J. H. Kanepuu the traditionalist, 1970.

Hawaiian Math

By Russell and Peg Apple

BY THE MID 1800s, the Hawaiian people were betwixt and between two cultures. There was the pull and the momentum of the old—the traditional Hawaiian; and the lure and exhortations of the new—a New England brand of Western.

And the Hawaiians were aware of the situation. They were not above pointing out to each other the conflicts they met in their everyday life.

One who did so was a man from Palolo, a Mr. J. H. Kanepuu. He wrote in the Hawaiian language newspaper Ke Au Okoa, and on Jan. 21, 1867, saw the need to call attention to two counting systems that existed side by side.

KANEPUU NOTED the conflict in the markets where Hawaiians bought and sold. There was a generation gap in methods of enumeration. Most of the fishermen and farmers who sold in the markets were old men who counted by the Hawaiian method. Those who bought were younger folks who counted by the haole system. Few knew both well.

The momentum and practices of the past fixed the habit patterns of the fishermen who caught flying fish, mullet, mackerel and milkfish for the Honolulu markets. They either sold their catch themselves, or it was sold by family members of the same generation. They counted Hawaiian style.

Those who bought counted haole style. They had been to the mission and public schools. They knew how to count by tens, from one on up into the tens of thousands. Each had ten fingers, including thumbs, to help.

BUT THE Hawaiian system was based on the numeral four, not the decimal system. Hawaiians had four fingers on each hand to help in counting.

Both the old timers and the younger Hawaiians spoke Hawaiian fluently. But the haole terms had been translated into Hawaiian and taught to the people who went to school, along with the counting-by-tens method. It was the same sort of confusion which occurs today when a nation switches from pounds-shillings-and-pence to a coinage based on the decimal system. Or when a student who learned his work in inches, feet, yards and miles tries to deal with millimeters, centimeters, meters kilometers. Misunderstandings and confusion result.

LOT KAMEHAMEHA, later to rule as Kamehameha V, was educated by Christian missionaries and was versed in the Western system. Kanepuu wrote that when he was still Prince Lot, he received a gift of fish at his house in Honolulu. This was sometime in the early 1800s, before Lot Kamehameha was crowned.

The men who brought the fish used the old system, the Prince only understood the new.

“How much fish?” asked the prince.

“One lau and nine kaau,” answered the Hawaiian servant who delivered the fish, a gift from chief Kuhia.

THIS ANSWER distressed Lot Kamehameha and he alsmost became angry. On seeing this, the Hawaiian switched to the new system. Continue reading

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Mele for the island chain of Papa and Wakea: a response to the Armstrong call, 1860.

He Mele no ka pae aina o Papa ma.

Hoao Papa hanau moku,
I kana kane o Wakea i noho ai,
Hanau o Hoohokukalani,
He Alii,
He kaikamahine na Papa,
Noho ia Manouluae,
Hanau o Waia ke ’lii, o Waia,
O Wailoa, o Kakaihili,
O Kia, o Ole,
O Pupue, o Manaku,
O Nukahakoa, hanau o Luanuu,
O Kahiko, o Kii,
O Ulu, o Nana,
O Waikumailani ke ’lii,
O Kuheleimoana, konohiki wawe na Kaloana,
Hanau o Maui, he hookala-kupua,
He kupua he ’lii o Nana a Maui,
O Lanakaoko, o Kapawa,
O Keliiowaialua,
I hanau i Kukaniloko,
O Wahiawa ka hua,
O Lihue ke ewe,
O Kaala ka piko,
O Kapukapukakea ka aa,
Haule i Nukea,
I Wainakia Aaka i Heleu,
I ka lai malino o Hauola, ke ’lii,
O Kapawa hoi no,
Hoi no iuka ka waihona,
Hoi no i ka pali kapu o na ’lii,
He kiai kalakahi no Kakae,

[This is but one of the many mele submitted to the Hae Hawaii in response to the calls put out by Samuel Chapman Armstrong.]

(Hae Hawaii, 8/8/1860, p. 77)

HaeHawaii_8_8_1860_77

Ka Hae Hawaii, Buke 5, Ano Hou.—Helu 19, Aoao 77. Augate 8, 1860.

