Joseph Puni writes to the father of Diamond Kekona, 1916.


Opera House,
Dudley, England,
Nov. 4, 1916.

To my true friend, Dick Kekona,

Aloha oe:–Perhaps you are surprised receiving this letter. I have tried all means to release your beloved son Diamond from the British armed forces. I appeared before the American Consul in the countryside here in England, telling them that Diamond is an American. They responded that they will put my request before the head consul in London. On the 17th of September, I went to the Consulate in London, they told me that the consul could not order the British government to release Diamond because he is 25 years old; only those below 20 years old, if they are American citizens. These past days, I decided to have your daughter-in-law (Amy Kekona) to come to see me, and get together with her to think of a way to release her husband; for these good reasons, I ask that you send me his birth certificate, or to go to the governor of Hawaii to write to the Hawaiian Delegate Mr. J. K. Kalanianaole in Washington D. C., to go to the State Department in Washington and have the American Ambassador in London investigate the circumstances of his enlisting in the armed forces, and you verify that your first-born son is a true Hawaiian. He had a document in the city of Paris, France, from the office of the American General, written on the 13th of February, 1914, attesting to the fact that he is a Hawaiian. If he finds these documents, he will be victorious. Do not neglect this, for I am still regretful not having his acting. He has much knowledge in this area, and his showing this to the world would bring fame to the Hawaiian Lahui. I will organize everything here and send it to London. With our sleuthing, I believe everything will progress; may God watch over and keep safe the life of your child until we meet again, amen.

With aloha to your family and the Hawaiian Nation.


Write me at your daughter-in-law’s, c/o 143 Baxter Ave., Kidderminister, England.

(Aloha Aina, 1/19/1917, p. 3)

Ke Aloha Aina, Buke XXII, Helu 3, Aoao 3. Ianuari 19, 1917.

Diamond Kekona writes home from England, 1919.

Letter from Italy

My dear sister, Mrs. George Lonohiwa.

Much love between us. I have time to write letters to you and to Papa Kekona. I am in fine health, and so are my British mates in the battalion. And I am confirming that each of you all are in good health. On December 25, 1918, was the birthday of the Child of almighty God, and it was a day of rejoicing for the whole world. We celebrated that day with joy and peace; there was all sorts of food brought in by the nation of [line illegible because of what appears to be a fold in the paper] from all over Europe; we ate to our fill. There was but one thing not seen on our dining table; there was no poi and fresh fish, and other Hawaiian foods like limu kohu. I was craving poi and the other things I wrote to you, sister. Here is some news: the soldiers are being released to go home, and I think that our regiment will return within the next months. And if I go back and am released from service, then I hope to return to Hawaii, should the Heavenly Father assent. Amen. Give my aloha to brother-in-law, George W. Lonohiwa, kuku Makalohi, Joseph and August Kekona, and papa Kekona, and the rest of my aloha goes to our Hawaiian people.

Send my letters to my home, 143 Baxter Ave., Kidderminister, England.

Aloha kaua,

Diamond Kekona.

(Aloha Aina, 3/8/1919, p. 2)

Continue reading

Diamond Kekona plays ukulele in London, 1919.


Diamond Kekona, one of the five Hawaiians with “The Bird of Paradise” playing a two-year contract.

It’s a far cry from Piccadilly Circus, London, to Honolulu, but the faithful reproduction of a former life in the Hawaiian islands as depicted in Richard Walton  Tully’s “Bird of Paradise” is charming Britons who seek a welcome change from fog and storm. Continue reading

Diamond Kekona writes home, 1908.


This past week, Mr. D. K. Kekona received a letter from his child Dimond Kekona [Diamond Kekona], written in the city of Philadelphia, United States of America, telling of how they are doing and their progress of their work in the foreign lands.

These are Hawaiian boys who left the beloved shores of Hawaii nei and sailed to other lands in search of fortunes through singing and playing music with their various instruments. According to what he reported, their work is going well; they receive around $1,425 every week.

They are under the direction of a haole that shows movies named Mr. Lubin, and on the first night that showed the movies in the city of Philadelphia, along with their singing of Hawaiian songs, they received a huge sum of money, and on that night in their estimation, there was about ten-thousand people or more gathered there to see the performance of the Hawaiian boys which they heard about.

In their band is seven actual Hawaiian boys; each of their names are: Dimond Kekona [Diamond Kekona], Charles Kalahila, E. Davis, Frank Forest [Frank Forrest], Harry Parker, Sam and Willie Jones. There are many other Hawaiian bands in America and they travel all over the place.

Here is the gist of the letter:

To My Dear Papa,

Mr. D. K. Kekona, Aloha to you and all the family:—I have found the perfect time to write to you this letter to tell you how we are and how our work is here.

We opened a show in the city of Philadelphia before a large group of people that numbered about ten thousand. Mr. Lubin is our leader, and he shows movies with our assistance in our singing Hawaiian songs along with playing instruments. Hawaiian songs are very popular. The audience was filled with delight and were pleased until the time when the program let out for the night. The money we make is about $1,425 a week and we earn very good wages for the week. We will be touring other places with our singing.

