Film of Kalaupapa 4th of July celebration, 1915.


Before a few invited people, the haole film maker, R. K. Bonine showed views of the celebration of the fourth of July at the land of the patients on Molokai, on the night of this past July 4th.

Superintendent McVeigh was amongst the audience, and was much appreciative of the quality and clarity of these views shot on film; and when he returned to the land of the patients this Tuesday, he took with him the movie to show before the patients.

The movie taken by Mr. Bonine was 800 feet in length, and as he agreed before the patients of Kalaupapa to show the movie he shot before them, therefore, he wanted Molokai’s people to see that movie first before him showing it to Honolulu’s people at the Opera House in the future.

The first scene in the movie is the port of Kalaupapa, with the skiffs of the steamship approaching the harbor; accompanying this first scene is the store of Kalaupapa, with a oxcart pulled by four oxen—this scene shows everyday life at the land of the patients.

The scene following this is the infirmary, which is far away, and some other things; and then it moves to the celebration of this past fourth of July.

In the parade are five police, all the way at the head of the parade, with their uniforms; following behind them are the automobiles and the Chinese carts [kaa bake?], and American flags wave everywhere like the ones decorating those vehicles.

After the parading cars were those pa-u riders with their skirts fluttering in the wind; and after them were the various singing groups all dressed up in their uniforms, the girls of Bishop Home, the boys of Baldwin Home; and following that was the cowboys and the pa-u riders of Kauai.

The entertaining horse races of the day is another good scene, along with some other views of the land of the patients; and when that small crowd saw these scenes, they were full of appreciation for Mr. Bonine, and the patients will certainly not fail to give their thanks for the movie.

(Kuokoa, 8/15/1915, p. 3)


Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke LIII, Helu 33, Aoao 3. Augate 13, 1915.

3 thoughts on “Film of Kalaupapa 4th of July celebration, 1915.

  1. Wow, the things you can find on youtube!
    At least we can see that some of Robert K. Bonine’s earlier films of Hawaii are still extant… I wonder if his Kalaupapa scenes are stored safely somewhere.

    And perhaps not Bonine, but still cool!

  2. Pingback: “Early movies of Hawaii” follow up, 2012. « nupepa

  3. I’m not sure why the first movie posted above is called “Boys Diving” since none of them actually are – they’re just jumping. Presumably this is Honolulu Harbor.

    The 2nd film posted above is one segment of the first movie footage ever shot in Hawaii. The other portion of it shows a mule-drawn streetcar on King St. in Honolulu.

    Probably the Kalaupapa film has long since been lost forever, due to film deterioration. And in addition, since movie film at that time was dangerously flammable, I believe that it was Bonine’s film that was found in storage in a Kaimuki garage in the 1920s just after his death, and was intentionally burned by the Honolulu Fire Dept. since it was considered a fire hazard.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s