Rev. Ella Wise Harrison visits Niihau, 1946.


Due to what was spread some time ago about Niihau people, like the Committee selected to watch Niihau. Those committees returned and submitted their report.

Rev. Ella Wise Harrison, the kahu of the Akua Ola Church, left for Niihau and spent three weeks there with family and friends.

Because of her investigating and listening to what the natives expressed, she returned and reported on the state of the natives of that land. The people of Niihau are hurt at the unjustified reports alleged in public.

They said that they [the Niihau people] are perhaps 50 years behind our way of life, yet that is the life they desire. If they don’t want that way of life, they can leave Niihau.

Permission was given to Rev. Ella Wise Harrison by the Robinson brothers and she lived with the kamaaina of Niihau. She did not see the Robinson brothers again. She could do and go wherever she wanted. According to her, “the people of Niihau don’t want change. They want to live like how their kupuna lived.”

“They don’t want movies, liquor, and smoking. Some people have left Niihau and ended up returning to their beloved land.

It is not true, those who said that if you are allowed to leave Niihau, you will not be allowed to return there.

Their children are fat and stout and are healthy. Some families have around seven or eight children. They are fluent in the Hawaiian language, while Hawaiians on Oahu and other islands have forgot their mother tongue.

The children are educated at the primary schools there, and are thereafter sent to Kauai to increase their knowledge.

The people are taken to Waimea, Kauai, when they want a dentist to pull their tooth. So too when they are sick. The medical bills are paid by the Robinson brothers, except for dental work, which they pay for themselves.

For those who want to visit Niihau, they are examined by a doctor lest diseases be spread amongst the Niihau people. Therefore, by the report of this woman, there is no truth about the life of the Niihau people.

(Hoku o Hawaii, 9/4/1946, p. 2)


Ka Hoku o Hawaii, Volume XLI, Number 1, Aoao 2. Sepatemaba 4, 1946.


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