Devastating earthquake and tsunami, 1868.

Terrifyingly Powerful Earthquake

Please place this in some open area of your columns; the story of this huge earthquake mentioned above, in the District of Puna, and perhaps other places as well.

When I turned back with my travel companions on the road from Kapapala, we didn’t reach our home (Kahaualea), but between those places we were met with an earthquake, leaning this way and that as we groped around for something solid to hold on to, and one of my friends saw the ground before us splitting open, whereupon he cried out and stood elsewhere; as for me, I tipped over and heard up close the rumbling of the earth, and I said to my companions, “What is happening to us?” One of us answered, “Maybe this is an earthquake that is causing us this fright.” I then said, “How awesomely frightening; if the ground rumbles and splits open and we are swallowed up, then we are all dead, just like the Anak [Anaka] people who were swallowed in the earth.

The length of the earthquake upon us was like six minute, and when it was over, we headed back while constantly seeing at the places where the earth split open in the road; some were the size of a man’s foot, and were several inches wide at some places. And when we reached out houses, the ohana was there who experienced the same thing. I saw our eating house [hale paina] (a stone building) which collapsed; and the dishes were all broken.

It was as if the damage seen was from the earthquake, but it also came from the sea; we went down to the shore (where much of our houses were). When we looked, we saw the boats were smashed in little pieces, and inland, the earthquake made houses topple, the stone walls of the church collapse, house fences fall, fish ponds dry up; some survived. Toward the sea, five canoes were splintered, some house fences fell, and the water entered some houses where people lived. It was all messed up.

For those whose lives were in danger, when the water entered their houses, a man named Kapai got up with his two children and ran out, but they were taken by the sea and died, so too with some women and their children, they were beaten by the sea; some people with their daughter escaped by running and climbing a hala tree. Auwe! Auwe! in dire straits. Make haste O Ke Au Okoa, speed on the wings of the wind to report of this frightening news here in Puna and perhaps elsewhere as well. B. H. M. Kailiwahine.

Kaukeano, Puna, Hawaii, April 12, 1868.

P. S. It was on the 2nd of April, at maybe 5 in the evening that the tremors began, and it did not let up at all until the setting of the sun, and at dawn, the earthquakes were strong. B. H. M. K.

(Au Okoa, 4/16/1868, p. 3)

He olai nui Weliweli.

Ke Au Okoa, Buke III, Helu 52, Aoao 3. Aperila 16, 1868.

Poi made from wheat flour in Kalawao and Kalaupapa, 1879.

Poi Palaoa.

O Kuokoa Newspaper; Aloha oe:—

Here in the colony of the leprosy patients in Kalawao and Kalaupapa, flour is used to make poi [poi palaoa]; it is similar to poi made of breadfruit [poi ulu] in the yellow color, and it is truly delicious; it is a lot like taro poi [poi kalo]: your stomach doesn’t get sore, and you become full indeed; we have no poi because the taro won’t arrive to these Koolau cliffs because of the terrible weather during these months.

This new poi began at Iliopii, by a Hawaiian who lived in California who was used to making it there, and that is how he spread this new poi here; and the benefits of this poi is now known, and therefore, our poi problems are over during this stormy period, and should calm weather return, the patients will get their paʻi ʻai¹ [pai kalo].

Poi palaoa is very appropriate when working because you stay full, and it is fun to make when you get used to it, and so too with rice mixed with crackers and stirred up in a pot; when it boils and is cooked, it is time for to fill the stomach, and you will be always full.

The Superintendent of the Leprosy Patients.

In my observations, our Superintendent, Mr. N. B. Emerson [Emekona], M. D. is quick with filling the storehouse [hale papaa] with flour [palaoa], rice [raiki], crackers [barena], bags of sugar [eke kopaa], and salmon [kamano]; there is nothing to complain of Kapuukolu.²

Worship. Worship always happens now: Protestants [Hoole Pope], Mormons [Moremona], and Catholics [Katolika]; their meetings on Sundays are always full; life of the patients is peaceful now, not like before when Damien [Damiano] and when W. K. Sumner were Superintendent; there were uprisings from drinking okolehao and other alcoholic drinks made of ti, sweet potato [uala], and so forth.

Bell of the Church of Kalaupapa. On the 5th of Feb., the Bell arrived on the Warwick; a very fine bell which was a gift from the Sunday School of Kaukeano and the brethren of that church; and now it hangs proudly in its honored steeple with its ringing voice in the cliff faces of Kalaupapa, and it points out the movement of the hands of the clock, and the Sunday School of Kalaupapa fully appreciates the gift of the Sunday School of Kaukeano.

S. K. K. Kanohokula.

Kalaupapa, Feb. 18, 1879.

¹Although i tend not to use ʻokina and kahakō, i marked “pai ai” here for added clarity.

²Kapuukolu is a place on Kauai, figuratively used to represent abundance of good food.

(Kuokoa, 3/15/1879, p. 2)

Ka Poi Palaoa.

Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke XVIII, Helu 11, Aoao 2. Maraki 15, 1879.

Sad and sweet at the same time—lady dies at the graveside of her friend. 1912.


[There are times when an article will be taken from an English-Language paper, or even another Hawaiian-Language Newspaper (past or current, acknowledged or not). Here is an example of an article which seems to be generally translated from an English-Language item appearing three days earlier.

See the post by University of Hawaii at Manoa Library:

100 years ago: “Dies Beside Open Grave as Departed Friend Laid to Rest” – Hawaiian Gazette. #NDNP

The Hawaiian gazette. (Honolulu [Oahu, Hawaii]) 1865-1918, February 06, 1912, Image 1, brought to you by University of Hawaii at Manoa; Honolulu, HI, and the National Digital Newspaper Program.]

(Kuokoa Home Rula, 2/9/1912, p. 1)


Kuokoa Home Rula, Buke X, Helu 6, Aoao 1. Feberuari 9, 1912.