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Nanea Armstrong-Wassel 

#Kamani. #Maunaʻala. #QueenEmma. 🌳🌴❤A kamani tree planted at Maunaʻala, the Royal Mausoleum of Hawaiʻi, by Queen Emma in honor of her husband, King Kamehameha IV, Alexander Liholiho. He passed in 1863.

The kamani tree and palm when they were still keiki can be seen in the bottom left image.

#Laulima. [Excerpt from the essay: "SOCIAL CONDITIONS: LAULIMA". By: Mrs. Mary Kawena Pukui. Bishop Museum Archives, HEN v.1, pp.1059-1061.] "The word laulima means literally, "four hundred hands", and is used to denote mutual help and unity in work. We still use this word. It was the custom in the country to help with any large piece of work that one had to do. The owner of the project saw to it that there was plenty to eat for the relatives and friends that came to help. If a man was preparing to build a house, he gathered his materials together and enough food for all. Any relative who had a surplus of taro or sweet potatoes helped in getting the provisions.
When a woman had finished overcasting her quilt and was ready to put them on the quilting frame her friends and relatives came to help and in two or three days it was finished. If there were too many to quilt at the same time, they helped in the cooking or in anything there was to be done. The food, as I remember it, was always very plain, such as poi and dried fish or poi and stew. There was no need to ask anyone to come and help. As soon as the news reached one house that so-and-so was getting ready to quilt, a small boy or girl was sent around to tell the others. The owner of the quilt knew what to expect and quietly set about to accumulate enough food.
There were great community food patches cultivated together on the upland or on the plains. There was always a head man to oversee the work and to offer the prayers to the gods for the success of the crops. The food grown was always equally divided.

The following is an excerpt from a transcript of a tape recording entitled, “The Hale Nauwā (Nauā),” recorded by Mrs. Mary Kawena Pukui on May 19, 1964 at her Birch Street home in Honolulu. (Tape H-129A, HAW 18 (missing) Bishop Museum Archives.) Part 1 of 2. [All translations of nūpepa Hawaiʻi were done by Mrs. Mary Kawena Pukui] “The Hale Nauwā was a genealogical clearing house, but instead of my describing it, I will let my seniors do it. Published in Naʻi Aupuni on August 27, 1906: ‘Haho was the first person to establish the assembly of chiefs, as assembly later called the Hale Nauā, in the time of Kakuhihewa, ruler of Oahu.

The purpose of Haho’s establishing it was to gather the native born chiefs together and keep in order the genealogy of each one. The assembly gave the approval for one to say that he was a native born chief of the land……He greatly cherished the sacredness of the rank of a true chief or chiefess, and this led to his establishing this assembly. Meetings of the chief were held in a house built by the ruler. Their work was to delve into the genealogies of rulers and district chiefs.
Should anyone wish to establish his relationship to the ruler then living, he went to the Hale Nauā where the assembly gathered…..’ Let us now turn to the historian, David Malo, who was born in Keauhou, Kona, Hawaiʻi, sometime in the late 1700’s—probably 1793. His father served as a warrior under Kamehameha I, and he, David Malo, under Kuakini. His (Malo) wife, ʻAʻalaloa, was said to be the daughter of Kahekili, ruler of Maui, but whose mother was not mentioned. He was about 27 years old when the Puritan missionaries came to Hawaii nei.

In December of 1899, Bubonic plague was discovered in Chinatown. On December 31, officials began a series of fires intended to destroy areas where it was believed the plague was being transmitted.
On January 20, one of those fires was started near Beretania Street and Nu'uanu Avenue, the wind shifted and fire crews could not control the blaze. A total of 38 acres was destroyed. Kaumakapili Church was one of the buildings destroyed that day.
In the zoomed in image below, we can see the area of downtown that the fire consumed.
At this time, Honolulu County had nearly 59,000 documented residents recorded in the 1900 census.

Aloha mai kākou,
Please join us for Kaʻiwakīloumoku’s Cultural Event Series presentation, Nā Mele Lei – A Kanikapila Sing-Along, happening tomorrow evening, Monday, May 15th, 2017 from 7:00 – 8:30pm.

This presentation will be held at Kaʻiwakīloumoku Hawaiian Cultural Center in Ululani Hale on Kapālama campus. We’ll share the background of favorite Hawaiian and Hapa Haole songs with lyrics and chords projected on screen. Bring your ʻohana, pila (instrument), and your voices for an enjoyable evening of music-making – and of course, don’t forget to wear a lei!
For more information contact Kaʻiwakīloumoku Manager, Jamie Fong at or 842-8655.

#Mokuola. #Hilo. #Hawaiʻi.

Long ago, a lava flow from Mauna Loa, flowed through Waiākea and reached the sea and formed a reef ledge in Hilo Bay. From this Mauna Loa flow the islet, Mokuola [Lit., Healing island.], was formed.

