8 drum. An impetus was given at the same
time to the use of sinnet in canoe lashing (aha hoa waa), together with
improvements in the plaited ornamental knots or lashings, called
lanalana.9 The names I have mentioned are to be numbered
among the ancestors of Hawaiian kings and people, and such was the
knowledge and information obtained from Tahiti in ancient times, and by
such means as I have described was it received.
The Hawaiians are
thought to be of one race with the people of Tahiti and the Islands
adjacent to it. The reason for this belief is that the people closely
resemble each other in their physical features, language, genealogies,
traditions (and legends), as well as in (the names of) their deities. It
is thought that very likely they came to Hawaii in small detachments.
It seems probable that
this was the case from the fact that in Tahiti they have large canoes
called pahi; and it seems likely that its possession enabled them to
make their long voyages to Hawaii. The ancients are said to have been
skilled also in observing the stars, which served them as a mariner's
compass in directing their course.
The very earliest and
most primitive canoes of the Hawaiians were not termed pahi, nor yet
were they called moku (ships); the ancients called them waa.
It has been said,
however, that this race of people came from the Iewa10 the
firmament, the atmosphere; from the windward or back of the island (kua
o ka moku).
The meaning of these
expressions is that they came from a foreign land, that is the region of
air, and the front of that land is at the back of these islands.
Perhaps this was a
people forced to flee hither by war, or driven in this direction by bad
winds and storms. Perhaps by the expression lewa, or regions of air,
Asia is referred to; perhaps this expression refers to islands they
visited on their way hither; so that on their arrival they declared they
came from the back (the windward) of these islands.
Perhaps this race of
people was derived from the Israelites, because we know that certain
customs of the Israelites were practiced here in Hawaii.
Circumcision, places of
refuge, tabus (and ceremonies of purification) relating to dead bodies
and their burial, tabus and restrictions pertaining to a flowing woman,
and the tabu that secluded a woman as defiled during the seven days
after childbirth all these customs were formerly practiced by the people
Perhaps these people are
those spoken of in the Word of God as "the lost sheep of the House of
Israel," because on inspection we clearly see that the people of Asia
are just like the inhabitants of these islands, of Tahiti and the lands
Notes To Chapter 4
Kahiki-honua-kele: In Hawaiian the root kele is part of the word
kele-kele meaning muddy, miry, or fat, greasy. In Tonga the meaning
also is muddy. It is a word applied to the soil.
Anana-i-malu: Mr. S. P. Smith suggests that Anana is the same as
ngangana, an ancient name for some part of Hawa-iki raro, or the
Fiji and Samoan groups.
Holani: It is suggested that this is the same as Herangi, the Maori
name for a place believed to be in Malaysia.
According to the ULU GENEALOGY, given by Fornander, ''The Polynesian
Race," Vol. I, Lana-ka-wai is the seventeenth name after Hele-i-pawa.
It seems probable, as implied by Fornander, that Hele-i-pawa and Ka-pawa
were the same person; also that Lana-ka-wai is an erroneous
orthography for Lono-kawai. Granting these emendations, the problem
of reconciling the tangled skein of Hawaiian genealogies is made a
Pili (Kaaiea): Pili is an ancient Samoan name.
Pahi is the Tahitian or Paumotuan for boat, ship, or canoe. (In
Mangarevan pahi means ship.)
Laa was a son of Moikeha who had remained in Tahiti.
The haekeeke was a carved, hollow log, covered with sharkskin at one
end and used as a drum to accompany the hula.)
Lanalana is the name applied to the lashing that bound the amo or
float to the curved cross-pieces of the canoe's outrigger. These
lashings were often highly ornamental. One of them was called
pa'u-o-luukia, a very decorative affair, said to have been so styled
from the corset, or woven contrivance, by which Moikeha's paramour,
the beautiful Luukia, defended herself against the assaults of her
lover, when she had become alienated from him. Aha is used
substantively to mean sinnet, or the lashing of a canoe made from
sinnet, Lanalana is not used substantively to mean sinnet.
According to Wm. Wyatt Gill the Mangaians represent all ships as
breaking through from the sky. This expression is in strict
accordance with the cosmogony of the time, that the earth was a
plain, the sky a dome, and the horizon a solid wall
on which the heavens rested.
Back to Contents
Names Given To Directions Or The Points Of The Compass
The ancients named
directions or the points of the compass from the course of the sun. The
point where the sun rose was called kukulu1 hikina. and where
the sun set was called kukulu komohana.
If a man faces towards
the sunset his left hand will point to the south, kukulu hema, his right
to the north kukulu akau. These names apply only to the heavens (lani),
not2 to the land or island (mokupuni) .
These points were named
differently when regard was had to the borders or coasts (aoao) of an
island. If a man lived on the western side of an island the direction of
sun-rising was termed uka, and the direction of sun-setting kai, so
termed because he had to ascend a height in going inland, uka, and
descend to a lower level in going to the sea, kai.
Again, north, kiikulu
akau, is also spoken of as luna, or i-luna (up), and south is spoken of
as lalo ( down), the reason being that that quarter of the heavens,
north, when the (prevailing) wind blows is spoken of as up, and the
southern quarter, towards which it blows, is spoken of as down.
As to the heavens, they
are called the solid above, ka paa iluna,3 the parts attached
to the earth are termed ka paa ilalo, the solid below; the space between
the heavens and the earth is sometimes termed ka lewa, the space in
which things hang or swing. Another name is ka hookui,4 the
point of juncture, and another still is ka halawai, i.e. the meeting.
To a man living on the
coast of an island the names applied to the points of compass, or
direction, varied according to the side of the island on which he lived.
If he lived on the
eastern side of the island he spoke of the west as uka, the east as kai.
This was when he lived on the side looking east. For the same reason he
would term South akau because his right hand pointed in that direction,
and north he would term hema5, i.e. left, because his left
hand pointed that way.
In the same way by one
living on the southern exposure of an island, facing squarely to the
south, the east would be called hema, left, akau, the west.
So also to one living on
the northern face of an island the names applied to the points of
compass are correspondingly all changed about.
Here is another style of
naming the east: from the coming of the sun it is called the sun
arrived, ka-la-hiki, and the place of the sun's setting is called
ka-la-kau, the sun lodged. Accordingly they had the expression mai ka la
hiki a ka la kau, from the sun arrived to the sun lodged; or they said
mai kela paa a keia paa,6 from that solid to this solid.
These terms applied only
to the borders, or coasts, of an island, not to the points of the
heavens, for it was a saying "O Hawaii ka la hiki, o Kauai ka la kau,"
Hawaii is the sun arrived, Kauai is the sun lodged. The north of the
islands was spoken of as "that solid," kela paa, and the south of the
group as "this solid," keia paa. It was in this sense they used the
expression "from that firmament
According to another way
of speaking of directions (kukulu), the circle of the horizon
'encompassing the earth at the borders of the ocean, where the sea meets
the base of the heavens, kumu lani. this circle was termed kukulu o ka
honua, the compass of the earth.
The border of the sky
where it meets the ocean-horizon is termed the kukulu-o-ka-lani, the
walls of heaven.
The circle or zone of
the earth's surface, whether sea or land, which the eye traverses in
looking to the horizon is called Kahikimoe.
The circle of the sky
which bends upwards from the horizon is Kahiki-ku; above Kahiki-ku is a
zone called Kahiki-ke-papa-nuu; and above that is Kahiki-ke-papa-lani;
and directly over head is Kahiki-kapui-holani-ke-kuina.
The space directly
beneath the heavens is called lewa-lani; beneath that, where the birds
fly, is called lewa-nuu; beneath that is lewa-lani-lewa; and beneath
that, the space in which a man's body would swing were he suspended from
a tree, with his feet clear of the earth, was termed lewa-hoomakua. By
such a terminology as this did the ancients designate direction.