There are just seven of us Hawaii boys. We are all doing good and are in good health. It is very cold here.

(Kuokoa, 11/20/1908, p. 4)


Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke XLIII, Helu 47, Aoao 4. Novemaba 20, 1908.

Hawaiians singing on the East Coast, 1908.


Their Singing was Received with Much Delight

The picture above is a picture of some Hawaiian youths travelling America singing, and from what one of them wrote to Honolulu to his father, we can see they are making progress in their singing in America.

They were in Philadelphia at the time this picture was taken, and being that there are many places where they have been requested to go to perform music, they might be in some famous hotels now in America, or perhaps in Washington according to what Diamond Kekona wrote to his father here.

All of these boys did not leave Honolulu for America thinking that they would be making a living playing music, but some boarded trading ships, and upon arriving at America, they gave up sailing and met up with each other and decided to go around singing, and their progress has been witnessed along with them making a good living.

They met a young Hawaiian who was living in Philadelphia for 24 years, and he was working playing music and he was one who helped these Hawaiian boys immensely.

Those standing—E. Davis, William Jones, Diamond Kekona, William Puhia.

Seated—Frank Forrest, Harry Parker and Charles Kalahila.

(Kuokoa, 11/27/1908, p. 1)


Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke XLIII, Helu 48, Aoao 1. Novemaba 27, 1908.

Diamond Kekona passes away in Germany, 1922.

That Hawaiian Boy Dies in Germany

Diamond Kekona Grew Weary of This Life After One Week of Being Ill.


It was His Wife Who Announced the Sad News to Honolulu nei on Monday

On Monday, this town received the sad news about the death of Diamond Kekona, the son of D. K. Kekona of this town, in Berlin, Germany, on the 13th of last month, February.

It was Mrs. Diamond Kekona, the wife of Kekona, who sent the sad news of the death of her husband to Mekia Kealakai, the leader of the Royal Hawaiian Band [Bana Hawaii], because he was a friend of the young Kekona and his wife when they were all living in London.

A letter was also received by Mr. D. K. Kekona, the father of the young man, confirming the news about the passing of his son.

Diamond Kekona was born on the 6th of October, 1890, so at his death, he was thirty-three years old and some.

Diamond left Honolulu in 1905 for New York, with a group of singers and musicians. He spent many years in America in this occupation.

During the great war of the world, Diamond Kekona was in England, and he enlisted in the service under Britain, going off to war in France and Belgium. He married a British woman and had two children, however the two of them died.

At the end of the war, Mr. and Mrs. Kekona lived in Belgium, and just last year they went to Berlin, Germany, where they met up with Joe Puni, William Kanui, and Joseph Nihali [?]; but according to the letter of Mrs. Kekona, he did not get along with Joe Puni, and they did not talk.

Mr. Kekona was not sick for long before he died, it was just a week; and in the letter his wife wrote to Mr. D. K. Kekona, she told him of her intent to return the body of her husband to London to bury, in her homeland, close to her home.

With the passing of this Hawaiian youth in foreign lands, he left behind, grieving for him: his young British wife; his grandmother, Mrs. Makalohi, who is 91; his father, Mr. D. K. Kekona, working in the sheriff department and a pastor of the Christian Science Church [Hoomana Naauao]; two younger brothers named Hugo and August Kekona; and their sister, Mrs. Lonohira [Mrs. George Lonohiwa]; and a big family.

(Kuokoa, 3/22/1922, p. 1)

Make Ia Keiki Hawaii Maloko o Kelemania

Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke LXI, Helu 12, Aoao 1. Maraki 22, 1922.

Maybe that wasn’t the final word on Diamond Kekona, 1922.


Diamond Kekona, the Hawaiian singer is in Germany today, that according to what Diamond Kekona wrote to Dick Kekona, his father, who is in the local police department.

Diamond Kekona is one of the Hawaiian boys famous for his singing, in Scala Casano [?], Germany now, and is getting paid 3,000 Marks (German dollars) per week, which is a very low wage for him, but he hopes he will receive more when it is changed.

There was much enthusiasm in France and England about Hawaiian music and the people there went crazy over Hawaiian music, and after he was out of work for a few weeks, he went to Germany under a contract with a Jazz band, and he is the only Hawaiian in the band; the other four are all haole. He only sings. Here below is a portion of his letter written to his father explaining:

“I’ve met many Germans who have been to Honolulu before. We are headed for Baden in the summer. I am now seeing the huge cities of Europe.”

[I went back earlier into the year to see if i might find a death announcement for Diamond Kekona, because we have received kind word from Sabine, a dear reader in Germany, that she’d attempt looking for Diamond Kekona’s grave, and this is what I found first from early in 1922.]

(Kuokoa, 1/27/1922, p. 1)


Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke LXI, Helu 4, Aoao 1. Ianuari 27, 1922.

Final word on Diamond Kekona… 1922.


Mr. Dick Kekona, much aloha between us:—Here is what I have to tell you, I met up with your letter on this past 8th, and I understand your feelings full of aloha.

