Hawaiian Historical Society established, 1892.


On the evening of Dec. 28th, a few of our citizens met and engaged in an informal interchange of ideas in regard to the importance of forming an Historical Society. Prof. Alexander was chosen temporary chairman, and the Rev. Dr. Hyde secretary. It was then decided that the proper time had come for the organization of such a society, and a committee composed of Prof. Alexander, Rev. Dr. Hyde and Mr. J. S. Emerson was chosen to draft a constitution. An adjourned meeting was held last Monday evening at the Honolulu Library, at which this committee made its report. A large number of our most prominent citizens attended, and much interest was shown in the formal organization of the new society. After the adoption of the constitution the following officers were unanimously elected: President, Hon. C. R. Bishop; Vice-President, Mr. J. S. Emerson; Corresponding Secretary, Hon. W. D. Alexander; Recording Secretary, Rev. Dr. C. M. Hyde: Treasurer, Mr. T. G. Thrum. The constitution states that the object of the society is “the collection, study, and utilization of all materials illustrating the Ethnology, Achæology and History of the Hawaiian Islands.” Active members are to pay an initiation fee of five dollars and an annual fee of one dollar. It is hoped that arrangements will be made by which the society will secure as its permanent quarters, for the accommodation of its prospective library and a place of meeting, the large front room of the Honolulu Library. Immediate efforts are to be made for the formation of a library which shall include all books relating in any way to this Kingdom, and all books, pamphlets and newspapers ever printed on the Hawaiian Islands. Continue reading


On the passing Gabriel K. Keawehaku, Ka Anela o Mekiko, 1921.


Gabriel K. Keawehaku.

After being ill for the past many months, Gabriel K. Keawehaku left this life at 9 a. m. on the 4th of this month, just outside of his home in Kaimuki, and in the afternoon of the following 5th, his remains were put to rest at the Kaimuki cemetery.

He was given birth to by his parents, Keawehaku (m) and Olaola (f), on the 31st of the month of May, 1867, here in Honolulu, and when he grew weary of this life, he was 54 years old, plus 7 months and 4 days.

He was educated in Honolulu nei during his childhood; he was a kamaaina of this town, performing many jobs, and it was the illness that came upon him that made him give up his different jobs.

He first was employed in his youth in the Metropolitan Meat Market of Waller [Wala] and company. During the monarchy, he lived with King Kalakaua, in the king’s private guards for six years. He served as the customs inspector when the government was transferred under America, being sent to Hilo, and he was customs inspector there for five years. Continue reading

Opening of Punahou School, 1842.


On the 11th of this July, this school began; there were 5 boarders and 12 day schoolers. Its work is currently progressing well.

On the 12th of July, Emerson folks left for Lahainaluna to live.

(Nonanona, 7/19/1842, p. 16)


Ka Nonanona, Buke 2, Pepa 4, Aoao 16. Iulai 19, 1842.

Hei, cat’s cradle, Hawaiian style, 1916.

Some String Figures of Hawaii

There are many people studying the history of Hawaii nei and the lifestyle of its people, like what has been done with America, Europe and Asia. And through this studying of history, there has not been a lack of new information which brings benefits by its study. However Judge [Lyle Alexander] Dickey has come up with a new path to this study, not utilized before in Hawaii nei. He is learning string figures, and is collecting the old names and the mele that go with these string figures. He now has about a hundred or more of them.

String figures is something done all over the world. And most people know one or two. From what is known, there is not much of them in Europe and Asia; there are a bit more in Africa; and there is a lot with the Indians of America and the people of the islands of the Pacific. There are two books on string figures of the islands of Britain, the Indians of the Arctic, the Indians, and a few from the islands to the south of us. There is nothing written on the hei of Hawaii nei, even if Hawaii’s figures are most wonderful for the mele which accompany them. Some are not difficult, however some are very problematic because of the many transformations, with different lines of mele going along with each change. Some are very humorous without value, while some are for wooing, while others are riddles. Knowing the way of life of the people, its tales, its history, and the lay of its lands—this is the means of understanding the meanings and kaona (underlying meanings) of these hei. Perhaps the most widely memorized figure is called Hale Kumukaaha. However to this day, Judge Dickey has not gained clarity as to the true meaning and kaona of this hei.