NOTES TO CHAPTER 5
was a wall or vertical erection, such as was supposed to stand at
the limits of the horizon and support the dome of heaven, Hikina is
the contracted form of hiki ana coming, appearing.
think Malo is mistaken in this statement. The terms hikina, or
kukulu-hikina, komohana, etc., as designating East, West, North,
South, were of general application, on sea and on land; whereas, the
expressions uka and kai, with their prefixes ma and i, making makai
and ikai, mauka and iuka, etc., had sole reference to position on or
tendency towards land or sea, towards or away from the centre of the
island. The primitive and generic meaning of the word uka, judging
from its uses in the Southern languages, was that of stickiness,
solidity, standing ground. Where a man's feet stood on solid ground
was uka. Nowhere in the world more than in the Pacific could the
distinction between terra firma and the continent of waters that
surrounded it be of greater importance, and the necessity for nicely
and definitely distinguishing it in language be more urgent. The
makers of the Hawaiian tongue and speech well understood their own
paa iluna is literally the upper firmament, taking this word in its
original and proper meaning.
is undoubtedly that part of the vault of heaven, the zenith, where
the sweeping curves of heaven's arches meet; the halawai was
probably the line of junction between the kukulu, walls or pillars
on which rested the celestial dome, and the plane of the earth.
certainly has been no such confusion in the use of these terms among
the Hawaiians of the present generation as to lead one to think that
David Male's statements are not mistaken. The Hawaiians, as a race
of navigators from their earliest traditional recollection, are now
and must have been eminently clear-headed in all that concerned
matters of direction. I do not believe their terminology of
direction was quite so confused as would appear from Malo's
statements. The Hawaiian, in common with other Polynesians, was
alive to the importance of marking the right-handed and left-handed
direction of things relative to himself, and it is easy to believe
that for temporary and supplemental purposes he might for the moment
indicate a northerly direction by reference to his left side, but
that it was more than a temporary, or incidental use I do not
credit. It is true that his term for North was Akau, the same as was
used to express the right; but it must .be observed that in
designating the points of the compass they coupled with the Hema, or
Akau, the word kukulu.
kela paa a keia paa. literally from one firmament to another
firmament, direction in a vertical line.
Back to Contents
Terms Used To Designate Space Above And Below
The ancients applied the
following names to the divisions of space above us. The space
immediately above one's head when standing erect is spoken of as luna-ae;
above that luna-aku; above that luna-loa-aku; above that luna-lilo-aku;
above that luna-lilo-loa; and above that, in the firmament where the
clouds float, is luna-o-ke-ao; and above that were three divisions
called respectively ke-ao-ulu, ka-lani-uli and ka-lani-paa, the solid
Ka-lani-paa is that
region in the heavens which seems so remote when one looks up into the
sky. The ancients imagined that in it was situated the track along which
the sun travelled until it set beneath the ocean, then turning back in
its course below till it climbed up again at the east. The orbits of the
moon and the stars also were thought to be in the same region with that
of the sun, but the earth was supposed to be solid and motionless.
The clouds; which are
objects of importance in the sky, were named from their color or
appearance. A black cloud was termed eleele, if blue-black it was called
uliuli, if glossy black hiwahiwa, or polo-hiwa. Another name for such a
cloud was panopano.
A white cloud was called
keokeo, or kea. If a cloud had a greenish tinge it was termed maomao, if
a yellowish tinge lena. A red cloud was termed ao ula, or kiawe-ula or
onohi-ula, red eye-ball. If a cloud hung low in the sky it was termed
hoo-leivalewa, or the term hoo-pehu-pehu, swollen, was applied to it. A
sheltering cloud was called hoo-malu-malu, a thick black cloud
hoo-koko-lii, a threatening cloud hoo-weli-weli. Clouds were named
according to their character.
If a cloud was narrow
and long, hanging low in the horizon, it was termed opua, a bunch or
cluster. There were many kinds of opua each being named according to its
appearance. If the leaves of the opua pointed downwards it might
indicate wind or storm, but if the .leaves pointed upwards, calm
weather. If the cloud was yellowish and hung low in the horizon it was
called newe-newe, plump, and was a sign of very calm weather.
If the sky in the
western horizon was blue-black, uli-uli, at sunset it was said to be
pa-uli and was regarded as prognosticating a high surf, kai-koo. If
there was an opening in the cloud, like the jaw of the a'u, (sword
fish), it was called ena and was considered a sign of rain.
When the clouds in the
eastern heavens were red in patches before sunrise it was called kahea
(a call) and was a sign of rain. If the cloud lay smooth over the
mountains in the morning it was termed papala and foretokened rain. It
was also a sign of rain: when the mountains were shut in with blue-black
clouds, and this appearance was termed pala-moa. There were many other
signs that betokened rain.
If the sky was entirely
overcast, with almost no wind, it was said to be poi-pu (shut up), or
hoo-ha-ha, or hoo-lu-luhi; and if the wind started up the expression
hoo-ka-kaa, a rolling together, was used. If the sky was shut in with
thick, heavy clouds it was termed hakuma, and if the clouds that covered
the sky were exceedingly black it was thought that Ku-lani-ha-koi was in
them, the place whence came thunder, lightning, wind, rain,, violent
When it rained, if it
was with wind, thunder, lightning and perhaps a rainbow, the rain-storm
would probably not continue long. But if the rain was unaccompanied by
wind it would probably be a prolonged storm. When the western heavens
are red at sunset the appearance is termed aka-ula (red shadow or glow)
and is looked upon as a sign that the rain will clear up.
When the stars fade away
and disappear it is ao, daylight, and when the sun rises day has come,
we call it la; and when the sun becomes warm, morning is past. When the
sun is directly overhead it is awakea, noon; and when the sun inclines
to the west in the afternoon the expression is ua aui ka la. After that
comes evening, called ahi-ahi (ahi is fire) and then sunset, na poo ka
la, and then comes po, the night, and the stars shine out.
Midnight, the period
when men are wrapped in sleep, is called au-moe, (the tide of sleep).
When the milky way passes the meridian and inclines to the west, people
say ua huli ka i'a, the fish has turned, Ua ala-ula mai o kua, ua moku
ka pawa o ke ao; a keokeo mauka, a wehe ke ala-ula, a pua-lena, a ao loa,
i.e. "There comes a glimmer of color in the mountains, the curtains of
night are parted; the mountains light up; day breaks; the east blooms
with yellow; it is broad daylight."
Rain is an important
phenomenon from above; it lowers the temperature. The ancients thought
that smoke from below turned into clouds and produced rain. Some
rain-storms have their origin at a distance. The kona was a storm of
rain with wind from the south, a heavy rain. The hoolua-storm was
likewise attended with heavy rain, but with wind from the north. The
naulu, accompanied with rain, is violent but of short duration.
The rain called awa is
confined to the mountains, while that called kualau occurs at sea. There
is also a variety of rain termed a-oku. A water-spout was termed
wai-pui-lani. There were many names used by the ancients to designate
appropriately the varieties of rain peculiar to each part of the island
coast; the people of each region naming the varieties of rain as they
deemed fitting. A protracted rain-storm was termed na-loa, one of short
duration ua poko, a cold rain ua hea.
The ancients also had
names for the different winds.1
Wind always produced a
coolness in the air. There was the kona, a wind from the south, of great
violence and of wide extent. It affected all sides of an island, east,
west, north and south, and continued for many days. It was felt as a
gentle wind on the Koolau, the north-eastern or trade-wind side of an
island, but violent and tempestuous on the southern coast, or the front
of the islands, (ke alo o na mokupuni).
The kona wind often
brings rain, though sometimes it is rainless. There are many different
names applied to this wind. The kona-ku is accompanied with an abundance
of rain; but the kona-mae, the withering kona, is a cold wind. The
kona-lani brings slight showers; the kona-hea is a cold storm; and the
kona hili-maia the banana-thrashing kona blows directly from the
The hoolua, a wind that
blows from the north, sometimes brings rain and sometimes is rainless.
The hau is a wind from
the mountains, and they are thought to be the cause of it, because this
wind invariably blows from the mountains outwards towards the
circumference of the island.2
There is a wind which
blows from the sea, and is thought to be the current of the land-breeze
returning again to the mountains. This wind blows only on the leeward
exposure or front (alo) of an island. In some parts this wind is named
eka (a name used in Kona, Hawaii), in others aa, (a name used at Lahaina
and elsewhere), in others kai-a-ulu, and in others still inu-wai.3
There was a great variety of names applied to the winds by the ancients
as the people saw fit to name them in different places.
The place beneath where
we stand is called lalo; below that is lalo-o-ka-lepo (under ground);
still below that is lalo-liloa (the full form of the expression would be
lalo-lilo-loa); the region still further below the one last mentioned
was called lalo-ka-papa ku.
A place in the ocean was
said to be maloko o ke kai, that is where fish always live. Where the
ocean looks black it is very deep and there live the great fish. The
birds make their home in the air; some birds live in the mountains.
NOTES TO CHAPTER 6
would be a hopeless task to enumerate all the names used in
designating the winds on the different islands. The same wind was
often called by as many names on the same island as there were capes
and headlands along the coast of that island.
Evidently the land-breeze.
water-drinking, is a name not frequently applied to a rainless wind
that wilts and dries up the herbage.
Back to Contents
Natural and Artificial Divisions of the Land
The ancients gave names
to the natural features of the land according to their ideas of fitness.
Two names were used to indicate an island; one was moku, another was
aina. As separated from other islands by the sea, the term moku (cut
off) was applied to it; as the stable dwelling place of men, it was
called aina, land, (place of food).
