Welina mai nei, ia Kakou







Queen Lydia Liliuokalani 



The Mythical Menehune of Kaua'i

The Royal Family of Hawaii







Pele, the temperamental fire goddess, stands at the centre of Hawaiian mythology. She was born as a flame from the union of the Earth-mother, Haumea, and the Sky-father, Wakea. The most beautiful of the goddesses, Pele is often associated with the volcanic origin of the Hawaiian islands

The Hawaiian chain of islands comprises over a hundred islands, reefs and shoals stretching 1,523 miles southeast to northwest. The Hawaiian chain is the most isolated group in the world and yet also one of the most accessible to international travellers. A tropical paradise of turquoise bays, white sandy beaches, waving palm trees, lush tropical vegetation and balmy sunshine all year round, this beautiful archipelago of volcanic peaks has 21 of the world's 22 climatic zones.

Hawaii is full of contrasts and extremes - winter snow lies at the top of Mauna Kea Mountain, it has the world's largest mountain mass, and rainfall that varies hundreds of inches within the space of a few miles.

There are 132 islands, but tourism is restricted to six of the eight most southerly islands, seven of which are inhabited. They are O'ahu, (The Gathering Place) with the city of Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii; Maui (The Valley Isle), second with the world's largest dormant volcano; Kaua'i (The Garden Isle) with magnificent scenery and vegetation; Hawaii (The Big Island) where Captain Cook is buried and the ancestral home of Hawaiian royalty; Moloka'i (The Friendly Isle); Lana'i (The Secluded Island) and Ni'ihau (The Distant Isle).

There are 1.2 million people of mixed races living in the Hawaiian archipelago including Hawaiian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Caucasian, Filipino and Samoan. Hawaii's religions are as diverse as its cultural heritage. The official language are Hawaiian and English, but most resorts have multi-lingual staff.


The first inhabitants were Polynesians who arrived between 750 and 1,000 AD with plants and animals. Captain James Cook was the first European. He landed in 1778 to find a structured society with chiefs ruling each island.
In 1920, Hawaii became a major tourist destination with the first non-stop flight from the US mainland. In 1959 it became an American state and Honolulu is now the eleventh largest city in the USA.


Home to more than 10,000 plants and animal species found nowhere else on earth, the islands are famous for palms, cactus, coconut palms, kamani, ohia, kukui, and hau trees, glorious tropical flowers (5,000 types of hibiscus) along with various-coloured fruits, coffee and macadamia nuts.


On O'hau island, see Pearl Harbour, take a trip on the Historic Waikiki Trolley, and of course, visit famous Waikiki Beach.

On Hawaii's Big Island, there's Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Rainbow Falls, and Parker Ranch on 225,000 acres which is the third largest working cattle ranch in the US. There is also a space centre named after Hawaii's first astronaut, Ellison's S. Onizuka.

Kaua'i has Waimea Canyon and magnificent Tropical Botanical Gardens. Ride a mule down Molokai's cliff trail to Kalaupapa. Lana'i island's best dive spot, Cathedrals, has dramatic coral formations creating pinnacles and caverns rising from the seventy-foot depth to the surface.


There are literally hundreds of hotels and condos in every category from luxury to budget style. Camping is available in National, State Parks, City and County Parks.


Domestic airlines, Hawaiian, Aloha, and Island Air help to maximise sightseeing time. On the ground there are limousines, taxis, rental cars/jeeps, sight-seeing coaches and good public bus services. In addition, Molokai offers mule rides, Hawaii and Kaua'i have bus services, and there is a ferry from Lanai to Maui and Molokai to Maui.


Experience a traditional Hawaiian feast, Hawaii boasts worldwide cuisine from elegant to casual, fast foods of every kind, and do-it-yourself as most condominiums have cooking facilities.

A full range of activities for all ages includes snorkelling, fishing, tennis, golf, windsurfing, sailing and many other water based activities including magnificent surfing. Hawaii also offers sightseeing tours, bushwalks and trail rides, as well as a range of indoor activities.



Artisans make copies of their ancient instruments made from gourds, stones, seeds, feathers, shells, lumber and bamboo.

Also, for sale are woven leaf hats, leather work in colourful hatbands, capes and bags, hand woven cloth kapa leaves made into sandals, bags and wall ornaments, and beautiful Hawaiian applique quilts, hand made and machine made in island designs.


The Hawaiian chain of islands is the most isolated island group in the world and yet also one of the most accessible to international travellers.

All of the large islands, Kaua'i, O'ahu, Maui, Moloka'i, Lana'i and the Big Island, cater to both scuba and skin divers with an enormous variety of operators from simple snorkel tours to the live-aboard charter boats.

The waters of Hawaii are famous for their clarity, underwater lava tubes and formations, colourful reef fish and the majestic humpback whales. While all of the islands have diving facilities, the main diving drawcards are in Maui and the Kona coast.

The Molokini Marine Conservation District encompasses the extinct Molokini volcanic cone that is a 'must visit' site for both scuba and snorkel divers. Every day various dive boats travel the short distance to the crescent shaped remains of the cone to swim with myriad reef fish, including the beautiful yellow butterfly fish for which Maui is famous, in warm clear waters. Scuba divers can also explore the sloping crater floor, or for the more adventurous, the back side of the cone has sheer walls that plummet 100 metres to the sea bed. Here, harmless white tip reef sharks are more common than at any other site. Sponges, black coral trees, cup corals and deep ledges provide home to many species of fish, all in clear oceanic waters with visibility usually exceeding 30 metres. Due to its oceanic aspect huge whale sharks, manta rays and pelagic fish are often seen here.

South of Kihei on the main island of Maui is Makena with various dive areas allowing novice snorkellers or experienced divers to have face to face encounters with endangered green and loggerhead turtles. Scuba divers can also find cryptic angler fish mimicking a sponge or lump of coral as they wait for inexperienced prey to pass by.

On the Kona coast of the 'Big Island' is a site that is always popular with both snorkel and scuba divers. Each night bright lights are lowered into the sea just off shore over the shallow sea bed. Plankton swarm into the lights which in turn attract manta rays that have come to exploit this artificial concentration of food. These huge harmless rays perform a ballet of loops, rolls, swoops and formations around the amazed divers that would humble any choreographer.

