Early report on poi palaoa in California, 1859.

Poi Palaoa.

O Hae Hawaii;

I have some news to report and it will be for you to carry it around to the borders of the land from Hawaii to Niihau, so that the news is heard by our friends living in the countryside [kuaaina] and in the royal court [alo alii].

Here is the news: this is my ninth year of living here in California, and the Hawaiians in California desire poi greatly, but have no way to get it.

But we get poi from the flour that is made by the haole, and through the ingenuity of the Hawaiians who by thinking came up with that poi.

This is how you acquire the poi; get a pot that is two feet high and pour water into it half way and place on top the fire; when it boils, carry it aside and pour in flour into the pot; hold a stick in one hand and stir until firm then put back on the fire; keep doing this, and put back on the fire four or five times at which point the poi is cooked; pour into a bucket or in a barrel perhaps, and mix until smooth; when we eat poi palaoa it is truly delicious like taro poi of Hawaii. With appreciation, By M. NAHORA.

Coloma, El Dorado County,

California, February 12, 1859.

(Hae Hawaii, 3/16/1859, p. 199)

He Poi Palaoa.

Ka Hae Hawaii, Buke 3, Helu 50, Aoao 199. Maraki 16, 1859.


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.

More from the Pacific Northwest, but a little more “recent,” 1912.


(Written by Sam K. Nainoa.)

The following letter is written by Sam K. Nainoa from Seattle, after the passing of several weeks since he left his homeland with his queen, on their travels, explaining some major things that they saw in their sightseeing of these foreign lands, and this will be something which the readers of the Kuokoa will rejoice in because of the progress witnessed by the two of them made by the Hawaiian youths living in that foreign land.

SEATTLE, May 16, 1912, Aloha oe:—Here we are, staying in this town; we’ve been here almost two weeks, meeting with the Hawaiian boys, and we are full of joy.

There is a great number of my classmates living here, all of them Hawaiians; they are playing music and singing, and they are making a lot doing this work; and some of them married haole women, and they are truly taken by this land, with no desire at all to return to the land of their birth.

Some of them have land and are well off; according to what they tell me, their thoughts of returning to Hawaii are no more; this is where they will live and they will leave their bones in this foreign land.

We went touring around another area farther across this expansive ocean for a few days and came right back, and am writing this letter to you. We went sightseeing at a wood mill, at a place called Port Blakeley, which is one of the largest mills in the world.

What I saw was truly amazing. There are many Hawaiian boys indeed living there, and to go from one area to the next, you travel by steamship. The Hawaiians take a fancy to living there, and for work, they do lumbering.

Hawaiians have no problem with jobs there; they have work at all times.

Some boys from Port Blakeley came to Seattle and got together with us and the band boys who live in Seattle; they insisted that we go with them to where they live, and there was not refusing the hospitality of the kamaaina, so we went aboard a steamship, spending a few days there and immediately returning back.

There were two Hawaiian women there with their husbands, and they have become mothers to the Hawaiian boys there; their living is easy, and they get along lovingly; I would not be mistaken to say there is a place for them in this land without their parents [he mua a he hope ka noho ana o ka aina makua ole ?]

There is bountiful food there, and when we arrived, two pigs were roasted as is the custom of Hawaiians, and all the luau foods were prepared like inamona, limu eleele, dried fish, alamihi crab, raw fish, and their poi was poi palaoa [flour poi].

Here they have dried opelu and dried nehu and many other things so that Hawaiians living here have nothing to complain about; they have everything, perhaps even more than Hawaii.

We enjoyed ourselves, and there was but one thing to do, that is to sing and to play music, and we were terribly happy. There is an over abundance of palai fern there, it is protects your feet [he pale wawae ia mea he palai ?] and it grows all the way until the ocean. When we went pole fishing, we caught poopaa and also large kuahonu crabs. There is a fish that looks like opelu here, and perhaps it is opelu; so too with the puhikii, which is good eating raw.

