THE HUI KAWAIHAU
There were several unusually interesting papers read at the last meeting of the Kauai Historical Society. Among them was one by Judge Charles S. Dole on the above subject which was as follows:
In the years from 1877 to 1881 the Hui Kawaihau, an organization of certain prominent Hawaiians and their friends, was one of the leading communities of the eastern side of the island of Kauai.
They were a body of men—most of whom came from Honolulu, with their families, where many of them were high officers in the Government—who went to Kapaa under the patronage of King Kalakaua, whose reign had then lasted for several years, for the purpose of establishing an association of congenial and intelligent farmers on the fertile cane lands at Kapahi, above Kapaa, in the year 1877.
The Hui Kawaihau was originally a choral society, of fifteen members, with social rather than business aims, and was first organized by Prince Leleiohoku, the Heir Apparent to the throne, in the year 1876—just before King Kalakaua’s coronation day, which was February 12th of that year.
The name “Kawaihau” (meaning “ice-water”) was originally derived as the nick-name of a lady residing in Honolulu at that time, a white woman, who was a friend of the King, but who did not court some of his royal favors and in the matter of liquid refreshment would drink only pure ice-water, in preference to the fiery gin which was usually dispensed from His Majesty’s sideboard. This choice of the lady was not understood by certain members of the royal court, and in derision they gave her the title “Ka Wahine o Kawaihau” (“The Lady of the Icewater”), and she became commonly known by the shorter appellation of “Kawaihau.”
Prince Leleiohoku died, however, in April of the following year, 1877, at Iolani Palace, and the choral society would doubtless have disbanded but that King Kalakaua decided that it might be a good opportunity to establish some of his royal retainers—upon whom the dissipating court life was beginning to pall, or rather, perhaps, was beginning to produce disastrous results—in the beautiful climate and fertile lands of the district above the village of Kapaa, on the eastern coast of Kauai.
Another reason for the royal strategem was said to be that, although many of the prospective farmers were intelligent and industrious men, there were quite a number of them who were courtiers and hangers-on at Kalakaua’s palace, whom the King was glad to establish on another island—distant from Honolulu and the charms and temptations of court life.
So the Hui was reorganized, in the month of June, 1877, and among the twelve members who were its charter members are the well known names of King Kalakaua, Governor Dominis, the King’s brother-in-law; Colonel George W. Macfarlane, one of the leaders in the court circles of that day; Captain James Makee, who had often entertained the members of the Royal family at his beautiful residence at Ulupalakua, on the island of Maui; Governor John M. Kapena, of the island of Oahu; J. S. Walker and C. H. Judd, two men prominent in the court and government communities of Honolulu; and Koakanu, a high chief of Koloa, on Kauai.
These twelve organizers were the ones who set in motion the wheels of business of the Hui o Kawaihau, in the year 1877, their first important official act being to sign a contract with the resident members of the Hui, thirty-two in number, for the cultivation of the lands of Kapaa, on Kauai, to sugar cane.
Of the thirty-two original resident members of the Hui there are but seven living, so far as is known, these being: Judge James H. K. Kaiwi, of Lihue, who is with us tonight, a member of this Society, and is the sole member of the Hui Kawaihau left on the island of Kauai; Edward K. Lilikalani, of Honolulu; Frank K. Archer (also known as Kelinohopono), of Pearl City, Oahu; Ekela Mahuka, of Honolulu; John Wallace, of Honolulu; James Hauola Makekau, of Lahaina, Maui; and the Reverend Isaac Iaea, of Kaluaaha, on the island of Molokai. Besides these there are four widows of the original members of the Hui, viz.: Mrs. Pipili Pakaua Polani, of Waipouli; Mrs. Kaupena Uka, of Hanalei; Mrs. Hana Kaiwi, of Honolulu;…
(Garden Island, 11/28/1916, p. 2) Continue reading