Hauoli La Hanau, e Mary Kawena Pukui! 1964.

Isle Scholar Celebrates Birthday With New Work


Mary Kawena Pukui, dean of Hawaiian scholars, has two reasons to celebrate today.

It’s her 69th birthday, and the English-Hawaiian Dictionary, part of a project for which she started the research 30 years ago, is just out.

It is a companion volume of the Hawaiian-English Dictionary published in 1957. On both works her collaborator was Dr. Samuel H. Elbert of the University of Hawaii who studied the language with her. Both were published by the University Press.

“IT IS such a relief,” Kawena began in the light, unhurried conversational tones of a Hawaiian tutu, “to have the dictionaries finished.”

But her dark eyes sparkled with the intensity of the scholar as she added, “now I can go ahead with the Kamakau.”

She explained that some years ago she translated the writings on Hawaiian religion, arts and crafts by the early Hawaiian author, Samuel Kamakau. Now she is reviewing the work for publication with Dorothy Barrere of the Bishop Museum.

“AND THERE are lots of other things I want to do, too,” she said with characteristic forward-looking zeal.

Kawena is modest about looking backward. But the record shows 40 years of persistent, scholarly accomplishment as researcher, translator, compiler and writer of authentic Hawaiiana.

Thirty-seven titles in Bishop Museum listings covering ethnology, sociology, natural history and linguistics are the work of Mary Pukui alone or in collaboration with scientists and other writers.

HER MOTIVATION is the urgency she feels to research and record all possible knowledge of the indigenous culture of Hawaii.

When she began writing and translating years ago she started a card file of Hawaiian words “for whoever would do a new Hawaiian dictionary… I never thought I was going to be the one to do it,” she said.

Her source material was Hawaiian newspapers and magazines, the Hawaiian Bible, catechisms and religious writings of all denominations, legends, folk lore, chants and writings of early native scholars.

Legal terms and land law terms were translated, and from the modern Hawaiian vocabulary, such contemporary words as “air raid” and “blackout” were also included.

KAWENA, with Eleanor Williamson of the Bishop Museum, also traveled remote areas of the Islands with a tape recorder to garner all she could from living memories about pronunciation and meanings of words.

She says the Hawaiian language frequently is complicated by multiple meanings.

Advertiser Photo by Charles Okamura

MARY KAWENA PUKUI Continue reading


Kalaniopuu’s fame as told by S. M. Kamakau, 1867.


He nui ka poe kaulana i ke au o Kalaniopuu, a ua kaulana oia no kona puni kaua a me ka luku a me ka paia i na makaainana a me na kamalii opiopio—he makua aloha ole i na makaainana.

There were many famous ones during the era of Kalaniopuu, and he himself was well known, as someone who loved war, and massacring, and the striking of the makaainana and small children—he was a father who had no aloha for the makaainana.

[Although Kamakau describes many a chief as “war loving,” he describes Kalaniopuu as particularly cruel. This passage can be found in “Ruling Chiefs of Hawaii,” page 115.]

(Kuokoa, 2/23/1867, p. 1)


Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke VI, Helu 8, Aoao 1. Feberuari 23, 1867.

Some of the battles of Kalaniopuu, 1866.

[Found under: “Ka Moolelo o Kamehameha I.”]

The battles between Kalaniopuu, the King of Hawaii, with Kahekili, the King of Maui.

The years 1775, 1776, 1777, 1778, and 1778. Kalaniopuu went to war at Kaupo on Maui, with his Alii, his war Officers, and his soldiers. Kalaniopuu first went to war at Kaupo, and he tortured the makaainana of Kaupo by clubbing their foreheads with his war club [newa]. This battle was called Kalaehohoa [“Clubbing-of-the-Forehead”] Continue reading

More on the parentage of Kalaniopuu from S. M. Kamakau, 1867.



Kumalae dwelt with Kunuunuipuawalu, and born was Makua; Makua dwelt with Kapohelena, child of Keawenuiaumi, and born was I; I dwelt with Kuawalu, born was Ahu; Ahu dwelt with Piilaniwahine, and born was Lonomaaikanaka; Lonomaaikanaka dwelt with Keawe, born was Kalaninuiamamao, Kalaninuiiamamao dwelt with Kamakaimoku, born was Kalaniopuu; Kalaniopuu dwelt with Kalola Pupuka o Honokawailani, born was Kalanikauikeaouli Kiwalao; Kiwalao dwelt with Kekuiapoiwa, born was Keopuolani; Keopuolani dwelt with Kamehameha, born was Kauikeaouli; Kauikeaouli dwelt with Kapakuhaili, born was Keaweaweulaokalani.

(Kuokoa, 11/16/1867, p. 1)


Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke VI, Helu 46, Aoao 1. Novemaba 16, 1867.

The parentage of Kalaniopuu, 1867.


It is said that Kalaniopuu was the child of Peleioholani, the King of Oahu, and that he was called Kalaniopuu, that being Kaleiopuu, the lei of Kualii, that is the tooth of the whale and whale ivory made smooth in the shape of a chicken spur [opuu], and that is what was the royal adornment of the alii of Oahu—this was not the case with Hawaii Island [who wore tongue-shaped lei niho palaoa]. Continue reading

The meeting of Kalaniopuu and Cook, 1867.


The Era of Kalaniopuu, 1779. Pertaining to the Death of Captain Cook, that is Lono.

On the 24th of January, Kalaniopuu and his warriors returned from Maui and landed at Awili in Kaawaloa, and stayed at Hanamua at Keaweaheulu’s place, but they were also on Maui at war with Kahekili.

Kalaniopuu saw the many women were at the ocean on the ship to prostitute themselves [hookamakama], so Kalaniopuu forbade women from going down to the ship. And the haole saw that the women were not coming to the ship, so the haole went into the uplands of Napoopoo and at Kahauloa, and on this side of Kaawaloa to solicit prostitution, and the women received a great amount of foreign rubbish [opala]. Continue reading

Kamakau’s story of Lonoikamakahiki, 1871.


Pertaining to Lonoikamakahiki: Lonoikamakahiki was the child of Keawenuiaumi, the alii of Kau and Puna, and reigned over the entirety of those sections of Hawaii. He married a chiefess, Kaikilanikohepanio, from amongst the granchildren of Laeanuikaumanamana, and from the two of them were born the sons, Keawehanauikawalu and Kaihikapumahana, and the two of them became ancestors of chiefs and commoners. When Lono ruled, he was a chief who did not listen to nor heed the advice of his kahuna and counselors [kakaolelo], so some of his counselors left to find a good master [haku]. And that is why Lanahuimihaku folks left, to find a master who would follow and listen to their advice; they searched for a haku for themselves, and they lived went to live with Kailikapuakuihewa on Oahu, believing that he was a chief who was upright and who listened to everything the kahuna and kakaolelo instructed….

[S. M. Kamakau’s telling of the story of Lonoikamakahiki ran from 1/12/1871 to 2/2/1871 in the newspaper Au Okoa. It can be found in Ruling Chiefs, pp. 47–63.]

(Au Okoa, 1/12/1871, p. 1)


Ke Au Okoa, Buke VI, Helu 39, Aoao 1. Ianuari 12, 1871.