Some traditions identify the islet getting its name from, Mokuola, the son of ʻUlu, a progenitor of Hawaiians and a legendary man who lived in Waiākea, Hilo, Hawaiʻi. Traditions recount that, ʻUlu died of starvation during a time of famine and his body was buried near a running spring. The next morning a breadfruit tree laden with fruit was found there and the famine ceased.

Today this area is familiarly known as Coconut Island and is a foot-bridge’s walk offshore from Queen Liliʻuokalani Park & Garden. Mokuola was once used as a sacred island for healing and life-giving. A heiau once stood on the shores of Hilo Bay across Mokuola and the entire area was known as sacred grounds to the kahuna of this heiau. Mokuola was also a puʻuhonua where one could flee and receive protection from one's enemies or punishment.

Mokuola was also traditionally known as a scared area to deposit ones piko, umbilical cord. Mrs. Mary Kawena Pukui writes, “Great care was given the umbilical cord for if a rat found and ate it, the baby would have the thievish nature of a rat. A thief was called piko‑pau‑`iole or navel‑eaten‑by‑rat. If eaten by other animals it did not matter for it was sometimes fed to a pig, one not destined for the imu. This was not generally practiced.

In every district and on every island there were places especially reserved for the piko such as Ka‑papa‑o-Hina on Mokuola (Coconut Island, Hilo) and Wailoa in Wailoa stream.

#Holokū. #Kaʻahumanu. [From: “Little Tales All About Hawaii” By Clarice B. Taylor. Honolulu Star Bulletin. March 3, 1950.] “KAAHUMANU STARTED HOLOKU FASHION”
When the Hawaiian woman of today dresses for formal affairs, she dons a dignified holokū made of heavy black satin, often severely plain without trimming.
The black satin holokū with a feather lei about the neck and on the head is the regalia for the ladies of the Kaahumanu Society.
The fashion started with Kaahumanu herself, but against her wishes.
The story is told by Laura Fish Judd in “Honolulu, sketches of Life in the Hawaiian Islands.”
The year was 1829. The imperious Kaahumanu, queen regent, had ordered Governor Boki to assist the missionaries in the construction of the great grass house church.
The dedication of the grass church was to be a big event in November 1829 with the nobility and rulers in attendance.
Mrs. Judd, Mrs. Bingham and Miss Ward, missionary ladies who spent a considerable portion of their time sewing for the chiefs and chiefesses, were visiting Kaahumanu at her home in upper Manoa valley.
While there, Kaahumanu asked the ladies what they intended to wear at the dedication service. “It is my wish,” she said, “that we all dress alike; I have bought some material that pleases me and only waits your approval.” Kaahumanu’s attendant brought out a bolt of heavy satin striped in pink, white, and blue.
The missionary ladies had a bad time explaining to Kaahumanu that they could not wear such elegant material in church. “Foreigners will be present who will perhaps make ill-natured remarks.” “Foreigners!”, the queen snapped in contempt, “do you mean those in town who tear off calico?” (shop salesmen). Kaahumanu sulked for a time.
As the missionary ladies rose to leave, Kaahumanu asked what sort of dress they were going to wear. They said, black silk.
The next morning the missionary ladies received two big bolts of shiney black satin from Kaahumanu. With it they made Kaahumanu a black satin holoku which is the precedent for the formal black holokus of today.” Images: Hawaii State Archives.

#ʻIkeKumu. #ʻIkeLoa. #ʻIkeKūhohonu. #KuanaʻIkeHawaiʻi. #IndigenousWisdom. #BishopMuseumArchives.
Excerpt from an interview with: Mary Kawena Pukui, Muriel Hanchett, and Helene Fagan. 1960. Bishop Museum Audio Collection, Bishop Museum Archives, HAW 87.2.2. ✨✨✨ M.K.P.: “I cannot work with a person who just declares, “oh, that’s superstitious”. I want to know if it’s so or not, and sometimes a thing regarded as superstitious is based on fact. I don’t like that word at all. And whether a Hawaiian tells this version or the next version, I never contradict or say it isn’t so, because sometimes you can take this one’s version and the other one’s version and put them together then you get a clearer light of what they mean. Even the stories of the gods, they say our stories of the gods are pupule (crazy), no they are not. They’re telling their story, it is up to us to think.
We have a poem that perhaps sounds a little odd, it’s about Haumea. Haumea went away and became rejuvenated and came back and took her son for her husband. Then she went away rejuvenated, came back and took her grandson for a husband. She went away and came back and took her great-grandson for her husband. And if we think of Haumea as a woman, then it sounds very, very peculiar, but when we think of what Haumea symbolizes, she symbolizes the earth, she is Mother Earth. And we know a tree grows, and maybe a seed dropped to the ground, the fruit drops into the ground, the seed again returns to the womb of Mother Earth. It grows and it grows on, Mother Earth is never old. So, if we see it that way, then that poem makes plenty of sense and that is exactly what it was meant to be.
And Hiʻiaka, who is the healer, her symbol was the fern. And that was her skirt, it was the fern. She was the healer of the family. We know that when Pele, in her rage, scars the earth, the first green thing that begins to heal the scars, are the ferns. So there is sense. The (Hawaiians) observe nature, they study nature and they make sense of it. So when we go, we don’t contradict anybody, we use our ears.”

