Locals of the Tuahine Rain are no more.
O Ke Au Okoa:—Aloha to you:
I am sending you a small gift atop your outstretched foundation, should your captain and Editor be so kind, and it will be for you to take it to the shores of these islands so that my newspaper-reading companions may see it, it being the letters placed above: “Some Locals of the Tuahine Rain¹ are no more,” and it has been ten or more years which they have not been seen.
And my friends are probably puzzled about these locals that have gone missing, and you, our old-timers, are all likely saying, not them, here they are, and some people have passed away, but we knew of their passing; but the departure of these kamaaina which I speak of was not witnessed. And this is it, the kamaaina birds of our uplands: the Iwi, the O-u, the Akakane, the Amakihi, the Oolomao, the Elepaio; these are the native birds of these uplands who have disappeared.
And some of you may be questioning, what is the reason for this disappearance? I tell you, it is because of the spread of the evil birds from foreign lands, in our plains, mountains, ridges, valleys, cliffs, forests, terraced taro patches, seashores, and rivers; that is why these kamaaina have gone, because of the spreading of these evil birds among us, and they are damaging the crops, and the food from the forests; rice planted by some are being eaten by these evil birds; and the bananas of the forests are all eaten up by these birds.
What do we gain from these evil birds being spread in Hawaii, and protecting them so that they are not killed? I say that we gain nothing from these evil birds which are hurting our native birds and crops and foods from the forests; because in the past, before the spread of these birds, if a kamaaina of this land wanted to go into the mountains to get thatching or some shrimp, or some oopu, they did not pack food with them, because they thought that there was food in the mountains, like banana, hawane fruit, and uhi; banana would ripen on the plant and then fall, without anything damaging them, but now, the bananas don’t ripen on the plant; they are eaten by these banana-eating mu [mu ai maia] of the forest; bananas don’t ripen, and [now] when you go into the mountains, there is just the oka-i [blossom container of bananas] left and the bananas are lost to these birds; and the kamaaina birds are gone. Where to? Perhaps they all went to Hawaii island.
And I say without any hypocrisy, the decrease of this people was because the arrival of the evil haole to Hawaii nei; it was they who spread the evil sicknesses: gonorrhea [pala] and syphilis [kaokao]. Smallpox [hepera] and leprosy [mai pake] are the reasons that our lahui was decimated, because of the arrival of the evil haole; if all the people who came to Hawaii were like the people who brought the light [missionaries], then this lahui would not have decreased in number; so too with the arrival of the evil birds to Hawaii nei, which hurt our native birds and plants; this is like the decrease of our lahui with the arrival of the evil haole who spread gonorrhea and syphilis and similar diseases.
Therefore, I feel aloha for the kamaaina birds of my beloved land because they are all gone, and the youngsters of these days question, what are those birds like? They are tiny birds with beautiful voices, and their feathers as well, and they were an enjoyment in our childhood; when times of strong winds arrived, all the birds of the mountains would alight and show up at the doors of the houses which was entertaining for us to watch them flitting amongst the leaves of the ilima in our childhood and they were a playmate in our youth.
Before the arrival of these birds, there was a great abundance of Iwi, Amakihi, Akakane, O-u, Oolokela, and Elepaio, right here above us, atop the clumps of aliipoe, bushes of hau, noni trees, and more upland, the number of birds was amazing, atop the flowers of lehua of the mountain apples, and on the Ahihi and the Lehua Kumakua; those uplands were so enjoyable but these days, they have all vanished, maybe because there were aggravated by these evil birds.
Here is another thing; if only the coming session of the Legislature could revise the law pertaining to birds from foreign lands, for there are destructive birds that have been imported as well from foreign lands.
And this is a supplication to you, O Ke Au Okoa. With aloha to the one who steers you, and also to the boys of the Government Printing Press. The boy from the uplands is turning back for the Tuahine rain of the land is spreading about.
T. N. Penukahi.
Manoa, June 24, 1871.
¹Tuahine [Kuahine] is the famous rain of Manoa.
(Au Okoa, 6/29/1871, p. 3)