When many islands were
grouped together, as in Hawaii nei, they were called pae-moku or
pae-aina; if but one moku or aina.
If one (easily) voyaged
in a canoe from one island to another, the island from which he went and
that from which he sailed were termed moku kele i ka waa, an island to
be reached by a canoe, because they were both to be reached by voyaging
in a canoe.
Each of the larger
divisions of this group, like Hawaii, Maui and the others, is called a
moku-puni (moku, cut off, and puni, surrounded).
An island is divided up
into districts called apana, pieces, or moku-o-loko, interior divisions,
for instance Kona on Hawaii, or Hana on Maui, and so with the other
These districts are
subdivided into other sections which are termed sometimes okana and
sometimes kalana. A further subdivision within the okana is the poko.
By still further
subdivision of these sections was obtained a tract of land called the
ahu-puaa, and the ahu-puaa was in turn divided up into pieces called
The ili-aina were
subdivided into pieces called moo-aina, and these into smaller pieces
called pauku-aina (joints of land), and the panku-aina into patches or
farms called kihapai. Below these subdivisions came the koele1,
the haku-one2 and the kuakua3.
According to another
classification of the features of an island the mountains in its centre
are called kua-hiwi, back-bone, and the name kua-lono4 is
applied to the peaks or ridges which form their summits. The rounded
abysses beneath are (extinct) craters, kua pele.
Below the kua-hiwi comes
a belt adjoining the rounded swell of the mountain called kua-mauna or
mauna, the mountainside.
The belt below the
kua-mauna, in which small trees grow, is called kua-hea, and the belt
below the kua-hea, where the larger sized forest-trees grow is called
wao5, or wao-nahele, or wao-eiwa.
The belt below the
woo-eiwa was the one in which the monarch s of the forest grew, and was
called wao-maukele, and the belt below that, in which again trees of
smaller size grew was called wao-akua6 and below the wao-akua
comes the belt called wao-kanaka or ma'u. Here grows the ama'au fern and
here men cultivate the land.
Below the ma'u comes the
belt called apaa (probably because the region is likely to be hard,
baked, sterile), and below this comes a belt called ilima7
and below the ilima comes a belt called pahee, slippery,8 and
below that comes a belt called kula (plain, open country) near to the
habitations of men, and still below this comes the belt bordering the
ocean called kahakai, the mark of the ocean (kaha, mark, and kai, sea.)
There are also other
names to designate the features of the land: The hills that stand here
and there on the island are called puu, a lump or protuberance; if the
hills stand in line they are designated as lalani puu or pae puu; if
they form a cluster of hills they are designated kini-kini puu or
A place of less eminence
was called an ahua; or if it was lower still an ohu, or if of still less
eminence (a plateau) it was termed kahua.9
A narrow strip of high
land, that is a ridge, was called a lapa or a kua-lapa, and a region
abounding in ridges was called olapa-lapa.
A long depression in the
land, a valley, was called a kahu-wai; it was also called awawa or
Those places where the
land rises up abrupt and steep like the side of a house are named pali10;
if less decided precipitous they are spoken of as opalipali.
A place where runs a
long and narrow stretch of beaten earth, a road namely, is termed
ala-nui; another name is kua-moo (lizard-back). When a road passed
around the circumference of the island it was called the ala-loa. A
place where the road climbed an ascent was termed pii'na; another name
was hoopii'na; another name still was koo-ku, and still another name was
Where a road passed down
a descent it was termed iho'na, or alu, or ka-olo (olo-kaa, to roll down
hill), or ka-lua or hooiho'na. The terraces or stopping places on a
(steep) road where people are wont to halt and rest are called oi-o-ina.
A (natural) water-course
or a stream of water was called a kahawai (scratch of water); its source
or head was called kumu-wai; its outlet or mouth was called nuku-wai. An
(artificial) ditch or stream of water for irrigating land is called au
wai. When a stream mingles with sea water (as in the slack water of a
creek) it is termed a mui-wai11. A body of water enclosed by
land, i.e. a lake or pond, is called a loko.
NOTES TO CHAPTER 7
koele was a piece of land seized by an alii while under cultivation
by serf or peasant. The peasant was required to keep it still under
cultivation, but the land and the crops went to the alii. The work
devoted to its cultivation was called hana po-alima, because Friday
was the day generally given up to work for the alii.
was the small piece of land under cultivation by the peasant which
the konohiki seized for his own use, though the peasant had to
continue its cultivation. A peasant, for instance, had six
taro-patches; the alii appropriated the best one for himself, and
that was called koele. The konohiki, or haku-aina, took another for
himself and that was called haku-one.
kua-kua was a broad kuauna or embankment between two wet patches
which was kept under cultivation.
am informed on good authority that a kua-lono was a broad plateau
between two vallies, while a kua-lapa was a narrow ridge.
is the name of any kind of a wilderness or uninhabited region, the
abode of gods, spirits and ghosts.
In this phrase, which means wilderness of gods, we have embodied the
popular idea that gods and ghosts chiefly inhabit the waste places
of the earth.
Iei or garlands of beautiful chrome-yellow flowers which the flower
girls of Honolulu on "steamer day" offers to you for a price, are
from the ilima or Sida fallax.
slippery. Probably because of a peculiar species of grass that grows
in such places.
is also the term used to denote a foundation.
to Lieutenant Younghusband, author of an interesting book of travel,
entitled "Through the Heart of a Continent,"' the word pali is used
in North India as in the Hawaiian Islands, to> designate a mountain
wall or precipice.
means remainder, and muliwai therefore means remainder of the water.
The explanation is that at the mouth of many Hawaiian streams is a
bar of sand or mud. At low tide water still remains standing within
this retaining bar, and this water caused the whole stream to be
Back to Contents
Concerning the Rocks
The ancients applied to
various hard, or mineral, substances the term pohaku rocks or stones. A
rocky cliff was called a pali-pohaku; a smaller boulder or mass of rock
would be termed pohaku uuku iho. The term a-a was applied to stones of a
somewhat smaller size. Below them came iliili or pebbles. When of still
smaller size, such as gravel or sand, the name one was applied, and if
still more finely comminuted it was called lepo, dirt.
A great many names were
used to distinguish the different kinds of rocks. In the mountains were
found some very hard rocks which probably had never been melted by the
volcanic fires of Pele. Axes were fashioned from some of these rocks, of
which one kind was named uli-uii, another ehu-ehu. There were many
The stones used for axes
were of the following varieties: ke-i, ke-pue, ala-mea, kai-alii,
humu-ula, pi-wai, awa-lii, lau-kea, mauna. All of these are very hard,
superior to other stones in this respect, and not vesiculated like the
stone called ala.
The stones used in
making lu-hee for squid-fishing are peculiar and were of many distinct
vareties. Their names are hiena, ma-heu, hau, pa-pa, lae-koloa, lei-ole,
ha-pou, kawau-puu, ma-ili, au, nani-nui, ma-ki-ki, pa-pohaku, kaua-ula,
wai-anuu-kole, hono-ke-a-a, kupa-oa, poli-poli, ho-one, no-hu, lu-au,
wai-mano, hule-ia, maka-wela.
The stones used for
maikas were the ma-ka, hiu-pa iki-makua, kumu-one,1 ma-ki-ki,
kumu-mao-mao, ka-lama-ula, and paa-kea. 2
Volcanic pa-hoe-hoe is a
class of rocks that have been melted by the fires of Pele. Ele-ku and a-na
pumice, are very light and porous rocks. Another kind of stone is the
a-la3 and the pa-ea.
The following kinds of
stone were used in smoothing and polishing canoes and wooden dishes,
coral stones (puna), a vesiculated stone called o-ahi, o-la-i or pumice,
po-huehue, ka-wae-wae, o-i-o, and a-na.
The kinds of stone used
in making poi-pounders were a-la, lua-u, kohe-nalo, the white sand-stone
called kumu-one, and the coral-stone called koa. There is also a stone
that is cast down from heaven by lightning. No doubt there are many
other stones that have failed of mention.
NOTES TO CHAPTER 8
A white sand-stone composed of sea-sand It cuts and works up well.
is volcanic sinter A maika of this species of stone which is in the
writer's collection had been used as a fetish or medicine-charm.
is the hardest and densest kind of basalt to be found on the
islands. It is the stone from which the best axes are made. It seems
unaccountable that Mr. Malo should omit this most important of all
the stones from his rambling and very unsatisfactory list. If any
stone might be considered to have escaped the melting action of
Pele's fires by reason of its hardness it would certainly be this
one. In the Maori language the same dark, close-grained basalt is
named ka-ra and is used in making the finest axes.