During he months of January to May the lilting songs of singing humpback whales can be heard around all the islands, especially Maui and the Big Island. Since females use the shallows to give birth to their calves it is possible to see these awesome animals underwater. Even if a whale is not seen, their haunting song, which gave credence in earlier years to the legends of mermaids and sirens, can be guaranteed.

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The beautiful isle of Maui came about as the result of the fiery explosion of two volcanoes. To one side of Maui is 5,788 foot Pu'u Kukui and on the other Haleakala, a 10,023 foot dormant volcano with a Manhattan size crater that houses a vast desert of unusual flora including the rare Silversword. Add to this 125 miles of dazzling coastline, both dramatic and diverse for surfing, snorkelling and canoeing, plus waterfalls plunging a thousand feet, rainforest bursting with colour and exotic vegetation and a start lunar landscape, so barren that the astronauts practised their moon landing here and you have the extraordinary island of Maui.

The second largest of the Hawaiian islands, Maui was settled by Polynesians and had its own ruling family. King Kamehameha's warriors overthrew the kingdom of Maui to unite it with the other Hawaiian islands. He made Lahaina, in Maui his capital in 1802.

Today Maui has evolved into a peaceful agricultural island of charm and rustic beauty, particularly Lahaina Town which has been restored to its previous colonial splendour. The non-profit Lahaina Restoration Foundation which began over 36 years ago has preserved and restored a rich collection of sites in Lahaina. Visit the Master's Reading Room built in 1834 for seamen looking for a room to rest away from the heat and dust of the market.

The Maui Historical Society Museum in Wailuku is a delightful old structure built between 1833 and 1850 and was the home of missionary Edward Bailey and his family. Today, it contains Hawaiian artefacts as well as furniture and household items from the missionary days.

Baldwin House, built in 1838 is the oldest standing building in Lahaina and is made of thick walls of coral, stone and hand hewn timbers. Stone is very important to the ways of the Hawaiians and healing stones such as the giant Hauola Stone were in areas designated as holding powerful forces of nature.  The Banyan Tree came to Lahaina from India when only eight feet tall. William O. Smith, the Maui sheriff, planted it in 1873 to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of Lahaina's first Christian mission. Today the Banyon has twelve major trunks varying girths and reaches upwards to a height of 50 feet stretching outwards over a 200 foot area shading two-thirds of an acre of the almost 2 acres of land in the courthouse square.

The Carthaginian, a replica of a 19th century brig which now houses a whaling exhibit, graces the harbour, which is also the departure point for a multitude of cruises and in season whale watching tours. Lahaina Jodo Mission Cultural Park sits on a point of land known as Puunoa. The area was once a small village fronting the Royal grove of coconut trees. It is now the best known landmark in the area and one of the busiest for tourists. The largest Buddha outside of Japan sits majestically in the small park commemorating the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants in 1868.

The famous sugar cane train modelled after the turn of a century railroad train that transported sugar to Lahaina mills is a journey not to be missed. The steam driven locomotive makes an hour long run between Lahaina and Ka'anapali. While on Maui, you can explore the Maui Tropical Plantation which consists of 112 acres of crops, from cane to coffee, mango to macadamia, pineapple to papaya. Then catch the Tropical Train on a 40 minute circuit to see fruit cutting demonstrations, visit the market place and learn how to start your own tropical garden in the nursery full of colourful orchids and other exotic blooms.



With approximately 50% of its population having native Hawaiian ancestry this island is the most traditional of the islands that are accessible to tourists. Untouched by high rise developments there are no traffic lights, shopping complexes or fast food chains.  However, what Molokai does have to offer is 260 miles of natural beauty framed by a necklace of ancient fish ponds along the southern shore. It has the world's highest sea cliffs rising an awesome 3,000 feet above the coastline, Hawaii's longest waterfall and also its largest white sand beach three miles long. Lacking modern entertainment venue, Molokai boasts numerous cultural and family events and the locals guard their laid-back lifestyle with pride.

At the Sugar Museum you will see the production of sugar once one of Hawaii's biggest cash crops, from beginning to end, plus historical exhibits, rare artefacts, photo murals and scale models of working sugar factory machinery. For those who like outdoor activities, you can take a ride on horseback, or hike through the luna landscapes on Haleakala. Early risers can enjoy the sunrise from the summits of Haleakala and then coast down on a mountain bike.

Perhaps the ultimate experience is a drive along the 50 mile road to Hana whose 600 curves and 52 bridges wind past dozens of tumbling waterfalls, lava cliffs, spectacular ocean views, lush tropical foliage and trees laden with bananas. On the way back, stop at Oheo Gulch, popularly known as the "Oheo Pools".
In the heart of the island is Kaunakakai, a one street town lined with small family-run businesses which have changed little since the 1920s and resembles the set of an old Western movie. Earlier this century, pineapples were shipped in their millions to Honolulu canneries from here.

Probably Molokai's best known visitor attraction is Kalaupapa, site of the ministry of Belgium missionary Father Damien De Veuster. Now a National Park, this five square mile peninsula was once a place of exile for sufferers of leprosy. Separated from the rest of the island by huge cliffs, it is reached by mounting a mule for the three mile ride down the 1,600 foot cliff trail, or alternatively by one of the world's shortest flights (five minutes) departing from Molokai's main airport. It is also possible to hike the trail, but a permit is required.

Other offerings include sailing or kayaking around the coastline, deep sea fishing, playing golf, or if you are feeling active, hiking the Kamakou Preserve, a tropical rainforest - home to rare birds and plants, insects, and land snails.  Allow a full day for a round trip drive along the southern shore to Halawa Valley, where along the way you will see quaint Churches, beautiful beaches and the largest concentration of ancient fish ponds, some dating back to the 13th century.

Ancient Hawaiian history says that the hula was created by the goddess Laka on the mountain range near Maunaloa and today the major annual event on Molokai is the celebration of the birth of the hula. It is held on the third Saturday of May each year and features performances of ancient hula, traditional Hawaiian crafts and lectures and tours to significant historical sites.