Some figures done by the school children of Hawaii are perhaps not originating in Hawaii nei. The hei called “six eyes” is probably not from here [the first image]. Not a single old Hawaiian can make this figure. Maybe it is a new figure or maybe one from outside of Hawaii.

Some of the hei are associated with daily life, like the canoe, the net, the hammock, the imu, and the water gourd. Some are associated with animals and fish, like the turtle, the mo’o, the manini, the aweoweo, the hapuu, and the bird. Some hei are associated with the house like the kumukaaha structure, the loulu structure, and the paakai structure. There are a very little hei pertaining to body parts, like the piko of Kahoalii and the breasts of Ne. There are many dealing with land and famous fishing shrines as well as men with god-like bodies. Kauiki, for probably a good reason is the most widely known figure. One hei is for Wailua and it is seen in the attached illustration.

There is one famous hei, but it is only known by the oldsters of Hawaii nei, of which is accompanied by the chant starting with: “O Kuhaupio ka la, ka la i ke kula o Ahuena.”

A majority of the people who have the song or chant memorized along with the figures, have died without teaching them to their children. There are so many other things that entertain the new generation, but this entertainment of times long ago is something that the Hawaiian people are proud of. This skill shows intelligence in making the figures and associating it to this thing or that, and it is important that this ancient knowledge be kept. It would be good if someone reading this knows of some old Hawaiian who has a chant or mele memorized close at hand, one who is fond of mele and versed in string figures, or one who knows string figures, that he should Judge Dickey in Lihue, Kauai and tell him of what this person knows. There are many different hei of which the judge has heard, however, he has not found someone now living who can show them to him. There is one that is associated with the net of Makalii that J. S. Emerson saw in Hawaii many years ago; there are also some associated with the story of Pele and Kamapuaa, the paddle o Maui, “haehae ka manu e Kanealoha,” and so forth. These are great and very valuable, and it is important that they be preserved without regard to its simplicity or difficulty. And it is perhaps something that will bring joy when witnessing it being done, or perhaps something exceedingly appalling to consider.

(Kuokoa, 6/9/1916, p. 3)


Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke LIV, Helu 23, Aoao 3. Iune 9, 1913.

More on the life and passing of Naomi Kekela, 1902.


On the 30th of August, 1902, a most noteworthy woman of Hawaii was called to her reward. Her modesty was as great as her worth—and it seems fitting that some memories of her and the times in which she lived be prepared by one who knew her. Mrs. Kekela was the daughter of humble, faithful, church members of the Waialua, Oahu church; under the pastoral care of Rev. John S. Emerson. She was born in 1826, and spent her happy, care-free childhood attending the common schools of Waialua, in play hours roaming at will, the plains, the mountains and valleys, or sporting in the blue Pacific. But as she grew and had passed her ninth birthday her parents sent her, before her tenth, to enter the Girls’ Boarding School at Wailuku, Maui, or as they called it, “Kula Hanai Kaikamahine, ma Wailuku.[“] This boarding school was the forerunner of all the now successful seminaries for Hawaiian girls. The school was started by Rev. J. S. Green, but very soon passed to the care and responsibility of Mr. Edward Bailey, who managed all the business of the institution, but the matron and teacher of the girls was Mrs. Maria Ogden, who lived in a small two-story house on the premises. Mrs. E. Bailey assisted as she was able. Memory carries me back as I write this, to a visit made to this school in the early forties, when, as a child, I went with my mother and sisters to Maui. Landing from a schooner at Lahaina, we passed a pleasant week with the missionary families of Lahainaluna and Lahainalalo, and took the usual way to reach Wailuku. We embarked in a double canoe at midnight, under the wonderful, clear, star-lit heavens; and were paddled, close in shore all the way, in the shadow of W. Maui mountains, to Maalea Bay, where we landed on the wild rocks, surrounded with tall Pili grass, and soon were tucked away in maneles, and carried on the shoulders of stalwart Hawaiian men up to the mission station in Wailuku, where we met a warm welcome from Miss Og-

(Continued on page 11.)