Back to Contents
Plants and Trees
The ancients gave the
name laau to every plant that grows in the earth of which there are a
great many kinds (ano). The name laau was, however, applied par eminence
to large trees; plants of a smaller growth were termed laa-lau; the term
nahele (or nahele-hele) was used to indicate such small growths as
brush, shrubs, and chapparal. Plants of a still smaller growth were
termed weu-weu; grasses were termed mauu.
(same as pu-keawe), another name for which is mai-eli, is a sort of
brush, nahele, that grows on the mountain sides. It was used in in
cremating the body of any one who had made himself an outlaw beyond the
protection of the tabu.
Further down the
mountain grows the ohia (same as the Iehua), a large tree. In it the
bird-catchers practiced their art of bird-snaring. It was much used for
making idols, also hewn into posts and rafters for houses, used in
making the enclosures about temples, and for fuel, also from it were
made the sticks to couple together the double canoes, besides which it
had many other uses.
The koa2 was
the tree that grew to be of the largest size in all the islands. It was
made into canoes, surf-boards, paddles, spears, and (in modern times)
into boards and shingles for houses. The koa is a tree of many uses. It
has a seed and its leaf is crescent-shaped.
is a tree of smaller size than the koa. It is valued in canoe making,
the fabrication of poi-boards, paddles, and for many other uses.
The kawau was a tree
useful for canoe timber and for tapa logs. The manono and aiea were
trees that also furnished canoe timber.
The kopiko was a tree
that furnished wood that was useful for making tapa-logs (kua kuku kapa)
and that also furnished good fuel. The kolea was a tree the wood of
which was used in making tapa-logs and as timber for houses. Its
charcoal was used in making black dye for tapa. The naia was a tree the
wood of which was used in canoe-making.4 The sandal-wood,
ili-ahi, has a fragrant wood which is of great commercial value at the
present time. The naio also is a sweet-scented wood and of great
hardness. The pua is a hard wood. The kauila is a hard wood, excellent
for spears, tapa-beaters and a variety of other similar purposes.5
The mamane. and uhi-uhi
were firm woods used in making the runners for holua-sleds and spades,
o-o, used by the farmers. The alani was one of the woods used for poles
employed in rigging canoes.
The olomea was a wood
much used in rubbing for fire; the ku-kui a wood sometimes used in
making the dug-out or canoe; the bark of its roots, mixed with several
was used in making the
black paint for canoes, and its nuts are strung into torches called
The paihi is a wood
useful as fuel and in house-making. It has a flower similar to that of
the Ichua and its bark is used in staining tapa of a black color. The
alii is a solid wood used for house posts. The koaie is a strong wood
useful as house-timber and in old times used in making shark hooks.
The ohe, or bamboo,
which has a jointed stem (pona-pona), was used as fishing poles to take
the aku, or any other fish, and formerly its splinters served instead of
The wili-wili is a very
buoyant wood, for which reason it is largely used in making surf boards
(papa-hee-nalu), and outrigger floats (ama) for canoes. The olapa was a
tree from which spears such as were used in bird-liming or bird-snaring
were obtained. The lama is a tree whose wood is used in the construction
of houses and enclosures for (certain) idols. The awa is the plant whose
root supplies the intoxicating drink (so extensively used by the
The ulu or bread-fruit
is a tree whose wood is much used in the construction of the doors of
houses and the bodies of canoes. Its fruit is made into a delicious poi.7
The ohia, so-called mountain apple, is a tree with scarlet flowers and a
fruit agreeable to the taste. The hawane, or loulu-palm, is a tree the
wood of which was used for battle spears; its nuts were eaten and its
leaves are now used in making hats.
The kou is a tree of
considerable size, the wood of which is specially used in making all
sorts of platters, bowls and dishes, and a variety of other utensils.
The milo8 and the pua were (useful) trees. The niu,
coco-palm, is a tree that bears a delicious nut, besides serving many
other useful purposes. The (fleshy) stems of the hapuu fern, and the
tender shoots of the a-ma-u fern and the i-i-i fern afforded a food that
served in time of famine.
The wauke is one of the
plants the bark of which is beaten into tapa.9 The wauke had
many other uses. The hibiscus, called hau,10 furnished a
(light) wood that was put to many
uses. Of its bark was
made rope or cordage. The ohe-tree produced a soft wood, similar to the
kukui (or American bass Translator), and was sometimes used in making
stilts, or kuku-luaeo.
The olona and the hopue
were plants from whose bark were made lines and fishing nets and a great
many other things. The mamaki and the maa-loa were plants that supplied
a bark that was made into tapa. The keki and the pala fern were used as
food in times of famine. The (hard leaf stalks) of the ama'-u-ma'u fern
were used as a stylus for marking tapa (mea palu hole kapa).
The ma'o was a plant
whose flower was used as a dye to colored tapa and the loin cloths of
the women, etc. The noni was a tree (the bark and roots of) which
furnished a yellowish-brown dye (resembling madder) much used in
staining the tapa called kua-uia. Its fruit (a drupe) was eaten in time
of famine. The (yellow) flowers of the ilima11 were much
desired by the women to be strung into leis or garlands.
pandanus or screw pine
was a tree the drupe of
which was extremely fragrant and was strung into wreaths. Its leaves
were braided into mats and sails. The ulei was a tree whose wood was
highly valued for its toughness, and of it were made thick, heavy darts
for skating over
the ground in a game of that name. It also furnished the small poles
with which the mouth of the bag-net, upena-aei, was kept open. The a-e
and the po-ola were trees the wood of which was used in spearmaking. The
wood of the wala-hee was formerly much used in making a sort of adze (to
cut the soft wili-wili wood); it also furnished sticks used in keeping
open the mouth of the paki-kii net.
The banana, maia, was a
plant that bore a delicious fruit. There were many species of the banana
and it had a great variety of uses. The maua was a tree suitable for
timber (literally boards or planks papa). The haa, ho-awa, hao, and many
other trees 1 have not mentioned in this account were no doubt good for
fuel. Besides there were many more trees that I have not mentioned.
a grass much used for thatching houses
an herb used in modern times as a tea
these and various other
plants in the wilderness, such as the i-e, the pala fern, the kupu-kupu,
mana, akolea, ama-u-ma'u-fern, etc., etc., were termed nahele-hele12
i.e. weeds or things that spread.
The hono-hono, wandering
Jew, the kukae-puaa,13 the kakona-kona, the pili, manienie14
the kulohia, puu-koa, pili-pili-ula, kaluha, the moko-loa, the ahu-awa,
the mahiki-hiki, and the kohe-kohe were grasses, mauu.
The popolo, the pakai,
the aweo-weo, nau-nau, haio, nena and the palula were cooked and eaten
as greens (luau). The gourd was a vine highly prized for the calabashes
NOTES TO CHAPTER 9
When a kapu-chief found it convenient to lay aside his dread
exclusiveness for a time, that he might perhaps mingle with people
on equal terms without injury to them or to himself, it was the
custom for him and according to one authority those with whom he
intended to mingle joined with him in the ceremony to shut himself
into a little house and smudge himself with the smoke from a fire of
this same pu-keawe.
In ancient times the koa found its chief use in making the canoe. In
these days its greatest usefulness is found as a cabinet wood. It is
capable of a very high polish.
It furnished the material chiefly used in making the carved pieces
that adorned the bow and stern of every old time Hawaiian canoe,
also the top rail on the gunwale of the canoe.
Not for the body of the craft, but in trimming it.
Kamehameha I armed his legions with spears of kauila wood.
The Samoan name for this tree is tui-tui, to sew or to thread or to
string, as to string beads or flowers. Tui is needle and tui-tui is
to sew or to string. The name of the tree and of the torches or
candles produced from its nuts, as indicated in both the Hawaiian
and Samoan word-forms, was undoubtedly derived from iui, a needle or
in the great majority of cases means the article of food made from
taro; but the Hawaiians also applied that name to the product of the
breadfruit and of the potato as well, when cooked, pounded, and
mixed with water.
milo like the kou, made excellent dishes. The wood of the pua, which
was very hard, burned with a hot flame, like hickory, even when
green. Every woodman or mountaineer will know what that means.
or tapa. In the form of sheets used as a blanket to cover one at
night, or as a toga for dignity and comfort by day, or made into the
malo, the garment of modesty of the men, or the pa-u, which was the
garment of modesty of the women.
It was the favorite wood for making firesticks, and was much used at
handles for axes.
At the present day it is cultivated by the Hawaiians.
From hele, to go? As to the derivation of this word, in Maori nga-here-here
means the forest, not the creeping plants in it. This is certainly
not the case in the Hawaiian language. In Hawaiian the word is
applied to weeds, brush, under-growth, chaparral, whether that is
found in the woods, beneath the forest trees, in the open, standing
alone, or in cultivated fields.
A rich and delicate grass, said to have sprung up wherever the great
pig-god, Kama-puaa, left his mark. .