Unspoiled and unhurried, Molokai is the perfect destination for families, those interested in cultural and eco-tourism, and those simply wanting to relax without feeling guilty.


Surround yourself with fun at the Aston at the Waikiki Banyon, located just two blocks from the Honolulu Zoo and one block from Waikiki's Beach, Shop and Restaurants. Also suites are airconditioned, have full kitchen, cable television, coffee maker and iron. Hotel services include an activities and travel desk, conference room, pool, sauna, tennis, barbecues and children's playground. This resort is a delightful holiday destination for any budget.

Just steps away from the buzz of the International Market Place, the Coral Reef Hotel had been a popular holiday resort since 1969. All rooms and suites offer air-conditioning, bath tub/shower, cable television, iron and refrigerator. Hotel facilities include an apparel shop, sundry store, activities desk, and travel desk. With the beach, bike rental, golf, and a health club nearby, the coral reef hotel combines comfort with a convenient location and great value.

A mere block from Waikiki Beach and the Honolulu Zoo, your complete comfort is the number one priority at Aston Waikiki Sunset. Almost all units feature energy efficient refrigerators with ice makers,. microwaves, rice cookers, irons, hair dryers and much more. As you would expect, air-conditioning, cable television and lane are standard. Here you can have a family barbecue, a game of shuffleboard, a hit of tennis or just lie around the pool and do as little as possible.

The Hawaiian Monarch Hotel is close to the night life and some of the world's best shopping. The newly decorated guest rooms feature refrigerators, cable television and in-room safes. The studios offer the convenience of kitchens or kitchenettes. A large pool is surrounded by an expansive sundeck. Enjoy the restaurant and visit the shopping level.

Perfectly positioned at the edge of Kapiolani Park, and just a block away from Waikiki Beach, Queen Kapiolani Hotel carries a Hawaiian Monarchy theme in its decor. All rooms are air-conditioned and have colour cable television and in-room movies, telephones, refrigerator, coffee maker and most have private lanais. A variety of speciality buffets are available at the Peacock Room. Banquets or meetings can be catered for in either the Akala Room or the Queen's Room. There is a large fresh water swimming pool and sundeck on the property. The beach, tennis, golf, the zoo, Diamond Head, Waikiki Aquarium, and the Kodak Hula Show are all within easy walking distance from the hotel.


Nestled among pine trees and lush valleys in the Central highlands of Lanai, is the Lodge At Koele. Artistic culture had been integrated into the decor of the 102 rooms and suites which include carved four poster beds, quilted pillows and the inspiring paintings of local artists. The swimming pool and fitness centre surrounded by stately pine trees and gardens are blazed with colour and are prime examples of delicate landscaping. The enchanting atmosphere of the lodge extends to the experience at Koele - a spectacular golf course designed by Greg Norman. The lodge at Koele is truly an experience of luxury, culture and beauty which once tried, is sure to tempt you back time and time again.

The Manele Bay Hotel is a magnificent expression of Hawaii's traditional kama'aina architecture combined with a Mediterranean flair. The lavishly appointed 250 guest rooms and suites - twelve of which have a full butler service - emphasise the hotel's dramatic location with views of either lush gardens or the untamed Lanai coast. Furnishings that reflect the cosmopolitan heritage of Hawaii and include original works of art make the decor of each room unique and exceptional. The Manele Bay Hotel, like the island of Lanai, embodies the spirit of Aloha - a spirit that reflects the roots of Hawaiian culture but unique in its own joyful expression.  Hanalei Bay Resort & Suites is located 30 miles from Lihur airport on the North Shore of Kauai in the beautiful Princeville Resort area. Rooms are air-conditioned, have telephone, colour cable television, in-room movies, refrigerator, coffee maker, and studio units feature a kitchenette. Suites have full kitchens and include daily complimentary breakfast.

There is access to a beautiful white sand swimming beach, as well as two fresh water swimming pools, sun decks, whirlpool spa, and eight units courts locate on property. Two world class golf course, hiking trail, kayaking and zodiac tours are available nearby.
The Bali Hai restaurant serves Pacific Rim cuisine and the Happy Talk Lounge offers regular entertainment for a meeting or conference.
Set on the sunny shores of Poipu on the southern tip of Kauai, the Hyatt Regency Kauai Resort and Spa can lay claim to some of the most captivating natural surroundings on Hawaii's Garden Isle, Kauai.

Blessed with stunning ivory beaches and aromatic blossoms, Kauai is an idyllic location indeed for a resort which accommodates business and pleasure alike. Surrounding the resort are the soothing sights and sounds of water in rippling waves, sparkling streams, rocketing geysers and cascading waterfalls providing an experience of pure bliss.

The resort features classic traditional architecture reminiscent of the 1920s and 30s. Extensive lush gardens, open=air courtyards and Hawaiian artwork are featured throughout, and there are more than 602 guest rooms and suites which have remote control colour television with cable reception, private servi-bar, in-room safe, white ceiling fans, and plantation-style furnishings. There are also Regency Club rooms which offer VIP service, concierge service and use of the exclusive Regency Club Lounge.

The sun-dappled beaches fronting the resort offer a wealth of outdoor activities including scuba diving, snorkelling, and windsurfing. Additional water activities can be enjoyed in the beautiful lagoon dotted with private islands, and in the two pools with waterfalls and a 150 foot water slide. Fitness enthusiasts can visit ANARA, the 25,000 square foot health and fitness spa with invigorating showers and a series of programs and treatments based on traditional native Hawaiian healing practices.

In addition to the multitude of water sports, there are four tennis courts with a pro-shop and tennis professional, mountain biking and horse back riding, and the famous Poipu Bay Resort Golf Course. This 210 acre 18 hole links-style course runs along the Hyatt Regency bordering the ocean and is the home of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf. It also includes a large 21,000 square foot clubhouse with superb facilities. The Hyatt Regency Kauai adds to these offerings with elegant facilities for memorable business or social entertaining in more than 65,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space including extensive outdoor areas for receptions and theme parties.

