Opening of Punahou School, 1842.


On the 11th of this July, this school began; there were 5 boarders and 12 day schoolers. Its work is currently progressing well.

On the 12th of July, Emerson folks left for Lahainaluna to live.

(Nonanona, 7/19/1842, p. 16)


Ka Nonanona, Buke 2, Pepa 4, Aoao 16. Iulai 19, 1842.


Introduction to the reminiscences of Hawaiian missionary James Kekela, 1901.


Rev. J. Kekelaokalani and Naomi

On the 22nd of May, 1821, at Mokuleia, Waialua Oahu, born of Awilinui and Kauwanui, his wife, was a big well filled-out baby with the blessings of the Heavens, and child was called by the name Kekelaokalani. This was the thirteenth of their children. Twelve were born prior, and with the [unclear phrase] of that fine offspring.

It was here that that child was raised until he was capable of understanding things for himself.

In the year 1832, Emerson, Sr. [Emekona Makua] arrived in Waialua, and in the following 1833 [unclear] he built a schoolhouse with his wife for the young men and women to enlighten them with knowledge. From among the first women to be taught there at that school was Kahaweli, the younger sister of the mother of that child. And following her, his mother as well attended the school until she was educated; and she began teaching the children the alphabet [Pi-a-pa], the beginnings of knowledge. It was this mother who guided him at that time in the knowledge about God and Sunday School, and it was thus that the sacred work of God was instilled a top the fontanel of the head [piko o ke poo] of this child, which is silver now, as in the picture above.

When that child was thirteen years old, being that he had received the beginnings of the light of true knowledge, he began to travel the width of the plain of Mokuleia for Waialua, with patience and without exhaustion, to receive the good teachings of the elder Emersons. In this year, those fine elders got great help in the form of Mr. Rose (Loke), a haole teacher. After one year of attending this school, Emerson went to Lahaina, and from there he told Kekelaokalani to come to Lahainaluna.

In August 1838, he entered Lahainaluna, and there he patiently remained for five years and he graduated in the year 1843. During those years at Lahainaluna, he learned everything about the true knowledge, as well as actual knowledge; and he remained, following the rules of the school, and as a result of his following the rules, he gained the full trust and total faith of the teachers.

After his days of learning were over, and he received his Diploma [Palapala Hoomaikai], Emerson, Sr. encouraged him to join the school for the clergy [Kula Kahunapule] that was started that very year. There were six students at the time, and Emerson wanted greatly for him to join. And because of the guidance of the righteous Spirit, he agreed, and so began his actual performing of the work of God. He spent four years at this work, and graduated with a Diploma from the teachers, in the year 1847.

When he received his Diploma, he married Miss Naomi, one of the educated young women of the time, and was living under the instruction of the teachers of the Girls’ School of Wailuku, Maui. After they were wed, he was sent to teach the Word of the Lord in the District of Kahuku, Oahu, and there he began his work with patience, with the word of life.

And he thus patiently continued as but a preacher; and when his readiness and progress was seen, he was ordained at his own parish.

From then until 1852, he strove to convert the Koolau Cliffs, and the fruits of his patience were many. When the head Missionaries saw his progress of his work, he was sent by the first Evangelical Convention held here on Oahu in the year 1852 as a Representative to travel to the places suitable to build parishes of the Lord in the Micronesian Islands.

He went to the islands of the South Pacific four times:

1. 1852—Went and returned that same year.

2. 1853—Went and returned in 1858.

3. 1859—Went again and returned in 1879.

4. 1880—Returned to his parish until this past year 1899, and came back, in feeble health.

Here is the entire story of his first excursion, copied from his journal:

[A long account follows. Perhaps i will post it here one of these days…]

¹Kekela was based in the Marquesas Islands, and not the Micronesian Islands.

(Kuokoa, 1/18/1901, p. 5)


Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, Buke XXXIX, Helu 3, Aoao 5. Ianuari 18, 1901.