Happy Boys' Day! 🎏🎏🎏

Keahualaka, Hālau Hula, Kē‘ē, Hāʻena, Kaua‘i.✨. Traditional hula was considered a sacred ritual in early Hawai‘i. Besides the heiau of Ka ulu a Lono for the hula on Kauaʻi, there was another one called Ke ahu a Laka beyond Hāʻena [also: Ka-unu-a-Laka (Laka’s shrine)]. This heiau was famed all over Kauaʻi.
In schools such as Kē‘ē, students studied under the direction of their teacher and the hula goddess, Laka, who was worshipped at this cliff-side altar. When a hula school had completed its course, it was customary to take the leis, skirts, anklets, awa cups and the greenery that was used in the construction of the altar to deposit at this heiau. The cups were broken before leaving it. The graduation feast was held and the pupils danced in honor of Laka. The remains of the feast were left there. An ʻūniki or graduation at this heiau always drew a large crowd of people who enjoyed hearing the meles and seeing the new dancers and musicians who had just completed their course of training. The heiau of Ka ulu o Lono was also used as a depository for the greenery, the pāʻūs, leis, anklets, awa cups, awa dregs and the bones of food that were eaten in the hālau.

If you use the Bishop Museum Archives Mele Collection, please help them know how to better serve your needs by taking their short survey. Mahalo nui! (
Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum (Bishop Museum) was established in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop as a memorial to his wife, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, founder of the Kamehameha Schools. Mr. Bishop’s intent for founding the Museum was for it to be a cultural repository for the Hawaiian students attending the Kamehameha School for Boys. Mr. Bishop realized that Western encroachment and acculturation had quickly diminished the younger generations’ appreciation and knowledge of Hawaiian traditions and practices. The Museum’s mission since founding has been to study, preserve and tell the stories of the cultures and natural history of Hawai‘i and the Pacific with emphasis placed upon material relating to Hawai‘i.
In a letter addressed to Bishop Museum Trustee C.M. Hyde dated June 14, 1898, Charles Reed Bishop, wrote: “A number of years ago I attended a feast given by Liliuokalani, then Princess, at which two old natives, male and female, recited with excellent effect some old meles, one of which was said to have belonged to A Paki [Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop’s father]. It occurred to me that those chants and others could and should be preserved by aid of phonograph. It seems to me worthwhile for the Museum to own a good phonograph and to secure a considerable number of native meles (ancient and modern) songs, speeches, etc. for preservation. What do you say to it?” [Letter to Charles M. Hyde from C.R. Reed Bishop, San Francisco, June14, 1898. Bishop Museum Archives, MS SC Pauahi; C.R.B. Letters, Box 5.]

Why do we celebrate May Day as Lei Day on May 1st in Hawaiʻi? 🌺🌸🌼🌺🌸🌼
In 1923, the Hawaiʻi Territorial Legislature passed Joint Resolution No. 1 acknowledging floral emblems. The Outdoor Circle initiated this resolution, which sought to name the hibiscus (aloalo) as the flower emblem of the Territory. Their successful reasoning relied on the widely-accepted knowledge of the connection between designated colors, lei, and respective islands.
May Day celebrations as we know it with the royal courts dressed in their island’s color, wearing their island lei, finds its origin from the first Lei contest held on May 1, 1928 and referred to as Lei Day.
Mr. Don Blanding, originally from Oklahoma, came to Hawaiʻi in 1915 after seeing a play in Kansas City called “The Bird of Paradise” that depicted a romantic (and completely fictional) Hawaiʻi. His first local success came in writing newspaper ads for Aji-No-Moto. From there, he grew into being a successful writer, distinctive artist, and the author of many books.
In 1927, Mr. Blanding and a fellow Honolulu Star-Bulletin newspaper writer named Grace Tower Warren came up with the idea of honoring the tradition of the lei, which they thought to be in decline. The first Lei Day was held on May 1, 1928 and was a resounding success. It took place in the lobby of Bank of Hawaiʻi and the official judges that day were: Princess David Kawananakoa (Abigail Wahiikaahuula Campbell), Mrs. Elizabeth Lahilahi Webb (who was the last Lady-in-Waiting for Queen Liliʻuokalani), and Mrs. Edgar Henriques (Aliʻi Lucy Kalanikiʻekiʻe Davis). The festival included a lei competition in which lei were judged based on the appropriate use of flowers and colors of islands as designated in 1923 by Hawaiʻi’s Territorial Legislature’s Joint Resolution 1.
Ever since this inaugural lei competition in 1928, we continue to celebrate May Day in Hawaiʻi as being synonymous with Lei Day. It is our unique and special way to celebrate our shared traditions, as memorialized in song:
May Day is Lei Day in Hawaiʻi
Garlands of flowers everywhere
May Day is Lei Day in Hawaiʻi
May Day is happy day out here

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