Clarice B. Taylor on Koihala, part IV, 1949.


All About Hawaii

By Clarice B. Taylor


The Hawaiian people who inhabited the Kau district on the Big Island were accustomed to a dry, hot climate.

The nature of the district led the men to seek their food in the ocean where there was a wealth of fine fish. For that reason, the Kau people loved their fresh fish.

When the high chief Koihala ordered the Kau men to construct the great heiau at Makanau, the men worked cheerfully as long as the food supplies lasted.

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They grumbled continuously while they fetched the little pebbles from Punaluu to pave the inner heiau courtyard. They endured this work, for they believed the end of the project was in sight.


But more misery was in store, for Koihala ordered the men into the mountains to find the biggest ohia tree growing and haul it to the heiau to be made into a god.

Koihala bragged that his heiau was to have the biggest god on the Big Island.

There were no forests with big ohia trees in the Kau district. A trip must be made into the high forests on the slope of Mauna Loa behind Kilauea crater.

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Such a trip for men accustomed to the hot plains of Kau required warm clothing and good solid food. There was little food left in the district.


Cold and hunger was the lot of the men who made the expedition with the priests in charge of choosing and cutting the great ohia log.

Hundreds of feet of good cordage were used up in dragging the ohia log down the mountain slopes to Makanau. Many of the men sickened on the trip and gave way to despair.

NEXT: The Kau people revolt.

(Star-Bulletin 3/24/1949, p. 32)


Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Volume LV, Number 17632, Page 32. March 24, 1949.

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