As for dining, the resort has five restaurants to choose from, offering breathtaking views, romantic settings marbled splendour and delicate cuisine to suit every mood. There are also lounges for relaxation and games. Whatever your taste, the Hyatt Regency Kauai will cater to it in style. There is a strong sense of Hawaiiana at the Kauai Marriott, a luxurious 355 room hotel with 232 one and two-bedroom vacation villas, set in 50,000 square feet of groomed lawns surrounded by tropical garden forest featuring indigenous flora, ponds and waterfalls.

At the resort a a number of amenities including a variety of retail shops, a comprehensive health club and a children's program called Kalapaki Kids for children from five to 12 years of age. Here children are invited to explore beautiful gardens and see indigenous animals, native plans and flowers, play beach and water sports, learn about Hawaiian culture and make new friends under the enthusiastic supervision of qualified, caring counsellors.

At the Kauai Marriott water sports of every description are available from kayaking to windsurfing outrigger canoeing, snorkelling, scuba diving, sailing and fishing. The 26,000 square foot swimming pool, which is the largest in Hawaii, is rimmed by waterfalls and complemented by five whirlpools.

Guests can indulge in exquisite food from one of the Kauai Marriott's four restaurants. There's casual poolside dining at the Kalapaki Grill and Kuku's, beachside lunches and dinners at Duke's Canoe Club and continental breakfast, evening cocktails and a sushi bar at the Aupaka Lounge overlooking the pool and ocean. You can also treat yourself to fabulous ocean views, great food and drink at the new Whaler's Brewpub, located on the bluffs overlooking Kauai Lagoons.

Kauai Lagoons is home to two championship golf courses. The 36 fairways and greens of the Kiele and Lagoons Golf Courses are set in picturesque rolling hills with cliff hanging greens that are ideal for pros and duffer golfers alike. There is tennis on one of eight award winning plexi-pave courts, and as the sun sets you can dance to the pulse of drums at the torch light ceremony.

Niihau Island

The island of Niihau, located eighteen miles southwest of Kaua'i, is deliberately cut off from the influences of the outside world. For over a century, access has been limited to those Hawaiian families who work on its privately owned cattle and sheep ranch. Niihau is twenty-three miles long, three to six miles wide, and relatively flat. Most of its seventy square miles are under five hundred feet and its highest point, Mt. Paniau, is only 1,281 feet above sea level. While Mt. Waialeale, on Kaua'i, is the wettest spot in the islands, tiny Niihau gets only about twelve inches of rain a year.

Because of its size, dry climate, and lack of fresh water, Niihau has always had a small population. Today the island shelters about 250 residents. Their modest wood-frame houses, devoid of fancy plumbing and electricity, are provided by Niihau Ranch in addition to salaries, basic foods, and medical care.

The residents of Niihau are a proud people, tied to the land, and family-oriented. Hawaiian is the daily spoken language on the island and children are taught through eighth grade in Hawaiian, as well as English, in the ranch school. Students who further their education are sent off-island and their tuition is paid by the ranch.

The island's pasture lands support two thousand head of cattle, three thousand wild turkeys, and twelve thousand sheep grown mostly for wool. Other exports include pond-raised mullet, honey, and charcoal made from keave trees. Niihau is also known for the tiny seashells that residents gather off the beaches and string into beautiful leis.


Because of its small size and population, Niihau has long maintained close economic and political ties with Kaua'i. Neither fell into the grasp of Kamehameha I when he began to unite all the islands under his rule in the late 1700s. It was not until 1810 that Niihau and Kaua'i reluctantly chose to join the kingdom.

In 1819, the year that Kamehameha I died, a young woman in Scotland, Eliza McHucheson, married a former Royal Navy officer, Francis Sinclair. For twenty years they operated a large farm in Scotland before selling it and sailing to New Zealand in 1841.





Hula is a dance form accompanied by chant or song. It was developed in the Hawaiian Islands by the Polynesians who originally settled there. The chant or song is called a mele. The hula dramatizes or comments on the mele.

There are many styles of hula. They are commonly divided into two broad categories: Ancient hula, as performed before Western encounters with Hawaiʻi, is called kahiko. It is accompanied by chant and traditional instruments. Hula as it evolved under Western influence, in the 19th and 20th centuries, is called ʻauana. It is accompanied by song and Western-influenced musical instruments such as the guitar, the ʻukulele , and the double bass.

Terminology for two main additional categories is beginning to enter the hula lexicon: "Monarchy" includes many hula which were composed and choreographed during the 19th century. During that time the influx of Western culture created significant changes in the formal Hawaiian arts, including hula. "Ai Kahiko", meaning "in the ancient style" are those hula written in the 20th and 21st centuries that follow the stylistic protocols of the ancient hula kahiko.

Hula is taught in schools called hālau. The teacher of hula is the kumu hula, where kumu means source of knowledge. Hula dancing is a complex art form, and there are many hand motions used to signify aspects of nature, such as the basic Hula and Coconut Tree motions, or the basic leg steps, such as the Kaholo, Ka'o, and Ami.




Hawaiian is an Austronesian language spoken by about 8,000 people on the Hawaiian islands. Hawaiian first appeared in writing in the early 19th century in a version of the Latin alphabet developed by missionaries, who started to visit the Hawaiian islands from 1820 onwards. Literacy among the Hawaiian people was widespread during the 19th century when Hawai'i was an independent kingdom. Dozens of Hawaiian language newspapers were published, together with Hawaiian translations of religious works and novels and Hawaiian transcriptions of traditional stories.

After Hawaii was annexed by the USA in 1899, the Hawaiian language was banned from schools and went into rapid decline. By the 1980s, there was only about 2,000 Hawaiian speakers, most of whom were elderly.

In 1978 Hawaiian was made an official language of Hawaii, along with English, and since then there has been a revival of interest in the language. There are now several schools where most subjects are taught through the medium of Hawaiian and Hawaiian classes are popular at all levels of education.