(Friend, 10/1902, p. 6)


The Friend, Volume LX, Number X, Page 6. October 1902.

den and her school. Most vividly returns to me the memory of the long adobe thatched buildings, the dormitories, the school and dining-rooms, and the sight of that supper table to which we sat down. The company at the small square table of Miss Ogden, in the centre of the room, looking down on the long low tables of the girls, which were completely garlanded from end to end with wreaths or leis, of the fragrant Four-o-Clocks blossoms of many hues, which they cultivated in their own little flower-beds. All the girls stood by their places until they had sweetly sung together one verse, their “Grace before meat,” when they seated themselves all together, on the low backless benches, and attacked their bowls of poi and relishes in the usual way of the land, with their fingers. Always dipping their fingers before and after eating in bowls of clean water, which stood handy to all, on the table. Naomi was one of the girls amid that crowd, and she always retained a memory of “that visit of Mrs. Chamberlain and her little girls,” as her husband and children testify. After the meal the leis were heaped on the heads and shoulders of their guests. To this school-home in June, 1847, came a young student of Lahainaluna Seminary, Mr. James Hunnewell Kekela, (who had been a protege of the gentleman whose name he bore) and was also a native of Waialua. He had just graduated, and here, in the school-home of Naomi, at Wailuku, a beautiful wedding ceremony was observed. The minister who tied the nuptial knot was Rev. T. Dwight Hunt, who was then the missionary of the Hawaiian church in Wailuku. Later, he commenced preaching to foreigners in Honolulu, and was called from there to inaugurate a church in San Francisco in 1849, which is now one of the flourishing churches of that city. The young couple at once returned to Waialua, where Rev. J. S. Emerson had formed a separate church organization at Kahuku, Oahu, and very soon Mr. Kekela was ordained and placed over that church, this same being the very first church upon the islands to be placed under the care of a Hawaiian pastor.

(Continued on page 13.)

(Friend, 10/1902, p. 11)

den and her school.

The Friend, Volume LX, Number X, Page 11. October 1902.

They remained in Kahuku until 1853. Here their first little daughter was born and died in a few months of the first epidemic of measles,—and here was born the second daughter daughter, Maria Ogden Kekela, whose life and death are so well known to the H. M. C. Soc. When the Mission to the Caroline Islands was sent out in 1852, Rev. J. Kekela accompanied Rev. E. W. Clark as a delegate, and soon after his return to Oahu again, came the personal call to himself and Naomi to go as Foreign Missionaries. The story of the arrival of the Marquesas chief Matunui, with his Hawaiian son-in-law, in Honolulu with an appeal for the Gospel to be again sent from Hawaii to that savage cannibal people sounds like romance, and a most tremendous wave of religious and missionary enthusiasm spread all over the isalnds. The writer of this article, (when she had returned in 1854 from the United States from a course of education), received from her mother all the particulars of that wonderful time, of the public meetings, of the impression made by Matunui, of the choice of Rev. and Mrs. James Kekela to go as missionaries, of the great trial to the faith and love of Mrs. Naomi Kekela, in that it seemed that they should leave little Maria behind, of the final triumph of faith, when dear Mother Ogden had said, “I will adopt her as my own child,” their departure and many other facts.

Of Mrs. Kekela’s life at the Marquesas there is not time now to write much. It can be more fully dwelt on in future years when her husband’s heroic race is finished. But she never desired or asked to return to her native land for a visit, not even to see her beloved child! On one trip of the Morning Star, Miss Maria O. Kekela (after she had completed her course at Oahu College) was sent down to see her mother. Many children were born to them in the Marquesas—of whom Susan (who was also adopted by Miss Ogden and lived with her until Miss O’s death); James, who died a young man at Waialua; Samuel, adopted son of Rev. and Mrs. Kauwealoha, their associates, who had no children, who was educated by the H. M. C. Soc. at the farm school at Makawao, and who returned to his parents; and Rachel, educated at Mauna Olu Seminary under Miss Helen Carpenter, are best known here.

In 1899 it was deemed best by the officers of the Hawaiian Board that Rev. and Mrs. Kekela return to their native land, bringing their two youngest daughters and a number of grandchildren, to be educated in Hawaii. At the annual meeting of the Woman’s Board of Mission’s in June, 1899, it was the writer’s privilege to introduce with warm welcome, this beloved missionary mother to the large assembly; and we all listened to her words of greeting and mention of her life service with great delight, as translated to us by Rev. O. H. Gulick. Ten children in all were born to the Kekela family, seven of whom are now living. Nineteen grand-children are living, and thirteen great-grand-children. Mr. and Mrs. Kekela spent the first year after their return from the Marquesas in Kau, Hawaii, where Mrs. Maria O. Martin’s children were settled in happy and comfortable circumstances. Then they came to Oahu, to the home of their daughter Susan, a widow, at Waianae. Here Mrs. Kekela was called to her Heavenly Home very suddenly with heart trouble from which she had long suffered. The funeral was observed at Waianae, Sabbath P. M. August 31st. It was a matter of much regret that from the fact of death occurring so suddenly and so near the Sab-

(Friend, 10/1902, p. 13)

They remained in Kahuku...

