Astronomy, 1909.

The Hawaiian Astronomy.

It is a great pity that David Malo, the Hawaiian Historian and Antiquarian, did not preserve in his “Moolelo Hawaii” or Hawaiian Antiquities, some account on Ancient Hawaiian Astronomy. S. M. Kamakau, a contemporary of David Malo, and also a writer on the Ancient History of Hawaii nei, is little better off, about this matter than his colleague. He wrote an article on “Instructions in Ancient Hawaiian Astronomy” and was published in the Nupepa Kuokoa of Aug. 5th, 1865. It was translated into English by Prof. W. D. Alexander for Maile Wreath (Lei Maile), and was republished by Mr. Thos. G. Thrum, in his “Hawaiian Annual” for 1890.

In the year 1885, we found in the monthly newspaper, “Ka Hoku o ke Kai,” that subject was treated again, only to last a very short time. And about twelve or thirteen years ago we again found certain very valuable statements pertaining to the Ancient History of Hawaii by Kanalu, said to be the priestly ancestor of the priesthood or order of Kanalu.

We saw in “The Journal of the Polynesian Society,” Vol. XVI, No. 2, an article on “Tahitian Astronomy” by Miss Teuira Henry. It treats the “Birth of the Heavenly Bodies.” It is very interesting.

In order to preserve these accounts relating to Hawaiian Astronomy, we give our English translation here, starting first from the account in Ka Hoku o ke Kai (1885).

In ancient times, the class of people studying the positions of the moon, the rising and setting of certain fixed stars and constellations, and also of the sun, are called the kilo-hoku or astrologers. Their observations of these heavenly bodies might well be called the study of astronomy. The use of astrology anciently, was to predict certain events of fortunes and misfortunes, victory or defeat of a battle, death of king or queen, or any high chief; it also foretells of pestilence, famine, fine or stormy weather and so forth.

The old Hawaiians knew some names of certain planets and several constellations. The names of planets are somewhat slightly different in corresponding English names, rendered by Andrews, Alexander and the late Dr. Bishop.

HAW. NAMES OF PLANETS ANDREWS. ALEXANDER. BISHOP.
1 Ukali Mercury Mercury Mercury
2 Hokuao
Hokuloa Venus Venus Venus
Mananalo
3 Holoholopinaau Mars Saturn Mars
4 Kaawela Venus (an evening star) Jupiter Jupiter
5 Naholoholo Saturn (See No. 3) Saturn

The Hawaiian name for Mars according to Prof. Alexander is Hokuula (red star). In the newspaper “Ka Hoku o ka Pakipika,” published about the year 1860, the name for the planet Saturn was Makalii, Kauopae for Jupiter and Polowehilani for Mars.

(To be Continued)

(Kuokoa Home Rula, 4/2/1909, p. 2)

The Hawaiian Astronomy.

Kuokoa Home Rula, Buke VII, Helu 14, Aoao 2. Aperila 2, 1909.

Niihau purchased for $10,800. 1864.

The Haole are Really Working Niihau.

O Kuokoa Newspaper; Aloha to you:—I met up with the newspaper article under News of Hawaii, in Issue 15 of the 9th of April, about the selling of Niihau to Mr. James Francis Sinclair, for $10,800, along with the lands of Kuakanu, which are the konohiki lands of Halewela and Kahuku, which the Government sold to the one named above, along with the konohiki lands, and this whole island has gone to the haole; perhaps you all and those others as well have heard that Niihau was sold, along with those penny-pinching folks who don’t get the shining beacon of Hawai nei through the Kuokoa Newspaper. And it is we who know of the great, who know of the small, and who know of the wide, that knows of the selling from Kii to Kawaihoa, from the Makahuena Point to Pueo Point; everything upon the land is bought and there is nothing left for us, the Hawaiians, under the haole owners.

Their Way of Living: They are pleasant and good, and speak nicely with the people, but they are not very proficient in the Hawaiian language. The haole say, “mahope aku kumaki” [?] There are ten Hawaiians, caretakers [hoaaina] of the land, chosen from amongst the locals, but two are from elsewhere, they are newcomers, one from Hawaii and the other from Maui, and including them there are ten caretakers. Here are each of their names which the haole selected: A. Puko, D. Kauki, Hetesia, J. H. Kanakaiki, P. R. Holiohana, H. Haokaku, Mose Kanohai, Ioela, Kapahee and Pouli; Kanakaiki is from Napoopoo, Hawaii, and Holiohana is from Hana, Maui, and are locals from there. Those caretakers are in charge of the three work days every month just like the konohiki of the chiefs, should there be work by haole owner to be done.

Their Number: Mr. James Francis Sinclair them total twelve in number; two brothers, three sisters, five children, one mother, and one in-law, which totals twelve; they live in Kununui; they are religious, with one God, but their religion is very different; their houses were constructed in Britain and brought to Niihau: three houses, one currently stands, and two more to follow; we appreciate how nice and beautiful it is to see.

Dealing with the Animals: There are two horses per man and woman, and should there be three, it is killed, and so forth; as for dogs, there are none left, they were all killed, from the big ones to the small ones because sheep were being killed, and so the government is without money from the dog tax, also the goats were all killed. You Kauai people who own horses and sheep, get them quick, don’t dawdle, or they will be taken by the haole.

Things Grown by the People.

The Hawaiians consume what they produce, and they also assist with the land owners in the watering of the sweet potato, ke pola akaakai [?], and chickens, as long as they were pleasant, or else that was that.

On the Number of Sheep

Set loose on Niihau are the sheep which you have perhaps seen in our Newspaper; as for the count, you probably have not heard; this is the truth as to the abundance or dearth: the number of sheep is 3,400, with 1,400 belonging to the Hon. W. Webster and 2,000 belonging to the King; there is no end to their desire for sheep.

Sugar Cane Cultivation.

Niihau will be planted with sugar cane if the test on one acre goes well; and if the cane grows nicely, then planting will commence, but if it doesn’t grow, that’s it, because it is an arid land.

This is an undesirable land for those foreigners seeking to make money because it is dry and scorched by the sun, and crops die; but here are people who are after wealth, and they tell us, the locals, that this is very valuable land for sheep and cane; our good friend, H. M. Whitney, the local of Waimea and Niihau, along with his parents, are familiar with this island and its extreme heat in the Makalii months [summer]. I will stop writing as the Naulu rain of Niihau is falling. With aloha.

P. R. Holiohana.

Kihalaui, Niihau, May 2, 1864.

[This P. R. Holiohana (later it seems he goes by the name P. R. Holi) writes in to the newspapers often from Niihau on a number of subjects.]

(Kuokoa, 6/4/1864, p. 1)

Hana io ka Haole ia Niihau.

Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke III, Helu 23, Aoao 1. Iune 4, 1864.