Vowels can be long or short. Long vowels are usually written with a macron (ā, ē, ī, ō, ū), but if no macron is available, a circumflex (â, ê, î, ô, û) can be used instead.
The letter combination kiu is pronounced [ƫiu]

The letter W is pronounced [w] or [v] after a, [v] after i or e and [w] after o or u.


ahi fire
'ahi   tuna fish
'ai yes
ai   eat
akamai smart, intelligent, knowledgeable
'alana   church
'alani orange
alanui   road, street
ali'i the old royalty of Hawaii
aloha   hello, love, goodbye
aloha'ole without love
'anakala   uncle
'anake aunt, aunty
aole   no
auwe alas, woe
'eha   pain
'elima five
'elua   two
halakahiki   pineapple
halau school
hale   house
haole Caucasian, foreigner
hapa   half, part
hauoli happiness
he'i   papaya
heiau temple
hoaloha   friend
holoholo ride around/walk around for fun
honi   to kiss
hoku star
honu   turtle
honua land, earth
hui   union, corporation, club
huhu angry
hukilau   fishing festival, community fishing
hula Hawaiian dance, to dance
ia he, she, it
i'amaka   raw fish
'i'i tiny
iki   a little bit
imu underground oven used to cook luau pig
inu   to drink
ipo sweetheart
iwi   bone
ka'alawema'i   ambulance
kai sea, ocean
kahuna   priest
kala money
kalua   to bake underground
kamaaina old-timer, local
kane   man
kapa tapa, bark cloth
kapu   keep out
kaukau food
keiki   child
kokua help
la   Sun, day, light
lanai porch
lani   sky, heaven
lei necklace of flowers
lua   bathroom
luau feast
mahalo   thank you
ma'ika'i good, fine
malihini   newcomer, stranger
mele song
muumuu   Hawaiian long, loose dress
nalu   wave, to surf
nanea relaxing, fascinating
nani   lovely
niu coconut
nui   big (mahalo nui = big thanks)
ohana   family
ola life, health
ono   delicious, sweet taste
opu belly, stomach
pakalaki   unlucky
pali cliff
paniolo   Hawaiian cowboy
pau finished
pilialoha   close friendship
pilikia trouble
poi   pounded taro root
puka hole
punee   couch
pupu hors d'oeuvre
pupule   crazy
ua   rain
waha   mouth, speech
wahine woman, girl, female
wai   fresh water
wikiwiki quickly
Hele mai Come here
Komo mai e noho iho   Come in and sit down
No ke aloha For love
Aloha ahiahi   Good evening
Aloha kakahiaka Good morning
Aloha nui oe   Greatest love to you
Hauoli la hanau Happy Birthday
Hauoli Makahiki Hou   Happy New Year
Pehea oe? How are you?
Ma'i ka'i   I am fine.
Ua kaumaha au I am sorry.
Aloha wauia oe   I love you.
Mele Kalikimaka Merry Christmas
Owai kau inoa?   What is your name?




Kamehameha, the great warrior, who invaded Maui in 1790 and finally, 20 years later, subdued all the Hawaiian islands, occupies a special place in the history of Hawai'i. Conqueror, king, statesman and lawgiver, Kamehameha (circa 1758-1819) has been called the Napoleon of the Pacific.  Although the Polynesians kept no written records, we know a great deal about their history after they settled the islands. At least, we know what they thought was worth remembering - mostly chiefs' names and accounts of their wars and intrigues. For centuries, life on the islands was not peaceful for long at a stretch, and it was never placid. It never stood still for long, something was always changing. At the same time, historical events did not spread from one island or island group to another. We do not have for early Polynesia any record of wars and conquest over large spaces as we do for the continents of Asia, Africa, and Europe. We are not told about any great individuals who actually lived and changed the course of life on more than one island. Yet even in Polynesia, a change was already taking place at the time of Cook's death, under the guidance of a remarkable Hawaiian called Kamehameha.

Kamehameha was born on 1736, and he died in 1819. the Pacific was still a vast uncharted ocean, as far as Europeans were concerned, when he was a child. By the time of his death, it was already becoming a great route across the world for merchants, and a hunting ground for whalers. Not only European ships and men were coming in, but European ideas. Above all, there was the European religion of Christianity, spread by the missionaries. So the life story of Kamehameha shows two things: what might have happened if Europeans had not arrived at that particular time, and what did happen, in the end.

Although he was of royal blood, Kemehameha was kept hidden in the mountains of Hawaii for the first years of his life. From this fact he took his name, which means "The Lonely One." It was unusual treatment for a young prince, but it had been foretold at his birth that he would be a killer of kings. Consequently, his life was in danger for a long time from those who wished to forestall his carrying out such a career. However, while he was still quite a young boy, he was brought back to the court of Kalaniopuu, his royal uncle, and given the feather helmet and cloak of a nobleman. Kamehameha grew up to be a young man remarkable for his size and strength, and for his courage as a fighter in his uncle's wars.

The king whom Cook tried to kidnap was Kalaniopuu himself, and probably Kamehameha was on the scene when Cook was killed. The prince may not have believed that the sailor was a god, but he certainly appreciated the improved weapons and skills he could see that the Europeans had. He had not the time to learn as much about them as he would have liked, and another chance did not come soon. Partly in sorrow and partly in fear, Western ships kept away from the Hawaiian Islands for years afterward. At this time Kalaniopuu was growing old, so he appointed Kiwalao, his own son, as his heir to the kingdom. Kamehameha was given the title of war chief, the next most important rank. It meant that he was also high priest of the war god Kukulimoku. In spite of this grand position, he lived quietly on his own lands and took no part in politics until the old king died in 1782. Kiwalao was a moderate man, and terrified that his ambitious brother, Keoua, would cause trouble. So were the other chiefs, who appealed to Kamehameha for support.