A modern grass, probably introduced by Vancouver from Mexico or
South America. It makes a fine lawn grass.
Also known as Makaloa, a small rush used in making the famous Niihau
Back to Contents
Divisions Of The Ocean
The ancients applied the
name kai to the ocean and all its parts. That strip of the beach over
which the waves ran after they had broken was called a'e-kai.1
A little further out
where the waves break was called poi'na-kai.2 The name pue-one
was likewise applied to this place.3 But the same expressions
were not used of places where shoal water extended to a great distance,
and which were called kaikohala (such as largely prevail for instance at
Outside of the poi-na-kai
lay a belt called the kai-hele-ku, or kai-papau, that is, water in which
one could stand, shoal water; another name given it was kai-ohua.4
Beyond this lies a belt
called kua-au where the shoal water ended; and outside of the kua-au was
a belt called kai-au, ho-an, for this belt was kai-kohala.5
Outside of this was a
belt called kai-uli, blue sea; squid-fishing sea kai-lu-hee; or
sea-of-the flying-fish, kai-malolo; or sea-of-the-opelu, kai-opelu.
Beyond this lies a belt
called kai-hi-aku, sea for trolling the aku, and outside of this lay a
belt called kai-kohola, where swim the whales, monsters of the sea;
beyond this lay the deep ocean, moana, which was variously termed
waho-lilo, far out to sea; or lepo, under ground; or Iewa, floating; or
lipo, blue-black, which reach Kahiki-moe, the utmost bounds of the
When the sea is tossed
into billows they are termed ale. The breakers which roll in are termed
nalu. The currents that move through the ocean are called au or wili-au.
Portions of the sea that
enter into recesses of the land are kai-hee-nalu,6 that is a
surf-swimming region. Another name still kai-o-kilo-hee, that is
swimming deep, or sea for spearing squid, or called kai-kuono; that belt
of shoal where the breakers curl is called pu-ao; another name for it is
A blow-hole where the
ocean spouts up through a hole in the rocks is called a puhi (to blow).
A place where the ocean is sucked with force down through a cavity in
the rocks is called a mimili, whirlpool; it is also called a mimiki or
The rising of the
ocean-tide is called by such names as ka-pii, rising sea; kai-nui, big
sea; kai-piha, full sea; and kai-apo, surrounding sea.
When the tide remains
stationary, neither rising nor falling, it is called kai-ku, standing
sea; when it ebbs it is called kai-moku, the parted sea; or kai-emi;
ebbing sea, or kai-hoi, retiring sea; or kai-make, defeated sea.
A violent, raging surf
is called kai-koo. When the surf beats violently against a sharp point
of land, that is a cape, lae, it is termed kai-ma-ka-ka-lae.
A calm in the ocean is
termed 'a lai or a malino or a pa-e-a-e-a or a pohu.
NOTES ON CHAPTER 10
A'e-kai. In the N. Z. aki-tai means the dash of the waves. A well
known tribe, now extinct, was named Aki-tai, because their ancestor
was dashed to pieces on the rocks of the sea-shore. The phrase a'e-one
was also used when it concerned a sand-beach.
Poana-kai is the expression in the text. But I am informed from many
sources that poi'na-kai is the correct expression, that poana-kai is
applied to the place where the breakers scoop out the sand near the
sand-heap, from the heaping up of the sand by the action of the
Kai-ohua. Because there was found a small fish called ohua. I am
informed it was also termed kai-o hee, because the squid is there
Because there the rollers from the ocean took head and it was there
that the surf-rider lay in wait for a big wave to carry him in on
This is clearly a mistake. Kohola is applied only to the shoal water
inside the surf where it reaches out in a long stretch as at
Back to Contents
Under The Kapu System
The task of
food-providing and eating under the kapu system in Hawaii nei was very
burdensome, a grievous tax on husband and wife, an iniquitous
imposition, at war with domestic peace. The husband was burdened and
wearied with the preparation of two ovens of food, one for himself and a
separate one for his wife.
The man first started an
oven of food for his wife, and, when that was done, he went to the house
mita and started an oven of food for himself.
Then he would return to
the house and open his wife's oven, peel the taro, pound it into poi,
knead it and put it into the calabash. This ended the food-cooking for
Then he must return to
mua, open his own oven, peel the taro, pound and knead it into poi, put
the mass into a (separate) calabash for himself and remove the lumps.
Thus did he prepare his food (ai, vegetable food); and thus was he ever
compelled to do so long as he and his wife lived.
Another burden that fell
to the lot of the man was thatching the houses for himself and his wife;
because the houses for the man must be other than those for the woman.
The man had first to thatch a house for himself to eat in and another
house as a sanctuary (heiau) in which to worship his idols. And, that
accomplished, he had to prepare a third house for himself and his wife
to sleep in. After that he must build and thatch an eating house for his
wife, and lastly he had to prepare a hale kua, a place for his wife to
beat tapa in (as well as to engage in other domestic occupations.
TRANSLATOR.) While the husband was busy and exhausted with all these
labors, the wife had to cook and serve the food for her husband, and
thus it fell that the burdens that lay upon the woman were even heavier
than those allotted to the man.
During the days of
religious tabu, when the gods were specially worshipped, many women were
put to death by reason of infraction of some tabu. According to the tabu
a woman must live entirely apart from her husband, during the period of
her infirmity; she always ate in her own house, and the man ate in the
house called mua. As a result of this custom, the mutual love of the man
and his wife was not kept warm; the man might use the opportunity to
associate with another woman, likewise the woman with another man. It
has not been stated who was the author of this tabu that prohibited the
mingling of the sexes while partaking of food. It was no doubt a very
ancient practice; possibly it dates from the time of Wakea; but it may
be subsequent to that.
There is, however, a
tradition accepted by some that Wakea himself was the originator of this
tabu that restricts eating; others have it that it was initiated by
Luhau-kapawa. It is not certain where the truth lies between these two
statements. No information on this point is given by the genealogies of
these two characters, and every one seems to be ignorant in the matter.
Perhaps, however, there are persons now living who know the truth about
this matter; if so they should speak out.
It is stated in one of
the traditions relating to the gods that the motive of the tabu
restricting eating was the desire on the part of Wakea to keep secret
his incestuous intercourse with Hoo-hoku-ka-lani. For this reason he
devised a plan by which he might escape the observation of Papa; and he
accordingly appointed certain nights for prayer and religious
observance, and at the same time tabued certain articles of food to
women. The reason for this arrangement was not communicated to Papa, and
she incautiously consented to it, and thus the tabu was established. The
truth of the story I cannot vouch for.
If it was indeed Wakea
who instituted this tabu then it was a very ancient one. It was
abolished by Kamehameha II, known as Liholiho, at Kailua, Hawaii, on the
third or fourth day of October, 1819. On that day the tabu putting
restrictions on eating in common ceased to be regarded here in Hawaii.
The effect of this tabu, which bore equally on men and women, was to
separate men and women, husbands and wives from each other when
partaking of food.
Certain places were set
apart for the husband's sole and exclusive use; such were the sanctuary
in which he worshipped and the eating-house in which he took his food.
The wife might not enter these places while her husband was worshipping
or while he was eating; nor might she enter the sanctuary or
eating-house of another man; and if she did so she must suffer the
penalty of death, if her action was discovered.
Certain places also were
set apart for the woman alone. These were the hale pea, where she stayed
during her period of monthly infirmity at which time it was tabu for a
man to associate with his own wife, or with any other woman. The penalty
was death if he were discovered in the act of approaching any woman
during such a period. A flowing woman was looked upon as both unclean
and unlucky (haumia, poino).
Among the articles of
food that were set apart for the exclusive use of man, of which it was
forbidden the woman to eat, were pork, bananas, cocoanuts, also certain
fishes, the ulna, kumu (a red fish used in sacrifice), the niuhi-shark,
the sea turtle, the e-a. (the sea-turtle that furnished the
tortoise-shell), the pahu, the na ia, (porpoise), the whale, the nuao,
hahalua hihimanu, (the ray) and the hailepo. If a woman was clearly
detected in the act of eating any of these things, as well as a number
of other articles that were tabu, which I have not enumerated, she was
put to death.
The house in which the
men ate was called the mua; the sanctuary where they worshipped was
called heiau, and it was a very tabu place. The house in which the women
ate was called the hale ai'na. These houses were the ones to which the
restrictions and tabu applied, but in the common dwelling house, hale
noa, the man and his wife met freely together.
The house in which the
wife and husband slept together was also called hale-moe. It was there
they met and lived and worked together and associated with their
children. The man, however, was permitted to enter his wife's eating
house, but the woman was forbidden to enter her husband's mua.