Here I am, living in Berlin [Belina], and we are working at Luna Park [a well-known huge amusement park of the day] today until the end of winter [summer?] and going into September. We are working at Luna Park for four months. Great is Almighty God’s aloha for the Hawaiians  who wander about the world.

Here is another new thing I must tell you, about the grave of Diamond [Kaimana] Kekona, I will take care of it and watch over it, and I will purchase a gravestone for Kaimana Kekona, my beloved younger brother.

As for our life here, it is very good, and our health is fine as well. I pray every day for the day we will meet again.

Here is another thought I have for you, my father in the land of my birth; if you might please look for my actual family who are in Kailua, Koolaupoko, Oahu: Julia Kapahu, my mother; David Nahale, my older brother; and Mele, my sister. Give my great aloha to all of them, and tell them to write me here in Berlin.

I thank you, O Papa, for your kindness to me.

Perhaps this is enough here. Give my aloha a nui loa to the family, and to yourself as well.

Sincerely, living here,


17 Liesenstrasse, Berlin, N. 39 Germany.

c/o C. Sundermann.

[I wonder what happened to Diamond. He must have been only in his early 30s? Maybe he grave is still findable in Berlin?]

(Kuokoa, 6/22/1922, p. 8)


Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke LXI, Helu 25, Aoao 8. Iune 22, 1922.

A Touching letter from Diamond Kekona, in far away Britain, to his father in Hawaii, 1916.


Dear Papa:–Here are some words for you; my wife and I are healthy, and we are believing that you and the family are doing likewise. My dear wife is completely cured of her sickness, after I put great efforts into finding a cure–partly as a result of the doctors and partly because of the Lord Jesus Christ–as I prayed all the time to the Lord to give health to my wife, as you instructed me earlier.

She was sick for 12 weeks from the time she gave birth, and because of God’s love she regained her health. I take her walking around every day for 2 hours, and she is beginning to eat and regain her weight.

Father, I have joined the armed forces, as I told you earlier. The doctor gave his permission, and I received my papers, to the regiment #30, of married men, under the command of Lord Derby. I wear the symbol of my regiment on my left arm, just as other soldiers do in the army of Britain. I will receive my orders in June or July to proceed to the battlefield without delay for the honor of the Hawaiian people and for the flag of the homeland of my beloved wife.

We will send you a picture on the next boat, and when I receive my uniform, I will send you a picture, and that will be my last picture for who knows how long, but I find my relief in God. Tell August Kekona, don’t come to this land; there are no jobs, no money, there is lack in daily needs; tell him to go to America because it is a land where you can make it, where you can make money and get other things to make you happy. I say this because I was there for many years. Tell him my advice. I am thinking this is enough writing for the time being. Papa, give my love to Kuku Makalohi and uncle, Mrs. Lonohiwa, Bro. August and Hugo Kekona, and the rest of my love, to you my Papa. You son,

87 Blackwell St., Kidderminster, England.

Aloha Papa:–Here are some thoughts to you, those being these: I am doing well, I am over my sickness, because of the tireless efforts of my loving Daimana for me.

Papa, tell August Kekona, don’t leave Hawaii. If he listens to my advice, he will be happy; he should live in Honolulu with you. There is no work for men here; women work, and take care of their husbands. Women are more than half of the workforce here in Britain now. Also, the pay here is very low. Papa, you are probably puzzled that my Daimana has joined the 30th regiment of married men, under the command of Lord Derby. I believe that this war is one of the worst; I am very afraid. There will be many more casualties of the men joining this war–both from the Allied side and the German side, before the war is over.

Daimana and I sent our picture to you, but my picture isn’t so good because I have just recovered from my sickness. I will go again later to take a picture and send it to you. I look at my picture and it is as if I am a totally different girl. I think I will end here. I wish you and everyone there the best in this new year. Papa, don’t forget to give my aloha to Mrs. Lawe Lonohiwa (I will write her when I have some time). Give my love to August Kekona. Your daughter,

78 Blackwell St., Kidderminister, England.

(Kuokoa, 2/18/1916, p. 2)


Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke LIV, Helu 7, Aoao 2. Feberuari 18, 1916.

Speaking of Hawaiians serving in the military, does anyone remember Diamond Kekona? 1916.

A Son of Hawaii Goes to War for Britain

This picture was sent from Britain giving notice that Diamond Kekona, a Hawaiian, was enlisting in the Military of the homeland of his wife, Britain. He is prepared for when he will be called to service. Those in the picture are Mr. and Mrs. Barker, Mr. and Mrs. Diamond Kekona, and Mr. and Mrs. Smith. One of the women is an older sister of Mrs. Kekona’s. And one of the men is their brother.

[When i was posting to the old Hoolaupai Face Book page, there were many letters sent by Diamond Kekona from England to his father Dick [Richard Kekona] which were posted. If anyone wants to see them reposted here, where they will be easily searchable, i can do that. I will post the first letter i found in the papers right after this as an example.]

(Kuokoa, 3/31/1916, p. 1)

Komo He Keiki Hawaii E Kaua No Pelekane

Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke LIV, Helu 13, Aoao 1. Maraki 31, 1916.