By ancient Hawaiian custom, on the death of a king the land was redistributed among the chiefs. At the distribution which now took place Keoua was given nothing. Quite possibly Kamehameha engineered this in order to bring matters to a head. If so, he was successful. Keoua provoked war, in which Kiwalao supported him against Kamehameha. Fierce fighting broke out, and almost immediately Kiwalao was killed. Keoua was declared king. The war went on, always becoming more involved with the complicated politics of the various islands of Hawaii. Kamehameha attempted some daring schemes of conquest, but failed as often as he succeeded. Meantime, events the Hawaiians knew nothing about were to affect their lives. European merchants decided great profits could be made carrying cargoes of furs from what is now British Columbia to China, and there collecting cargoes of tea. By stopping at Hawaii the ships could take on fresh food and water. One of these voyages, in 1787, a Hawaiian chief was taken along to China, and returned with many presents. They included muskets, ammunition, and a small cannon. the chief was persuaded - or blackmailed - into joining Kamehameha and his followers. In this way, the war chief got control of the new and powerful weapons.

He also showed his foresight by preventing some of his allies from trying to capture the English or American visitors. Kamehameha saw very clearly that the attempts would only be unsuccessful, and might frighten off his source of firearms. All the same, a couple of years later one of his chiefs, in revenge for an insult, massacred the crew of an American schooner. Only two men, John Young and Isaac Davis, survived. Kamehameha at once made those two men his allies by giving them the rank of chiefs with lands and property. He now had not only weapons but experts to handle them and train his warriors in their use. That summer Kamehameha invaded Maui, the island next to Hawaii itself, and conquered it in a single battle, no one armed only with a spear or club could stand up to his muskets and cannon. But he soon had to return to his lands in Hawaii, which Keoua had invaded. Now, it seems, he wanted to end the war with Keoua for good, and perhaps Keoua was tired of it too. At any rate he accepted an invitation to visit Kamehameha for a discussion of peace. As he stepped ashore, Keoua was murdered. His body was roasted and offered in sacrifice to the war god of Kamehameha, who by this act had at last succeeded in making himself ruler of all Hawaii.

But this was not enough for him. The chiefs of the other islands battled among each other, and Kamehameha made war on all of them. the others wanted only to keep what they had, but Kamehameha wanted power. By 1810 the corpse of his last opponent had been sacrificed to the war god, and Kamehameha ruled the whole Hawaiian group of islands. The king had done something unknown before in Polynesia; he had set up an empire. He even began to contemplate enlarging it by invasions of other island groups. thanks to the visits of traders, his name was well known in Europe, where he was sometimes admiringly called "the Napoleon of the Pacific." But it was not only his foresight, ambition, and military skill which had won him his great position. Above all, it was the guns, bullets, cannon, and ships his European friends had sold him.

Kamehameha looked upon these Americans and English as his servants, and he did not realize that their picture of the situation was different. They had not only brought weapons which gave Kamehameha his victories, and which had helped reduce the populations of the islands at a steady rate. They had brought in rum, which wrecked the health of thousands more, including the king's own family. Besides, they were beginning to find their own use for the islands. The old dreams in European minds about Polynesia had faded away long before, for there was no gold, and the islands were not lands of milk and honey. but there were even more valuable things. In the seas swarmed the great whales, with ivory in their jaws and layers of oil-giving blubber under their skins. On the hillsides grew forests of the sandalwood trees the Chinese used for incense. More and more often the white men's ships went to and fro between Europe and America and China, carrying tea, furs, ivory, whalebone, and oil. More and more often they stopped at the islands for food, water, and sandalwood. They paid with more guns, and more rum. Worse, they gave the diseases of their sailors - smallpox and tuberculosis - to people who had never experienced them, and who died like flies when they caught them.

In Hawaii itself the sandalwood trade alone caused devastation, since the nobles forced the people to neglect their crops in order to cut the precious trees. At last, the king himself realized what was happening, and did what he could to repair the damage. Kamehamea set the example of a true Polynesian chief by putting a tapu on the young trees, and planting fields with his own hands. He himself gave up drinking rum. But the world went on changing all the time, and the fate of his country was no longer in Kamehameha's hands. When he died in 1819, he was made a god like his ancestors, and his bones were hidden away in a sacred cave as theirs had been, generation after generation. But no one was sacrificed to his spirit, as had been done for hundreds of years whenever his ancestors died.
Another Story About Kamehameha

When Kamehameha's mother, Kekuiapoiwa, was pregnant with him, she had a craving for the eyeball of a chief. Instead she was given the eyeball of a man-eating shark and the priests prophesied that this desire meant that the child would be a rebel and a killer of chiefs. Alapainui, the old ruler of the island of Hawai'i, secretly made plans to have the newborn infant killed.

Kekuiapoiwa's time came on a stormy night in the Kohala district, when a strange star with a tail of white fire appeared in the western sky. According to one legend, the baby was passed through a hole in the side of Kekuiapoiwa's thatched hut to a local chief named Naeole, who carried the child to safety at Awini on Hawaii's north coast.

By the time the infant in Naeole's care was five, Alapainui had forgotten his fears and accepted the boy into his household. It was said that he was a child without laughter, and so he was named Kamehameha (the Lonely One). At the royal court, he was introduced to the complexities of the kapu system, the network of taboos that reinforced Hawaiian society and pervaded every aspect of life. Canoes were not built, nor fields cultivated, without the proper prayers and ceremonies. It was forbidden under penalty of death for men and women to eat together, or for the shadow of a commoner to fall on a chief.
In 1782, Kalaniopuu died, naming his son Kiwalao heir but giving his nephew Kamehameha custody of the powerful war god, Kukailimoku. The cousins did not get along well and before long there was open warfare between Kamehameha and his rivals, and Kiwalao was struck down by a sling stone and his throat was cut with a weapon edged with shark's teeth.

For nine years, between 1782 and 1791, Kamehameha battled rival chiefs on the island of Hawai'i and embarked on his conquest of Maui. There were many bloody encounters but no clear victor. As contact with foreign traders increased, the chiefs hurried to equip themselves with musket and cannon. In addition, Kamehameha pressed two English seamen into his service, Isaac Davis and John Young, who would play a large part in his future victories. During this time, Kamehameha took two wives. One was Kaahumanu, a six-foot 300-pound woman who would become Kamehameha's great counselor. The other bride was the delicate 11-year old Keopuolani, with whom he would have a formal politically expedient union. She belonged to the highest ali'i class, and the right of succession of their two sons (Kamehameha II and III) was never questioned.