Another house also was
put up for the woman called hale kuku, the place where she beat out
tapa-cloth into blankets, into paus for herself, malos for her husband,
in fact, the clothing for the whole family as well as for her friends,
not forgetting the landlord and chiefs (to whom no doubt these things
went in lieu of rent, or as presents. TRANSLATOR.)
The out-of-door work
fell mostly upon the man, while the indoor work was done by the woman
that is provided she was not a worthless and profligate woman.
I must mention that,
certain men were appointed to an office in the service of the female
chiefs and women of high station which was termed ai-noa. It was their
duty to prepare the food of these chiefish women and it was permitted
them at all times to eat in their presence, for which reason they were
termed ai-noa to eat in common or ai-puhiu.
Back to Contents
Divisions Of The Year
The seasons and months
of the year were appropriately divided and designated by the ancients.
The year was divided
into two seasons Kau and Hoo-ilo. Kau was the season when the sun was
directly overhead, when daylight was prolonged, when the trade-wind,
makani noa'e, prevailed, when days and nights alike were warm and the
vegetation put forth fresh leaves. Hoo-ilo was the season when the sun
declined towards the south, when the nights lengthened, when days and
nights were cool, when herbage (literally, vines) died away.
There were six months in
Kau and six in Hoo-ilo. The months in Kau were Iki-iki, answering to
May, at which time the constellation of the Pleiades huhui hoku set at
sunrise. Kaa-ona, answering to June, in ancient times this was the month
in which fishermen got their a-ei nets in readiness for catching the
opelu, procuring in advance the sticks to use in keeping its mouth open;
Hina-ia-eleele, answering to July, the month in which the ohia fruit
began to ripen; Mahoe-mua, answering to August, this was the season when
the ohia fruit ripened abundantly; Mahoe-hope, answering to September,
the time when the plume of the sugar-cane began to unsheath itself:
Ikuwa, corresponding to October, which was the sixth and last month of
the season of Kau.
The months in Hoo-ilo
were Weleehu, answering to November, which was the season when people,
for sport, darted arrows made of the flower-stalk of the sugar-cane;
Makalii, corresponding to December, at which time trailing plants died
down and the south-wind, the Kona, prevailed; Kaelo, corresponding to
January, the time when appeared the enuhe,1 when also the
vines began to put forth fresh leaves; Kaulua, answering to February,
the time when the mullet, anae, spawned; Nana, corresponding to March,
the season when the flying-fish, the malolo, swarmed in the ocean; Welo,
answering to April, which was the last of the six months belonging to
These two seasons of six
months each made up a year of twelve months,2 equal to nine
times forty days and nights, but the ancients reckoned by nights instead
There were thirty nights
and days in each month; seventeen of these days had compound names (inoa
huhui) and thirteen had simple names (inoa pakahi) given to them.
These names were given
to the different nights to correspond to the phases of the moon. There
were three phases ano marking the moon's increase and decrease of size,
namely, (1) Ithe first appearance of the new moon in the west at
evening: (2) The time of full-moon when it stood directly overhead
(literally, over the island) at midnight. (3) The period when the moon
was waning, when it showed itself in the east late at night. It was with
reference to these three phases of the moon that names were given to the
nights that made up the month.
The first appearance of
the moon at evening in the west marked the first day of the month. It
was called Hilo on account of the moon's slender, twisted form.
The second night when
the moon had become more distinct in outline was called Hoaka; and the
third when its form had grown still thicker, was called Ku-kahi; so also
the fourth was called Ku-lua. Then came Ku-kolu, followed by Ku-pau
which was the last of the four nights named Ku.
The 7th, when the moon
had grown still larger, was called Ole-ku-kahi; the 8th, Ole-ku-lua; the
qth, Olc-ku-kolu; the 10th, Olepau3 making four in all of
these nights, which, added to the previous four, brings the number of
nights with compound names up to eight.
As soon as the sharp
points of the moon's horns were hidden the name Huna (hidden) was given
to that night the nth. The 12th night, by which time the moon had grown
still more full, was called Mohalu. The 13th night was called Hua
because its form had then become quite egg-shaped (hua an egg); and the
14th night, by which time the shape of the moon had become distinctly
round, was called Akua (God), this being the second night in which the
circular form of the moon was evident.
The next night, the
I5th, had two names applied to it. If the mocn set before daylight ke ao
ana it was called hoku palemo, sinking star, but if when daylight came
it was still above the horizon it was called hoki ili, stranded star.
The second of the nights
in which the moon did not set until after sunrise 16th was called
Mahea-lani. When the moon's rising was delayed until after the darkness
of night had set in, it was called Kulua, and the second of the nights
in which the moon made its appearance after dark was called Laau-ku-kahi
(18th); this was the night when the moon had so much waned in size as to
again show sharp horns.
The 19th showed still
further waning and was called Laau-ku-lua; then came Laau-pan (2Oth),
which ended this group of compound names, three in number. The name
given to the next night of the still waning moon was Ole-ku-kahi. Then
in order came Ole-ku-lua and Ole-pau, making three of this set of
compound names, (21st, 22nd and 23rd).
Still further waning,
the moon was called Kaloa-ku-kahi; then Kaloa-ku-lua; and lastly,
completing this set of compound names, three in number, Kaloa-pau,
(24th, 25th and 26th).
The night when the moon
rose at dawn of day (27th) was called Kane, and the following night, in
which the moon rose only as the day was breaking (28th), was called
Lono. When the moon delayed its rising until daylight had come it was
called Mauli, fainting;4 and when its rising was so late that
it could no longer be seen for the light of the sun, it was called Muku
cut off. Thus was accomplished the thirty5 nights and days of
Of these thirty days
some were set apart as tabu, to be devoted to religious ceremonies and
the worship of the gods. There were four tabu-periods in each moon.
The first of these
tabu-periods was called that of Ku, the second that of Hua, the third
that of Kaloa (abbreviated from Kana-loa), the fourth that of Kane.
The tabu of Ku included
three nights; it was imposed on the night of Hilo and lifted on the
morning of Kulua. The tabu of Hua included two nights; it was imposed on
the night of Mohalu and lifted on the morning of Akua. The tabu of Kaloa
included two nights; it was imposed on the night of Ole-pau and raised
on the morning of Kaloa-ku-lua. The tabu of Kane included two nights;
being imposed on the night of Kane and lifted on the morning of Mauli.
These tabu-seasons were
observed during eight months of the year, and in each year thirty-two
days7 were devoted to the idolatrous worship of the gods.
There were now four
months devoted to the observances of the Makahiki, during which time the
ordinary religious ceremonies were omitted, the only ones that were
observed being those connected with the Makahiki festival. The
prescribed rites and ceremonies of the people at large were concluded in
the month of Mahoe-hope. The keeoers of the idols, however, kept up
their prayers and ceremonies throughout the year.
In the month of Ikuwa
the signal was given for the observance of Makahiki, at which time the
people rested from their prescribed prayers and ceremonies to resume
them in the month of Kau-lua. Then the chiefs and some of the people
took up again their prayers and incantations, and so it was- during
every period in the year.
NOTES ON CHAPTER 12
worm very destructive to vegetation.
were considerable differences in the nomenclature of the months and
divisions of the year of the Hawaiian people. The differences
attached to the different islands.
Ole-ku-pau is the full and correct orthography.
"To faint in the light of the sun." Tennyson
5 The Hawaiians
evidently hit upon the synodic month and made it their standard.
Their close approximation to it can not fail to inspire respect for
the powers of observation and the scientific faculty of the ancient
Hawaiians. It was an easy matter to eke out the reckoning by
omitting the last day in every other month, the synodic lunar month
being 29 1/2 days.
considering the ancient Hawaiian calendar, it must be remembered
that the synodical lunar month equals 29.53 days. Hence it is
necessary in any calendar based upon the moon's phases to reckon
alternately 29 and 30 days to a month, which was done by the
Hawaiians. For the night of Hilo always had to coincide with the
first appearance of the new moon in the west, and that of Akua or
Hoku with the full moon.
Again, as twelve
lunar months fall about eleven days, (more exactly 10.875 days),
short of the solar year, it was necessary to intercalate three lunar
months in the course of eight years, in order to combine the two
reckonings, as was done by the ancient Greeks.
The fact that they
did intercalate a month about every third year, is well established,
but we are still in the dark as to what rule was followed by their
astronomers (Kilo-hoku) and priests, and what name was given to the
The arithmetic of this calculation is all out. There must have
been therefore seventy-two regular or canonical fast-days in each
year, not to mention the days appointed from time to time by the
king or priests.
Back to Contents
The Domestic And Wild
It is not known by what
means the animals found here in Hawaii reached these shores, whether the
ancients brought them, whether the smaller animals were not indigenous,
or where indeed the wild animals came from.
