Near tragedy on the way from Kauai to Niihau, 1864.

Barely survived at sea

O Kuokoa Newspaper; Aloha oe:—Perhaps you and your Editor can be tolerant and include this in a Column of your entire stout body, about a crisis at sea, like this: Several skiffs left Niihau for Kauai, in Hanalei, to peddle goods; they did not face the crisis during this trip because the winds were calm on the sea, however, the next week they made ready to return, that being Thursday, the 12th of May, but because the wind was growing stronger, it wasn’t appropriate to continue the travels, therefore they landed at Nualolo that day, and stayed there for those days; and on Saturday, the 14th, they made to return here to Niihau while knowing the activity of the wind was bad; perhaps it was because they felt that the skill of the Niihau youth would not be acclaimed should they return in the calm, so they were worked up to sail, but after leaving and reaching the middle of the deep seas of Kaulakahi, one of the skiffs was pounded by a billow, and it overturned, and they were in dire straits. And when the second skiff noticed that this one had sunk, they threw their belongings into the sea and went to save the lives of the people overcome by calamity. The number of people aboard that vessel that had sunk was 13 including a small, young child who wasn’t yet crawling; I felt sorrow when I heard of this tragedy.

I strongly believe that if it wasn’t for the second skiff, and there was but just one skiff returning from Kauai, and they ran into this trouble, then they would be all gone, being swallowed by the belly of the ocean, and which of them would have escaped to be the messenger, the one to tell us of this sinking? I don’t think any one of them. And here is another thing; should none of them have lived, then we would have imagined something that was not true: “They are there living on Kauai;” but when some people from Kauai came and heard of them: “They left a long time ago.” Then what would we have then? Just this, the word that they had died, while accepting that fish, an alamihi.”¹

Here is another thing; being that I believe they have relatives on Kauai, along with other places of these islands, who are full of wonder, asking, “who are these Niihau people who were in trouble, and were they saved by the second skiff” So your friend will give each of their names, and here they are: Kaaukuu, Kalana, Kepuoiki, Kawala, Kaika, Mahuiki, Puni, and Kaikuahine, who are men; and Kamupoloula, Kamakahuilama, and Puuiki, who are women; and the small children and a man named Limaiole; those are the names of each of them in the skiff that sank. These are the names of the people aboard the skiff which saved them: Moopuna, Kamalikehakeao, Kaoku, Kaneiolouma, Kehau, and Kalauakaino, who are men; and Kewa and Niihau, who are women. The total number of them all was 22. And with this saving of these people from death, I recall an old saying: “Life is blessed through God, your snicker was almost fitting for me. [?? “Pomaikai ke ola na ke Akua, mai ku no ko aka-iki ia’u.”

As for the skiff that sunk and all of their cargo, it is all gone into the depths of the ocean, and all that was left are their lives, and what they had on; and God was patient with them and they landed on the east side of Niihau nei, in the place called Kii.

These people, some of them were of the Catholic faith, and some were Protestants. These people nearly grabbed onto the club of Kekuaokalani, “Hoolehelehekii,”² along with my father-in-law, “Laumihi,”³ as they set off in strong winds; what’s wrong with staying put until it is calm and then get up and come back. It is in man’s nature to show off, thinking that he will be famous for his prowess at sailing. You are competent facing a fraction of the wind, but should the ferocity of the wind be greater than your skill, then I believe that your intelligence would not leave you victorious. “Praise god in the high heavens, peace on earth, and good will towards men.” With aloha,

P. R. Holiohana.⁴

Kihalanui, Niihau, May 21, 1864.

¹A play on alamihi crab which can also sound like “path to repentance”.

²A play on the name “Hoolehelehekii,” meaning to be all talk.

³A play on the name “Laumihi,” perhaps meaning much remorse.

⁴P. R. Holiohana is most likely also known as P. R. Holi.

[On a related note, please don’t drive if you have been drinking. It isn’t worth the risk you are putting yourself and others on the road in.]

(Kuokoa, 6/18/1864, p. 4)

Ola mahunehune ma ka moana

Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke III, Helu 25, Aoao 4. Iune 18, 1864.


Population of Niihau and more, 1864.

The Population of Niihau.

O Kuokoa Newspaper; Aloha oe:—In response to the request by the Hoku Loa [newspaper], to tell the population of Niihau, and the number of houses of worship and members of the Lord’s church. Here is the actual figures of the population, from the men, women, older boys, younger boys, married women, and single women, the older girls and younger girls. Here is the chart.

Good-standing men, 187

Married women, 110

Single women, 29

Older boys [that can work?], 18

Younger boys, 50

Older girls, 27

Younger girls, 36

Breast-feeding children, 12

Old men, 51

Old women, 39

Male church members, 36

Female church members, 31

Total, 626

There are four houses of worship; three for the Protestants, and one for the Catholics. The shepherd of the sheep of the Protestants from Waimea, Kauai to Niihau, is Rev. G. B. Rovela [Rowell], and D. Maui and Anadarea are the assistant kahu. As per the requests for answers, will be responses. But there are some people who have gone here or there. This is the supplication of the boy from the west, and I am returning to my gardening of sweet potato scraps, as the Naulu rain came down.

P. R. Holiohana.

Kaununui, Niihau, May 19, 1864.

(Kuokoa, 6/11/1864, p. 4)

Ka nui o na kanaka ma Niihau.

Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke III, Helu 24, Aoao 4. Iune 11, 1864.

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.