In 1790, frustrated by his stalemate with the rival chiefs, Kamehameha sought the advice of a famous soothsayer on the island of Kauai, who said that he must build a new temple for his war gods on Puukohola (Hill of the Whale) near Kawaihae if he was to be ruler of Hawai'i. Work on the structure began just before Kamehameha successfully repelled an attack by his cousin Keoua. On Keoua's retreat south to his home in Kau, he tragically lost a third of his warriors in a violent eruption of the Kilauea volcano on the slopes of Mauna Loa. The incident was psychologically damaging to Keoua for it appeared that the volcano goddess, Pele, had shown her favour to Kamehameha.

In 1791, the Puukohola heiau was completed. Rows of wooden images and thatched houses for priests and the ruling chiefs were erected on a huge 224-by-100-foot platform of lava rocks with a commanding view down the coast. Two of Kamehameha's counselors travelled to Keoua and persuaded him to come to Kawaihae, saying Kamehameha wanted peace. As Keoua went, one of Kamehameha's chiefs threw a spear at him, which he then dodged. Muskets were then fired from the shore, and Keoua was killed. Some accounts of the story say that Kamehameha genuinely sought to end the fighting with his cousin but was thwarted by his ambitious chiefs. As was the custom, the body of Keoua was baked in an underground oven until the flesh came loose from the bones. The bones, which Hawaiians believed contained the mana of the chief, were offered to the war god Kukailimoku in a solemn night of prayer. If anyone made a sound during the prayers, they themselves would have been put to death.

With the dedication of the Puukohola heiau and the death of Keoua, Kamehameha who was then in his 30s became ruler of the island of Hawai'i. Four years later, in 1795, he launched an invasion fleet of some 1,200 canoes and more than 10,000 warriors and finally took Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and Oahu. Kamehameha's superior strength in European weapons was credited with routing the strong Oahu army up the Nuuanu Valley. Trapped, many of the fleeing warriors were pushed or jumped to their deaths off the 1,200-foot Nuuanu Pali.

Kamehameha then set his sights on Kauai and Niihau - 70 miles away and the only islands outside his control. Kamehameha's men encountered a storm half way across the treacherous channel between Oahu and Kauai and many canoes were capsized. The crippled fleet then returned to Oahu. Kamehameha's next tragedy was to build a navy of very large stable canoes which were rigged with sails of western design and which could hold 50 to 100 warriors. Some 800 of these peleleu canoes were eventually assembled on Hawai'i but this fleet met with no more success than the last. At this time, during a stop-over in Oahu on his way to Kauai in 1804, an epidemic killed many of his warriors and the magnificent canoes were left to rot on the shores of Waikiki. Kamehameha himself became ill but recovered. In just 26 years after first contact with Europeans, the Hawaiian population had shrunk from an estimated 300,000 to 195,000, primarily because of imported diseases, such as pneumonia, smallpox, measles, syphilis, and gonorrhea.

Finally, Kauai and Niihau were incorporated into Kamehameha's kingdom in 1810 by diplomatic means. American and European merchants who did not want warfare to disrupt the lucrative sandalwood trade finally persuaded Kauai ruler Kaumualii to acknowledge Kamehameha as sovereign. Kamehameha, in turn, permitted Kaumualii to govern the island until his death. The conquest of the islands is now complete and it had taken Kamehameha 28 years to achieve.

As ruthless as Kamehameha was in war, he was generous and forgiving in peace. In addition to the Law of the Splintered Paddle, he created laws against murder, theft and plundering. Kamehameha also divided the conquered lands among his high chiefs in detached parcels to diffuse the possibility of rebellion and to create a lasting kingdom. In 1812, Kamehameha returned to the island of his birth, Hawai'i, and spent the remainder of his days in Kailua on the Kona Coast, now a bustling resort town and center for deep-sea sportfishing. Kamehameha himself was an avid fisherman and scheduled affairs of state in his later years around the running of his favourite fish.

Of all Kamehameha's abilities, it was his resourcefulness in dealing with foreigners that inspired the most admiration. He obtained from the British and Americans arms to conquer the islands and western luxuries to enhance his people's lifestyle. No foreigners were permitted to own land. Indeed, the island of Kauai might well be soviet territory today had not Kamehameha insisted that Kaumualii expel an ambitious German doctor, Georg Schaffer, who was in the employ of the Russian-American Company. The tsar of Russia desired only friendly trade relations with the Hawaiians, but Dr. Schaffer built a fort for the Russians on Kauai and even planted the Russian flag on leeward Ohau.

In the spring of 1819, Kamehameha became very ill, and, when it was clear that he was beyond the help of men skilled in the medical art, the leading kahuna said a human sacrifice should be made to save the king. Kamehameha, however would not permit it and early on the morning of 8th May, 1819, Kamehameha drew his last breath. A pig was cooked and offered to the gods so that his spirit would be received into the realm of the aumakua. Kamehameha's flesh was removed from his bones and laid to rest in the sea. A sennit basket was then woven around the bones and taken to Kaloko in north Kona where they were buried.



Hawaiian music



The music of Hawaii has its origins in the rich tapestry of the traditional music of Polynesia. This became blended with the differing forms of western music resulting in the contemporary Hawaiian music of today. The music of Hawaii is melodious, absorbing and enchanting, and above all, it is uniquely Hawaiian.

If there is one outstanding ability which appears to be shared by all pacific Island people, it is music and song. Close harmony singing is highly developed in church music and the power and emotional impact of chants and hymns at weddings and funerals is well known to visitors who attend.

In Melanesia and, in particular Papua New Guinea, the oldest of our island nations, drums are the most common musical instrument. Those made from a hollow tree trunk are called garamuts, while the smaller kundu is shaped like an hour glass and has snake or lizard skin stretched over one end. These are played to accompany the traditional music and chants of this most ancient society.

Indeed, drums were a traditional instrument throughout the high countries of Oceania where the timber and other necessary material were available to produce these instruments. These include the beautiful original real skin drum sounds of Tahiti and the distinct wooden-skin mix sounds of the Cook Islands.