If they brought these
little animals, the question arises why they did not also bring animals
of a larger size.
Perhaps it was because
of the small size of the canoes in which they made the voyage, or
perhaps because they were panic stricken with war at the time they
embarked, or because they were in fear of impending slaughter, and for
that reason they took with them only the smaller animals.
The hog1 was
the largest animal in Hawaii nei. Next in size was the dog; then came
tame fowls, animals of much smaller size. But the wild fowls of the
wilderness, how came they here? If this land was of volcanic origin,
would they not have been destroyed by fire?
The most important
animal then was the pig (puaa), of which there were many varieties. If
the hair was entirely black, it was called hiwa paa; if entirely white,
haole; if it was of a brindled color all over, it was ehu; if striped
lengthwise, it was olomea.
If reddish about the
hams the pig was a hulu-iwi; if whitish about its middle it was called a
hahei; if the bristles were spotted, the term kiko-kiko was applied.
A shoat was called poa
(robbed); if the tusks were long it was a pu-ko'a. A boar was termed
kea,2 a young pig was termed ohi.
Likewise in regard to
dogs, they were classified according to the color of their hair; and so
with fowls, they were classified and named according to the character of
their feathers. There were also wild fowl.
The names of the wild
fowl are as follows, the nene (goose). The nene, which differs from all
other birds, is of the size of the Muscovy duck, has spotted feathers,
long legs and a long neck. In its molting season, when it comes down
from the mountains, is the time when the bird-catchers try to capture it
in the uplands, the motive being to obtain the feathers, which are
greatly valued for making kahilis. Its body is excellent eating.
The alala (Corvus
hawaiiensis) is another species, with a smaller body, about the size
perhaps of the female of the domestic fowl. Its feathers are black, its
beak large, its body is used for food. This bird will sometimes break
open the shell of a water gourd (hue-wai). Its feathers are useful in
kahili-making. This bird is captured by means of the pole or of the
The pueo, or owl, and
the io resemble each other; but the pueo has the larger head. Their
bodies are smaller in size to that of the alala. Their plumage is
variegated (striped), eyes large (and staring), claws sharp like those
of a cat. They prey upon mice and small fowl. Their feathers are worked
into kahilis of the choicest descriptions. The pueo is regarded as a
deity and is worshipped by many. These birds are caught by means of the
bird-pole (kia) by the use of the covert,3 or by means of the
The moho is a bird that
does not fly, but only moves about in thickets because its feathers are
not ample enough (to give it the requisite wing-power). It has beautiful
eyes. This bird is about the size of the alala; it is captured in its
nesting-hole and its flesh is used as food. This bird does not visit (or
swim in) the sea, but it lives only in the woods and coverts, because
(if it went into the ocean), its feathers would become heavy and
I will not enumerate the
small wild fowl, some of them of the size of young chickens, and some
still smaller: the o-u is as large as a small chicken, with feathers of
a greenish color; it is delicious eating and is captured by means of
Another bird is the omao,
in size about like the o-u. Its feathers are black, it is good eating
and is captured by means of bird-lime or with the snare.
The o-o and the mamo are
birds that have a great resemblance to each other. They are smaller than
the o-u, have black feathers, sharp beaks, and are used as food. Their
feathers are made up into the large royal kahilis. Those in the axillae
and about the tail are very choice, of a golden color, and are used in
making the feather cloaks called ahu-ula which are worn by (the aliis as
well as by) warriors as insignia in time of battle (and on state
occasions of ceremony or display. TRANSLATOR.) They were also used in
the making of leis (necklaces and wreaths) for the adornment of the
female chiefs and women of rank, and for the decoration of the makahiki-idol.
These birds have many uses, and they are captured by means of bird-lime
and the pole.
The i-i-wi; the feathers
of this bird are red, and used in making ahu-ula. Its beak is long and
its flesh is good for food. It is taken by means of bird-lime. The apa-pane
and the akihi-polena also have red feathers. The ula is a bird with
black feathers, but its beak, eyes, and feet are red. It sits sidewise
on its nest (he punana moe aoao kona). This bird is celebrated in song.
While brooding over her eggs she covered them with her wings, but did
not sit directly over them. The u-a is a bird that resembles the o-u.
The a-ko-he-kohe is a bird that nests on the ground.
The mu is a bird with
yellow feathers. The ama-kihi and akilu-a-loa have yellow plumage; they
are taken by means of bird-lime. Their flesh is fine eating.
The ele-paio 5
(chasiempis): this bird was used as food. The i-ao resembles the moho;
in looking it directs its eyes backwards. In this list comes the kaka-wahie
(the wood-splitter). The ki is the smallest of these birds. They all
have their habitat in the woods and do not come down to the shore.
The following birds make
their resort in the salt and fresh water-ponds. The alae (mud-hen,
Gallinula chloropus) has blue-black feathers, yellow feet, red forehead,
but one species is white about the forehead (Fulica alae.) This bird is
regarded as a deity, and has many worshippers. Its size is nearly that
of the domestic fowl, and its flesh is good eating (gamey, but very
tough). Men capture it by running it down or by pelting it with stones.
The koloa (Muscovy duck)
has spotted feathers, a bill broad and flat, and webbed feet. Hunters
take it by pelting it with stones or clubbing it. It is fine eating. The
aukuu, (heron), has bluish feathers and a long neck and beak. In size it
is about the same as the pueo, or owl. This bird makes great
depredations by preying upon the mullet (in ponds.) The best chance of
capturing it would be to pelt it with stones.
The kukuluaeo (stilts
one of the waders), has long legs and its flesh is sweet. It may be
captured by pelting it with stones. The kioea (one of the waders) is
excellent eating. The kolea (plover). It is delicious eating. In order
to capture it, the hunter calls it to him by whistling with his fingers
placed in his mouth, making a note in imitation of that of the bird
The following birds are
ocean-divers (luu-kai): The ua-u (Procellaria alba). Its breast is
white, its back blue-black; it has a long bill of which the upper
mandible projects beyond the lower. It is delicious eating. Its size is
that of the io. The kiki the ao and the lio-lio resemble the uau, but
their backs are bluish. Their flesh is used as food. They are captured
with nets and lines.
The o-u-o-u: This bird
is black all over; it is of a smaller size than the uau and is fair
eating; it is caught by means of a line. The puha-aka-kai-ea is smaller
than the o-u-o-u; its breast is white, its back black; it is caught with
a net and is good for food.
The koae (tropic bird,
"boatswain bird," "marlin spike"): This bird is white (with a pinkish
tinge) all over; it has long tail-feathers which are made into kahilis;
it is of the same size as the u-a-u, and is fit for food (very fishy).
The o-i-o (Anous stolidtis) has speckled feathers like the ne-ne; it is
of the same size as the u-a-n and is good eating. All of these birds
dwell in the mountains by night, but during the day they fly out to sea
to fish for food.
I will now mention the
birds that migrate (that are of the firmament, mai ke lewa mai lakou.)
The ka-u pu: Its feathers are black throughout, its beak large, its size
that of a turkey. The na-u-ke-wai is as large as the ka-u pu. Its front
and wings are white, its back is black. The a is as large as the ka-u-pu,
its feathers entirely white. The moli is a bird of about the size of the
ka-u-pu. The iwa is a large bird of about the size of the ka-u-pu: its
feathers, black mixed with gray, are used for making kahilis. The
plumage of these birds is used in decorating the Makahiki idol. They are
mostly taken at Kaula and Nihoa, being caught by hand and their flesh is
eaten. The noio is a small bird of the size of the plover, its forehead
is white. The kala (Sterna panaya) resemble the noio. These are all
eatable, they are sea-birds.
The following are the
flying things (birds, manu) that are not eatable: the o-pea-pea or bat,
the pinao or dragon-fly, the okai (a butterfly), the lepe-lepe-ahina (a
moth or butterfly), the pu-lele-hua (a butterfly), the nalo or common
house-fly, the nalo-paka or wasp. None of these creatures are fit to be
eaten. The uhini or grasshopper, however, is used as food.
The following are wild
creeping things: the mouse or rat, (iole), the makaula (a species of
dark lizard), the elelu, or cockroach, the poki-poki (sow-bug), the koe
(earth-worm), the lo (a species of long black bug, with sharp claws),
the aha or ear-wig, the puna-wele-wele or spider, the lalana (a species
of spider), the nuhe or caterpillar, the poko (a species of worm, or
caterpillar), the nao-nao or ant, the mu (a brown-black bug or beetle
that bores into wood), the kua-paa (a worm that eats vegetables), the
uku-poo or head-louse, the uku-kapa, or body-louse.