There are so many delicacies here: salmon worked in with tomatoes and onions; and according to what these Hawaiians say, there is no food that you can’t get here, you have so much to choose from to satisfy your wants.

These people were very kind to us, and we are greatly indebted to them for their hospitality, and these Hawaiians of ours are blessed in making this place somewhere that they look for their livelihood.

This is enough for now, and maybe there will be more free time here after to write more of our travels. All the Hawaiians here give their aloha to our lahui.

Your friend,


(Kuokoa, 6/7/1912, p. 6)


Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke XLVIII, Helu 23, Aoao 6. Iune 7, 1912.

A visit to the Mormon settlement, Iosepa, Utah, 1912.

Travelling to Find Hawaiians in Iosepa, Utah.

Following the Presidential Nominating Convention in Chicago, I boarded the evening train, along with my travelling companions, on the sabbath, June 23, to return to San Francisco. We arrived at Salt Lake City at 5 p. m. on Tuesday evening, and I jumped off alone in that foreign land while my companions continued all the way.

The next day, I went to grounds of the Mormon temple and asked for the way to get to where the Hawaiians lived in Iosepa. I was told by the locals that Tempie was where the train stopped to go to Iosepa, and eight more miles and you’d reach Iosepa. I was restrained to wait for one of the Mormon teachers who lived here in Hawaii, for they knew the way to Iosepa, but I did not wait, I toured about the city until the time the train departed, and I boarded for Tempie.

I arrived there at 4:30 and saw a barren land with but two buildings, no trees, no crops, and they were just houses for the men who worked on the railroad. I was shocked, because there was no one home; I looked at the road lying to the south, to the east of the valley and I decided to walk until the houses of the locals of Iosepa, and so I went as a malihini on that lonely deserted road; I looked as far as my eyes could see, and there were no homes in sight, but I continued walking forward for eight miles and reached a hillock from which I could see four more miles, but I couldn’t see any houses, while I recalled what was told to me, that it was eight miles from Tempie to Iosepa; I was confused, thinking that maybe this wasn’t the correct road, so I turned back once again for Tempie. The sun went down, but the moon came out, so the trip on this deserted foreign land was not forlorn.

I arrived back in Tempie at eleven that night, knocked on the door, and the kamaaina, who was a Greek, awoke, and I slept there that night. He asked me about my travels, and I told him that I was headed for Iosepa, and I asked him the right way to get there, and he told me that that was indeed the road but he estimated that it was fourteen miles before reaching Iosepa.

Early the next morning, we were done with breakfast, and my kamaaina went off to work; he locked up the house, and I sat out on the lanai, waiting for for the mail truck, since the locals told me that the letter truck to Iosepa arrived at two that afternoon; I thought to walk once again, but because of swelling of my legs, I couldn’t do it.

In the afternoon, a delivery truck driven by a Hawaiian youth born there arrived first. After him arrived the mail truck driven by John Broad, the son of Charles Broad, along with three passengers headed for Salt Lake. I spent time with them until their train arrived and they left; and I waited for the train from Salt Lake; its arrival ran late, and it came at about six; we got the mail bag, and I went along with Jno. Broad to Iosepa which he said was sixteen miles from Iosepa to Tempie. We arrived at Iosepa at dusk, at eight in the evening and visited the home of Charles Broad and his queen [wife]. There I ate poi once again, that being poi palaoa [poi made of flour], and this was much tastier and better than the expensive haole food that I had in the American hotels.

I spent time with the Hawaiians living there, and asked about how their lives were;  they said their way of life in Iosepa was pleasant. Charles Broad and George Hubbel told me that when they were home in the land of their birth, they were subject to frequent bouts of rheumatism but in Iosepa they were fine and this ailment giving them sore bones disappeared. I was asked to stay back by the kamaaina to spend [seems to be a dropped line here: “hoohala i mau lakou”] so that they can properly welcome me, like by roasting a pig, joining together in celebration, and allowing time for the two singing groups to  come and entertain me with their music and Hawaiian songs that they cherish in that foreign land. But because of my very short time left before the Wilhelmina, my ship upon which I was returning, was leaving, therefore, I could not accept their invitation.