The call for information on traditional knowledge, 1860.

ANCIENT MELE.

I want to obtain Mele about the arrival of Papa folks, and perhaps others, and Mele with each individual name, and Mele about the Kaiakahinalii [Great Flood], and Mele showing what the ancient people thought about the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars.

For those who know these Mele, write them down and send them to me. S. C. ARMSTRONG.

Honolulu, July 27, 1860.

[There was a broader request earlier that year. See: No na Mele!]

(Hae Hawaii, 7/25/1860, p. 71)

HaeHawaii_7_25_1860_71

Ka Hae Hawaii, Buke 5, Ano Hou.—Helu 17, Aoao 71. Iulai 25, 1860.

More on mele, 1860.

Pertaining to Mele

Perhaps the mele of old are almost all lost; those who know them are but few. This is something to be regretful of for in those mele, one can understand the way of life of the people of very long ago, and the stories of the land as well. The means for these mele to continue and not to be lost is by printing them in books and newspapers perhaps; in that way, the new generations can read them and contemplate over it and see the misconceptions of their kupuna and to not follow in their misguided ways. We wish to print the old mele and new mele, as long as they are good, and we ask of those who have mele and the composers of mele to send them to us and we will print them. Write the letters very clearly, and insert punctuation where they should be so that the printers understand.

We are printing below an old mele previously printed in Nu Hou in 1854, composed by Kaleiopaoa and submitted to the Nu Hou by S. M. Kamakau. In the mele there are foreign place names.

HE MELE I KILAUEA.

Hulihia ka mauna wela i ke ahi,
Nopu wela ka uka o Kuianalei,
I ke a pohaku puulele e lele mai iuka,
O ke kakoi ka hookele mai ka lua,
O ka maiau pololei kani lealea,
O ka hinihini kani kuamauna,
O ka mapu leo nui kani kohakoha,
O Kanakaloa o ka mauna,
O Kupulupulu i ka nahale,
O na’kua mai ka waokele,
O Kulipeenuiaiahua, o Kikealawaopiikea,
O ka uwahi pohina iuka,
O ka uwahi mapukea i kai,
O ke awa nui i ka mauna,
O ke pookea i ka nahele,
O ka uwahi noe lehua—e,
O ka aina a Pele ma iuka,
Ua ku ke oka, aia i kai—e,
Pau ae la ka maha laau,
Ka maha ohia loloa o Kaliu,
Ka uka i pohaku e kapu, e kapu,
Kapu mai la Puna, ua kulepe ke ahi,
Ua haiki Puna i Kilauea,
Ua ha ka lama i ka luna i Mokuaweoweo,
Ua ha uka i Keahialaka,
Aina ae la o Moeawakea,
Ke a i kai o Kukalaula,
A luna au o Pohakuloa,
Holo nae ku au nana ilaila, e maliu mai—e,
O ku ike wale aku ia Puna,
I ka papa lohi o Apua,
He la liliu e nopu wela ka wawae,
A pau na niu o Kula i Kapoho,
Holo ka uwahi maha oo Kuauli,
Pau o Maolala i ke ahi,
I hia no aa i ka papa,
Pulupulu i ka lau laau,
Punia ka lani, haule ka ua loku,
Kaa mai ka pouli, wili ka puahiohio,
Ke owe la i ka lani, eia Pele mai ka mauna,
Mai ka lua i Kilauea,
Mai Papalauahi, mai Ooluea,
Hiki malama mahina ka uka o Kaliu,
Enaena Puna i ka aina, e ke Akua,
Nihoa ka pali ka lua iuka,
Koea mania kikaha koae,
Lele pauma ka hulu maewaewa,
Kikaha pouli na’kua o ka uka,
Liolioiwawau na’kua o ka lua,
Ae ae Pele, noho i ke Ahiku,
Kani ke ilalo o ka lua,
Kahuli Kilauea me he ama la,
Kunia puna, moa wela ke one,
Wela Puna, e wela i ke ahi—e,
Kina Puna wela i ke ahi—e.