Whence come these little
creatures? From the soil no doubt; but who knows ? The recently imported
animals from foreign lands, which came in during the time of Kamehameha
I, and as late as the present time, that of Kamehameha III, are the
following: the cow (bipi, from beef), a large animal, with horns on its
head; its flesh and its milk are excellent food.
The horse (lio), a large
animal. Men sit upon his back and ride; he has no horns on his head. The
donkey (hoki), and the mule (piula); they carry people on their backs.
The goat (kao), and the sheep (hipa), which make excellent food. The cat
(po-poki, or o-au6 and the monkey (keko), the pig (puaa)
7 and the dog (ilio).8
These are animals
imported from foreign countries.
Of birds brought from
foreign lands are the turkey, or palahu, the koloa8, or duck,
the parrot or green-bird (manu omaomao), and the domestic fowl (moa),
which makes excellent food.
There are also some
flying things that are not good for food: such as the mosquito (makika),
the small roach (elelu liilii), the large flat cock-roach (elelu-papa) ,
the flea (uku-lele (jumping louse). The following are things that crawl:
the rabbit or iole-lapaki, which makes excellent food, the rat or iole-nui,
the mouse or iole-liilii, the centipede (kanapi), and the moo-niho-awa
(probably the scorpion, for there are no serpents in Hawaii). These
things are late importations; the number of such things will doubtless
increase in the future.
NOTES ON CHAPTER 13
1 Kea-kea, to tease,
therefore literally a teaser.
2 Hawaii nei, this
Hawaii; literally Hawaii here. Its use is appropriate only to those
who are at the time resident in the Hawaiian Islands.
3 The covert was to
ambush the hunter.
4A net with a wide
mouth was laid in the track in which the birds walked to reach their
5 Elepaio. By its
early morning song it was the fateful cause of interruption to many
a heroic midnight enterprise in ancient song and legend.
6 Po-poki is an
imitative word from "poor pussy;" oau is imitated from the call made
by the cat itself.
7 The pig, puaa, and
the dog, ilio, were here in Hawaii long before the first white man
landed on these shores; they are not modern importations. The same
is true of the domestic fowl. This can be proved by old prayers and
meles. The word moa applied to the common fowl is the same as the
8 Koloa is the name
generally applied to the wild Muscovy duck. To the tame fowl which
the white man did bring across the sea is generally given the name
Back to Contents
Articles Of Food And
Drink In Hawaii
The food staple most
desired in Hawaii nei was the taro (kalo), Arum esculentum. When beaten
into poi, or made up into bundles of hard poi, called pai-ai, omao, or
holo-ai,1 it is a delicious food. Taro is raised by planting
the stems. The young and tender leaves are cooked and eaten as greens
called lu-aiit likewise the stems under the name of ha-ha. Poi is such
an agreeable food that taro is in great demand. A full meal of poi,
however, causes one to be heavy and sleepy.
There are many varieties
of taro.2 These are named according to color, black, white,
red and yellow, besides which the natives have a great many other names.
It is made into kulolo (by mixture with the tender meat of the
cocoanut), also into a draught termed apu which is administered to the
sick; indeed its uses are numerous.
The sweet potato (uala),
(the Maori kumara), was an important article of food in Hawaii nei; it
had many varieties3 which were given names on the same
principle as that used in naming taro, viz: white, black, red, yellow,
The uala grows
abundantly on the kula lands, or dry plains. It is made into a kind of
poi or eaten dry. It is excellent when roasted, a food much to be
desired. The body of one who makes his food of the sweet potato is plump
and his flesh clean and fair, whereas the flesh of him who feeds on
taro-poi is not so clear and wholesome.
The u-ala ripens
quickly, say in four or five months after planting, whereas the taro
takes twelve months to ripen. Animals fed on the sweet potato take on
fat well; its leaves (when cooked) are eaten as greens and called palula.
Sweet potato sours quickly when mixed into poi, whereas poi made from
taro is slow to ferment. The sweet potato is the chief food-staple of
the dry, upland plains. At the present time the potato is used in making
swipes. The sweet potato is raised by planting the stems.
The yam, or uhi (Dioscorea)
is an important article of food. In raising it, the body of the
vegetable itself is planted. It does not soon spoil if uncooked. It is
not made up into poi, but eaten while still warm from the oven, or after
roasting. The yam is used in the preparation of a drink for the sick.
The ulu or bread-fruit
is very much used as a food by the natives, after being oven-cooked or
roasted; it is also pounded into a delicious poi, pepeiee. It is
propagated (by planting shoots or scions.)
The banana (mai'a) was
an important article of food, honey-sweet, when fully ripe, and
delicious when roasted on the coals or oven-cooked, but it does not
satisfy. It was propagated from offshoots.
The ohia or "mountain
apple" was a fruit that was much eaten raw. It was propagated from the
seed.4 The squash is eaten only after cooking.
The following articles
were used as food in the time of famine: the ha-pu-u fern (the fleshy
stem of the leaf-stalk); the ma'u and the i-i-i (the pithy flesh within
the woody exterior). These (ferns) grow in that section of the
mountain-forest called wao-maukele. The outer woody shell is first
chipped away with an ax, the soft interior is then baked in a large
underground oven overnight until it is soft when it is ready for eating.
But one is not really satisfied with such food.
The ti5 (Cordyline
terminalis) also furnishes another article of food. It grows wild in
that section of the forest called wao-akua. The fleshy root is grubbed
up, baked in a huge, underground oven overnight until cooked. The juice
of the ti-root becomes very sweet by being cooked, but it is not a
The pi-u (a kind of
yam,) is a good and satisfying food when cooked in the native oven. It
is somewhat like the sweet-potato when cooked. The ho-i (Helmia
bulbifera): this is a bitter fruit. After cooking and grating, it has to
be washed in several waters, then strained through cocoanut web (the
cloth-like material that surrounds the young leaves. TRANSLATOR) until
it is sweet. It is then a very satisfying food.
The pala-fern (Marattia)
also furnished a food. The base of the leaf-stem was the part used; it
was eaten after being oven-cooked. This fern grows wild in the woods.
The pia (Tacca
pinnatifida) is another food-plant, of which the tubers are planted.
When ripe the tubers are grated while yet raw by means of rough stones,
mixed with water and
then allowed to stand
until it has turned sweet, after which it is roasted in bundles and
eaten. The wild pea, papapa, the nena, the koali6 (Ipomoea
tuberculata) were all used as food in famine times.
Among the kinds of food
brought from foreign countries are flour, rice, Irish potatoes, beans,
Indian corn, squashes and melons, of which the former are eaten after
cooking and the latter raw.
In Hawaii nei people
drink either the water from heaven, which is called real water (wai
maoli), or the water that comes from beneath the earth, which is (often)
brackish. Awa was the intoxicating drink of the Hawaiians in old times;
but in modern times many new intoxicants have been introduced from
foreign lands, as rum, brandy, gin.
People also have learned
to make intoxicating swipes from fermented potatoes, watermelon, or the
fruit of the ohia.7
NOTES ON CHAPTER 14
poi, that is, pounded taro unmixed with water, is made up into
bundles, which on Oahu and Molokai were round and covered with the
leaves of the ti plant. On Hawaii and on Maui they were long and
cylindrical and were covered with banana stalks or the leaf of the
pandanus, and were called omao or holo-ai.
The names given to the different varieties of taro
might be reckoned by the score. In spite of Mr. Male's assertion,
color seems to have had but little to do with the determination of
the name. To mention a few representative names, the ka-i, which
made the very best of poi, was of firm consistency, of a steel-blue
color, and of an agreeable sweetish taste; the hao-kea of a light
grey color, softer consistency and more neutral flavor; between
these two, which may be taken as representing the extremes, are
ranged a multitude of varieties representing all the intervening
shades of blue and grey. The ipu-o-lono and apu-wai are of medium
blue-grey color and consistency, representing a mean between the
extremes mentioned. The pii-alii (king's desire) is of a
pinky-purplish hue and makes a delicate poi that is regarded as the
most choice of all varieties.
This remark does not do justice to the facts. The
names given to the different species of uala and of taro as well
show accurate observation and good powers of description. One
variety was named lau-lii, small leaf, another piko nui, big navel,
another hua-moa, hen's egg,
By some mistake the author says that the ohia is
propagated from branches or cuttings. Only the seed is used. One
might as well expect a branch of oak to grow as a branch of ohia.
The action of this famine-diet is well described in
the following triplet :
"I ka wa wi, wi,
Ai ka ti, ti,
A hi, hi, hi."
Koali. The juice of the leaves and stems of the koali
was used as a cathartic in Hawaiian medicine. Its effects are
Okole-hao so called from the small round hole of the
iron pipe from which the liquor dripped is a liquor distilled from
the fermented juice of the ti-root. It is said to be of excellent
quality, resembling New England rum.
Back to Contents