The Friend, Volume LX, Number X, Page 13. October 1902.

bath no foreign pastor could attend the funeral, but the two native pastors, Rev. Messrs. Kaaia and Kekehuna [Kekahuna] made the services most appropriate and memorable.

Martha A. Chamberlain.

(Friend, 10/1902, p. 14)

bath no foreign pastor...

The Friend, Volume LX, Number X, Page 14. October 1902.

Introduction to the reminiscences of Hawaiian missionary James Kekela, 1901.


Rev. J. Kekelaokalani and Naomi

On the 22nd of May, 1821, at Mokuleia, Waialua Oahu, born of Awilinui and Kauwanui, his wife, was a big well filled-out baby with the blessings of the Heavens, and child was called by the name Kekelaokalani. This was the thirteenth of their children. Twelve were born prior, and with the [unclear phrase] of that fine offspring.

It was here that that child was raised until he was capable of understanding things for himself.

In the year 1832, Emerson, Sr. [Emekona Makua] arrived in Waialua, and in the following 1833 [unclear] he built a schoolhouse with his wife for the young men and women to enlighten them with knowledge. From among the first women to be taught there at that school was Kahaweli, the younger sister of the mother of that child. And following her, his mother as well attended the school until she was educated; and she began teaching the children the alphabet [Pi-a-pa], the beginnings of knowledge. It was this mother who guided him at that time in the knowledge about God and Sunday School, and it was thus that the sacred work of God was instilled a top the fontanel of the head [piko o ke poo] of this child, which is silver now, as in the picture above.

When that child was thirteen years old, being that he had received the beginnings of the light of true knowledge, he began to travel the width of the plain of Mokuleia for Waialua, with patience and without exhaustion, to receive the good teachings of the elder Emersons. In this year, those fine elders got great help in the form of Mr. Rose (Loke), a haole teacher. After one year of attending this school, Emerson went to Lahaina, and from there he told Kekelaokalani to come to Lahainaluna.

In August 1838, he entered Lahainaluna, and there he patiently remained for five years and he graduated in the year 1843. During those years at Lahainaluna, he learned everything about the true knowledge, as well as actual knowledge; and he remained, following the rules of the school, and as a result of his following the rules, he gained the full trust and total faith of the teachers.

After his days of learning were over, and he received his Diploma [Palapala Hoomaikai], Emerson, Sr. encouraged him to join the school for the clergy [Kula Kahunapule] that was started that very year. There were six students at the time, and Emerson wanted greatly for him to join. And because of the guidance of the righteous Spirit, he agreed, and so began his actual performing of the work of God. He spent four years at this work, and graduated with a Diploma from the teachers, in the year 1847.

When he received his Diploma, he married Miss Naomi, one of the educated young women of the time, and was living under the instruction of the teachers of the Girls’ School of Wailuku, Maui. After they were wed, he was sent to teach the Word of the Lord in the District of Kahuku, Oahu, and there he began his work with patience, with the word of life.

And he thus patiently continued as but a preacher; and when his readiness and progress was seen, he was ordained at his own parish.

From then until 1852, he strove to convert the Koolau Cliffs, and the fruits of his patience were many. When the head Missionaries saw his progress of his work, he was sent by the first Evangelical Convention held here on Oahu in the year 1852 as a Representative to travel to the places suitable to build parishes of the Lord in the Micronesian Islands.

He went to the islands of the South Pacific four times:

1. 1852—Went and returned that same year.

2. 1853—Went and returned in 1858.

3. 1859—Went again and returned in 1879.

4. 1880—Returned to his parish until this past year 1899, and came back, in feeble health.

Here is the entire story of his first excursion, copied from his journal:

[A long account follows. Perhaps i will post it here one of these days…]

¹Kekela was based in the Marquesas Islands, and not the Micronesian Islands.

(Kuokoa, 1/18/1901, p. 5)


Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke XXXIX, Helu 3, Aoao 5. Ianuari 18, 1901.