The town of Iosepa is east of Skull Valley [Awawa Pookanaka], and it is land dedicated as a home for kanaka people. Hawaiians are the majority living there, and there are some kauna [forty] samoans and the head haole and his family. There are 176 people in Iosepa. There is a school house, store, post office, church, dance hall, and a lanai for parties on special occasions.

The work people do there is farming, planting oats, wheat, potatoes, barley, and so forth. The land is flat and stretches out, and there is much space, enough for a thousand people, and there is a lot of spring water in that valley, but the land is like a salt bed, and it is by irrigation that the crops grow. Should you want a homestead, you can get 320 acres, being that there is abundant land yet few people.

Water is brought in for the town of Iosepa from the deep, grooved ravines of the mountains for many miles in canals which are lined with cement and runs out to a reservoir, and from there the water runs into great pipes reaching the roads of Iosepa and entering the house lots of the people.  The Church spent $76,000 to lay the waterway.

It is thought that it was an ultimate feat of Maui County, which spent $100,000 to lay the water system to bring the water from Puohokamoa Stream as water for the thousands of people of Makawao and Kula and the thousands of cattle of Kahikinui, however, people have to pay to get the water; as for the water in Iosepa, the Mormon Church paid $76,000 to get the water to make the life of the Hawaiians there easy, and they give it for free.

After finishing breakfast, the Head Boss, William Wadup [Waddoups], invited me to  tour the work place of the people, and so I went with him aboard his vehicle [Not sure what a “kaa bake” is, but it appeared in an earlier article i put up]. We arrived at the place of work, and I saw two men cutting grass. They sat atop the machine, guided the horses straight, and the machine was what cut the grass. And at another location, the dried grass (hay) was piled onto a large truck and taken to where it was heaped up, and the pile was as tall as a two-story building.

George Hubbel told me that pitching hay with long-handled three-pronged pitch forks was the most important job there, and the pay for that job was two dollars and a half a day for a single man, and three dollars for a married man; for other jobs, the pay was a dollar quarter and  a dollar half a day.

As I made ready to depart Iosepa that afternoon, people were let off work, they told me because it was windy that they could not pitch hay, and they all came down to see me and to give their aloha to the families in the land of their birth. There was much asking for me to visit them again should I come back to America, and from what I saw, they were very happy at the arrival of one of their own who saw and visited with them in this foreign land upon which they live.

They told me that in the twenty or more years which they lived in Iosepa, there were a great many Hawaiians who visited Salt Lake City, but I was a Hawaiian who actually went to Iosepa to see them before returning here to the sands of our birth.

Here are some people I saw there: Makaweli, the last born of the wife of Nailima of Hilo, who has many children and grandchildren in Iosepa. It was this kind Hawaiian lady who took care of Emilia Kalua (f), the grandchild of Keanini of Waikapu, Maui, because both of her parents died; the family of her father wanted to bring back this young girl to live with them. The Circuit Court of Maui appointed me as executor for her portion of the estate of her grandfather, and these are they things which made me visit Iosepa, Utah, and to see firsthand how this Hawaiian girl was living without parents in this foreign land. From what I saw and heard about her there, she was being properly taken care of, and she did not want to come to Hawaii nei.

Also, there is Naihe, a child of D. B. Mahoe of Hana; he is family there; he has eight children living. George Hubbel formerly of Honolulu, his wife, and their children, and so many more other Hawaiians gave their aloha to their family here in the land of their birth. According to some of them, it is their homeland, the treatment of the church elders is good, and the thought to return to the land of their birth is very far away, except for the fact that their aloha for Hawaii is not gone, as for their kin at home with their never-ending thoughts of them.

KALE WILIKOKI [Charles Wilcox]

(Kuokoa Home Rula, 7/12/1912, p. 4)

Huakai imi i na Hawaii ma Iosepa Aina Uta

Kuokoa Home Rula, Buke X, Helu 28, Aoao 4. Iulai 12, 1912.