(Hae Hawaii, 3/21/1860, p. 204)

No na Mele.

Ka Hae Hawaii, Buke 4, Ano Hou.—Helu 51, Aoao 204. Maraki 21, 1860.

The importance of mele, 1860.

Pertaining to Mele!

O PEOPLE THAT KNOW FINE MELE AND the old Mele, I want you all to send those Mele in, and some will be published in the Hae [Ka Hae Hawaii]; and some will be kept; for those things are valuable. The Philomathian Society [?? Ahahui ma na mea naauao]  at Punahou is wanting old Mele to put into their archives to be looked at at a later date. S. C. Armstrong [S. C. Limaikaika].

Editor of the Hae.

(Hae Hawaii, 3/21/1860, p. 203)

No na Mele

Ka Hae Hawaii, Buke 4, Ano Hou.—Helu 51, Aoao 203. Maraki 21, 1860.

Maui story of Eleio, the kahu of Kakaalaneo, the alii, by W. N. Pualewa, 1863.

THE STORY

—OF—

ELEIO.

SECTION 1.

WE PERHAPS SHOULD SPEAK here of Eleio, the caretaker of Kakaalaneo, an Alii of Maui, and thereafter, let’s speak of Kaululaau, the actual child of Kakaalaneo and a chiefess of Hawaii, Kelekeleiokaula, the daughter of Kaleihaohia, a chief of Hawaii.

It is said that Eleio was a kahu of Kakaalaneo, an Alii of Maui, and it is thought that Kakaalaneo was the fifth generation of Maui Chiefs. If their genealogy was laid out properly from Kumuhonua to Kakaalaneo, then it would actually come to five generations.

But in speaking about Eleio, we must speak about him.

Eleio was a fast runner, and because of Eleio’s speed, Kakaalaneo chose Eleio to fulfill his needs in very far places.

This is how we will see how fast Eleio was.

When the Steward of Kakaalaneo was preparing the poi and the ti-leaf wrapped fish of the Alii, at that time, the Alii sent Eleio to go get awa for Him; and the feast of the Alii would begin with the arrival of the awa fetched by Eleio.

But the location of the awa that Eleio was to fetch for the Alii was at a place very far, and that place was in the Koolau side of Maui, at a place named Waiohue.

 If Eleio went to get the awa at Waiohule when the ti-leaf wrapped fish was not cooked, he would return before the meal of the Alii began. This is something Eleio did all the time, fetching the awa for the Chief; the place the Chief lived was mauka of Kekaa, that hill standing at Kaanapali, makai side of Kealakikeekee a Maui.

[This is the beginning of the story of Eleio, it begins in the Kuokoa from 9/5/1863, and concludes on 11/21/1863. This story was written down by W. N. Pualewa (who seems to have died at Kalawao on 12/26/1873).

The closing by Pualewa of his telling of the story is interesting:

And there is this, at this point, we will end our Story of Eleio and Kaululaau; because, we have come to the place where there is great entanglements, and not because the Story is completed, but because of the complexity of putting into order, for there are five sections left of this Moolelo, and within those five parts, divided are the branches of the alii, the genealogy of the kahuna, and the ancestors of the kanaka, and because of this difficulty, I am ending Kaululaau at this Section, and it is for someone that is versed in the Moolelo who should fill this empty space of the paper. With thanks. W. N. Pualewa.]

(Kuokoa, 9/5/1863, p. 1)

KA MOOLELO O ELEIO.

Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke II, Helu 36, Aoao 1. Sepatemaba 5, 1863.

Hiram Bingham and history, 1835.

Hear me, O Kepookulou, and those with knowledge, who have heard of the way of life of the alii of Hawaii of which you showed to us. You told us of the genealogy of this line of alii for fifty-seven generations, and we publish it in the Kumu Hawaii so that it is permanent, so that all the people and youth of Hawaii nei will understand from now into the future.

Where are these alii? They have all died. There is just one remaining. How did they live? People who know and who have heard, do tell us. When did they rule? We know the time of Liholiho and Kamehameha and Kalanikupuapaikalaninui, but the majority of them, we don’t know when they ruled. Continue reading