It is almost Mothers’ Day, and I just came across this article, so…, 1863.

[Found under: “NA MEA HOU O HAWAII NEI.”]

Prizing the Lahui.—We have heard that the Honorable R. C. Wyllie is considering presenting medals to some women living on his lands at Hanalei; the reason for him doing so is because of the great number of children these women gave birth to, that being 15 children of one, and the same for the other; and a majority of the children survive. His Honor probably wants to encourage women to care for their children properly; it is clear that it is only through mothers that this lahui will go on. It is a good thing to prize this lahui. Mothers, take good care of your children so that this lahui will be perpetuated, upon this pukaa* within the deep blue sea of the Pacific.

*This word “pukaa” was italicized in the original. Might anyone have other examples of a usage that means something other than artillery?

(Kuokoa, 11/14/1863, p. 2)

Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke II, Helu 46, Aoao 2. Novemaba 14, 1863.

2 thoughts on “It is almost Mothers’ Day, and I just came across this article, so…, 1863.

  1. Conferred via email with former Royal Hawaiian Band Master Aaron Mahi, who is also a native speaker and he responded with the following:

    “Aloha kāua e Billy,
    My thought is that Pūka’a could be the writer’s expression of conceiving these women as “weapons” warding off the raging level of population lost of life to the many diseases effecting the young and old alike. 1855 marks the government’s recognition of this issue and 1858 the beginnings of Queen’s Hospital by Emma and Alexander. For women to be giving birth to so many children and for them to survive the first years of life – one could logically see these prolific mothers as a way to battle the epidemic war of that time – saving /defending the lāhui.”


    • What a beautiful interpretation that takes into consideration the events of the times when the article was written. Mahalo nui.


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