Death of the translator of Twenty-Thousand Leagues Beneath the Sea, Oniula, George W. Kanuha, 1876.

A Solemness, an  Expression of Affection for G. W. Kanuha.

[Aia aku la paha oe i ka aina hanau,
Ia Kona kai opua i ka lai,
Opua hinano ua malie
Hiolo na wainaoa a ke kehau,
Aole—eia ka paha i na hono a Piilani,
I ka lai o Hauola,
I ka malu o ka Ulu o Lele
E holoholo kuaua paupili ana.
Auwe! Aloha ino.]

Perhaps you are at the land of your birth,
Kona of the billowing clouds on the sea in the calm,
The clouds white like hinano blossoms,
Where the chilling waters of the Kehau mists fall,
No—maybe you are here amongst the bays of Piilani,
In the calm of Hauola,
In the shade of the Breadfruit of Lele,
Travelling about like the Paupili showers.
Auwe! How sad.

George W. Kanuha was born in 1845 in the town of Kailua, North Kona, Hawaii, of the streaked sea, the peaceful sea at Kalaiaehu, ever moistened by the amazing rains of the land of his birth in the face of the clouds. And he passed on to the other side of the black river, that line before the animals life and plant life which forever moves toward the final Great Revelation in the City of heaven. On the 16th day of this month, G. W. Kanuha travelled one last time in the shade of the ulu trees of Lele [Lahaina] in the sparkling sun and the red dirt of his welcoming home, sinking into the eternal home, the belly of the earth following after papa and mama. Aloha ino.

Ahukinialaa Wahineiki was his father, a student of Lahainaluna College, from the very beginning of the school in 1831, he boarded at that school until he graduated with the fluttering flag upon his Diploma. Mrs. Kealoha Wahineiki was his mother. G. W. Kanuha was an only child.

His history; when he was small, he was educated by Wahineiki, in the first part of his learning the “ABCs”. And at Lahainalalo he became accustomed to English. For a time he was with D. D. Baldwin, and in 1859 he attended the select school [kula wae] of the Hon. G. W. Pilipo at Holualoa, and from Kailua he would walk the distance of five miles. He was forevermore in search of knowledge and he was also humble.

Whenever he sat up, he had a book in front of his face, if he was lying down face down or up, or sideways, before his eyes was wisdom, like his eyelids. Will one lack knowledge if one seeks it out? No! No! Mr. Kanuha was a native Hawaiian by skin and by birth, but his mouth was a mouth of a British man, when he spoke English, and he could translate from English into Hawaiian freely. It was he that just translated the stories of the Nautilus, the wondrous one of the sea [Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea]; Iosepa Wilimota, Paulo Gilibeta, and some others that were published by our newspaper.

Hawaii owes him a debt for his aloha in his assistance in the newspapers in the Hawaiian language. There are many Sunday Schools of Oahu that are indebted to him for his skillfully designing of their original Sunday School flags.

G. W. Kanuha was a good, gracious, and humble servant of the people; he was second to none in his prudence and his modesty. Aloha ino!

[This was one amazing translator. It is about time that George W. Kanuha is recognized for all his work! Here is the opening of Verne’s classic as translated by Kanuha.]

(Kuokoa, 6/24/1876, p. 2)


Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke XV, Helu 26, Aoao 2. Iune 24, 1876.

1 thought on “Death of the translator of Twenty-Thousand Leagues Beneath the Sea, Oniula, George W. Kanuha, 1876.

  1. Pingback: Jules Verne’s famous story to be told, 1875. | nupepa

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