James Kekela reports from Tahiti, 1890.


The letter below is by Rev. James Kekela to Dr. C. M. Hyde, and we were given permission to publish it.

Papeete, August 6, 1890.

Rev. C. M. Hyde,

Much aloha to you and your wife, and your children. It has been a long time that we have not associated through letters. All of us Hawaiian Missionaries are in good health here in the Archipelago of Nuuhiwa, except for the wife of S. Kauwealoha, she is somewhat weak and frail; she was like this for the past four months, but she has gotten a little better now; I saw them in Uapou during the first week of this past July.

I am here these days in Papeete to fetch her (my youngest daughter) to bring her back to be a teacher at the French language school in Hivaoa for the Nuuhiwa girls. This daughter of ours has been living in Tahiti for 4 years and she is prepared to teach the French language. She was approved by the teachers and the French government officials here in Tahiti. In the last days of June, I left Puamau and travelled to Nuuhiwa and reached there, where the boat [? kusie] had left for Tahiti, and I went for a bit to Uapou to meet with S. Kauwealoha them for a whole week and returned to Taiohae in Nuuhiwa to wait for the ship from California.

July 29, I left Taiohae and left for Tahiti, on the 2nd of August I reached Papeete after a four days’ trip, and I am living here these days, waiting for a boat to go to Nuuhiwa. I met with the French Protestant [Pelosetane] missionary teachers in Papeete, Mr. Verenie and his wife, the pastor for the kamaaina, and they have a fine church, and they had me give a sermon on the Sabbath. They were very happy to hear about the works of God in the Archipelago of Nuuhiwa and Hawaii and the land of Micronesia [Maikonisia]. As for here in the archipelago of Tahiti, this was the first islands to hear the gospel of Jesus. Continue reading

James Kekela retires, 1899.


After fifty years of the Rev. James Kekela and his wife carrying out missionary work, and after forty-six years of them telling the Gospel of Christ [Euanelio o Karisto] in the Marquesas [Makuisa], here they are returning to spend the rest of their days here in their homeland.

They are being accompanied by their children and grandchildren totalling 14. According to the last word heard, they will be carried by a schooner of 50 tons, chartered to return them home. This month they will leave the Marquesas, and in March they will arrive here. According to what the newspaper the Friend published about Kekela and his fellow missionaries:

Their good works which they have done have spread wide. Kekela was honored by Lincoln when he tried to save the life of an American officer [Jonathan Whalon].

Kekela, Kauwealoha, and Hapuku civilized the ignorant of the Marquesas, and their fame has spread to Tahiti and the colonies of France in the South and East Pacific.

Kauwealoha has no children, and will live there until he dies; but for Kekela, he has a big family, and according to his friends, he is bringing back a part of his family to the land of his birth.

[There are many many letters in the Hawaiian-Language Newspapers throughout the years from the Marquesas Islands written by these Hawaiian missionaries: James Kekela, Zachariah Hapuku, and Samuel Kauwealoha.]

(Aloha Aina, 2/18/1899, p. 5)


Ke Aloha Aina, Buke V, Helu 7, Aoao 5. Feberuari 18, 1899.