The Haole Really Took Niihau.
O Kuokoa Newspaper; Aloha to you:—I met up with the newspaper article under News of Hawaii, in Issue 15 of the 9th of April, about the selling of Niihau to Mr. James Francis Sinclair, for $10,800, along with the lands of Kuakanu, which are the konohiki lands of Halewela and Kahuku, which the Government sold to the one named above, along with the konohiki lands, and this whole island has gone to the haole; perhaps you all and those others as well have heard that Niihau was sold, along with those penny-pinching folks who don’t get the shining beacon of Hawai nei through the Kuokoa Newspaper. And it is we who know of the great, who know of the small, and who know of the wide, that knows of the selling from Kii to Kawaihoa, from the Makahuena Point to Pueo Point; everything upon the land is bought and there is nothing left for us, the Hawaiians, under the haole owners.
Their Way of Living: They are pleasant and good, and speak nicely with the people, but they are not very proficient in the Hawaiian language. The haole say, “mahope aku kumaki” [?] There are ten Hawaiians, caretakers [hoaaina] of the land, chosen from amongst the locals, but two are from elsewhere, they are newcomers, one from Hawaii and the other from Maui, and including them there are ten caretakers. Here are each of their names which the haole selected: A. Puko, D. Kauki, Hetesia, J. H. Kanakaiki, P. R. Holiohana, H. Haokaku, Mose Kanohai, Ioela, Kapahee and Pouli; Kanakaiki is from Napoopoo, Hawaii, and Holiohana is from Hana, Maui, and are locals from there. Those caretakers are in charge of the three work days every month just like the konohiki of the chiefs, should there be work by haole owner to be done.
Their Number: Mr. James Francis Sinclair them total twelve in number; two brothers, three sisters, five children, one mother, and one in-law, which totals twelve; they live in Kununui; they are religious, with one God, but their religion is very different; their houses were constructed in Britain and brought to Niihau: three houses, one currently stands, and two more to follow; we appreciate how nice and beautiful it is to see.
Dealing with the Animals: There are two horses per man and woman, and should there be three, it is killed, and so forth; as for dogs, there are none left, they were all killed, from the big ones to the small ones because sheep were being killed, and so the government is without money from the dog tax, also the goats were all killed. You Kauai people who own horses and sheep, get them quick, don’t dawdle, or they will be taken by the haole.
Things Grown by the People.
It is the Hawaiians who do the labor, assisting with the land owners in the watering of the sweet potato, ke pola akaakai [?], and chickens, as long as they were pleasant, or else that was that.
On the Number of Sheep
Set loose on Niihau are the sheep which you have perhaps seen in our Newspaper; as for the count, you probably have not heard; this is the truth as to the abundance or dearth: the number of sheep is 3,400, with 1,400 belonging to the Hon. W. Webster and 2,000 belonging to the King; there is no end to their desire for sheep.
Sugar Cane Cultivation.
Niihau will be planted with sugar cane if the test on one acre goes well; and if the cane grows nicely, then planting will commence, but if it doesn’t grow, that’s it, because it is an arid land.
This is an undesirable land for those foreigners seeking to make money because it is dry and scorched by the sun, and crops die; but here are people who are after wealth, and they tell us, the locals, that this is very valuable land for sheep and cane; our good friend, H. M. Whitney, the local of Waimea and Niihau, along with his parents, are familiar with this island and its extreme heat in the Makalii months [summer]. I will stop writing as the Naulu rain of Niihau is falling. With aloha.
P. R. Holiohana.
Kihalaui, Niihau, May 2, 1864.
[This P. R. Holiohana (later it seems he goes by the name P. R. Holi) writes in to the newspapers often from Niihau on a number of subjects.]
(Kuokoa, 6/4/1864, p. 1)