In addition to drums, the nose flute, its music and its context, is one of the oldest musical traditions in Polynesia. These are found in such places as Tonga, Hawaii and Fiji. The Tongan fangufangu is characterized by having a closed distal end (its proximal end is always closed). Its three finger-holes include one at the proximal end (just below the blow hole) and two at the distal end.

In addition, two back-to-back holes are in the exact center of the flute; this characteristic makes the fangufangu unique (only in Fiji is a similar flute found). The music of the fangufangu is very soft. To obtain a sound, the flutist holds one nostril shut with the index finger of his left hand, while blowing with the other nostril and fingering the upper finger-hole with the ring finger of the same hand. The flutist fingers the other two finger holes with his right hand fingers. Because of the two holes in the flute's very center, the musician must overblow to obtain certain notes.
Though the huge swath of islands that make up the South Pacific have an amazing diversity of cultures and languages, two distinct influences can be seen upon its music. The first would be the cultural heritage of the Polynesians, who make up the dominant ethnic group in the region, and whose trade routes began to cross the ocean between islands hundreds of years ago.

The second major force impacting the music of the South Pacific is colonialism. Colonialism brought with it a range of musical instruments which became a feature of Pacific Island music. Some notable examples of this can be seen in Hawaii where it would be hard to imagine the music without the slack-key guitar or ukulele.

While some guitars may have made their way to Hawaii in the early 1800s along with the many European sailors who visited Hawaii, the origin of Hawaiian guitar music is generally credited to the Mexican and Spanish cowboys who were hired by King Kamehameha III around 1832. It was from the Hawaiian cowboys, or paniolos, that the tradition of Hawaiian slack key guitar music finds its roots.

This Spanish guitar was a gut string guitar, however, the actual origins of the Hawaiian steel guitar may never be known for sure. Legend has it, however, that in the mid 1890s Joseph Kekuku, a Hawaiian schoolboy, discovered the sound while walking along a railroad track strumming his Portuguese guitar.

He picked up a bolt lying by the track and slid the metal along the strings of his guitar. Intrigued by the sound, he taught himself to play using the back of a knife blade. Driven by the faint rhythm of an inner sound, he went to the machine shop at the Kamehameha School and turned out a steel bar for sliding over the strings. To complete the sound, he changed the cat-gut strings to steel and raised them so they wouldn't hit the frets. In doing so, he is credited with treating the first Hawaiian steel guitar.

Although the popularity of steel guitar became firmly established in Hawai`i by the early 1900s, and soon after in the country music field, it had few teachers. Those early legendary steel players were so much in demand to perform and record that they had no time to teach others, had they wanted to. Thus, in the 1960s the art and technique of playing Hawaiian steel guitar was almost lost.

The art form itself has seen numerous offshoots and developments in its relatively short lifetime. Indeed with the introduction of amplification in the 1930s, the steel guitar (like the Spanish guitar) gained pickups and became the electric steel guitar. Since an acoustic body was no longer necessary and actually caused feedback problems, the steel guitar quickly acquired a solid body and became the first true lap steel guitar.

There is no one standard tuning for the steel guitar and the solid body electric steel guitar allowed for instruments to be made with two, three and even four necks, each tuned differently. Multiple necks made holding the instrument on the lap almost impossible, and legs were added, making the first 'console' instruments, although a few single neck consoles were already being played by 'steelers' who preferred to stand. At the same time, the steel picked up two more strings (there were a few seven string steels) and by the end of WWII the double neck eight string console was fairly standard, although even today there are still many players who prefer a single neck six or eight, especially in Hawaiian and Western Swing music.

Over the years the sound of the Hawaiian steel guitar has found its way into many forms of American and world music including blues, "hillbilly", country and western music, rock and pop and also the music of Africa and India,

Hawaiian slack key guitar (ki ho'alu) is truly one of the great acoustic guitar traditions in the world. Ki ho'alu, which literally means "loosen the key," is the Hawaiian language name for the solo fingerpicked style unique to Hawai'i. In this tradition, the strings (or "keys") are "slacked" to produce many different tunings, which usually contain a major chord, or a chord with a major 7th note, or sometimes one with a 6th note in it. Each tuning produces a lingering sound behind the melody and has a characteristic resonance
and fingering.

Many Hawaiian songs and slack key guitar pieces reflect themes like stories of the past and present and people's lives. But it is the tropical surroundings of Hawai'i, with its oceans, volcanoes and mountains, waterfalls, forests, plants and animals, that provide the deepest source of inspiration for Hawaiian music.

These currents run deep in slack key guitar playing, as accompaniment to vocals, as instrumental compositions or as interpretations of vocal pieces. Slack key guitar music is sweet and soulful, and it is said that slack key is drawn from the heart and soul out through the fingers of each player.

There is a mystique surrounding slack key guitar music - it is very personal, and can be very magical in feeling. Slack key derives its unique sound from techniques such as "hammering-on" and "pulling-off." These techniques mimic the yodels and falsettos common in Hawaiian singing. Harmonics ("chiming"), produced by lightly touching the strings at certain points on the fretboard, and slides in which one or two treble notes are cleffed and then slid (usually up) to sound another note, are also common. All these enhance the feeling of aloha, joy or longing expressed, sometimes all in the same song.

Like blues, slack key guitar is very flexible. Often, the same guitarist will play a song differently each time, sometimes using different tempos, and even different tunings. As each guitarist learns to play slack key, they find their own individual tunings, repertoire, tempos and ornaments. It is a very individualistic tradition and, as one can hear from different recordings, each guitarist plays quite
differently from the others.

The slack key tradition was given an important boost during the reign of King David Kalakaua, who was responsible for the Hawaiian cultural resurgence of the 1880s and 1890s. He supported the preservation of ancient music, while encouraging the addition of imported instruments like the 'ukulele and guitar. His coronation in 1883 featured the guitar in combination with the ipu (gourd drum) and pahu (skin drum) in a new form called hula ku'i, and at his Jubilee (celebration) in 1886, there were performances of ancient chants and hula. This mixing of the old and new contributed to the popularity of both the guitar and 'ukulele.

Kalakaua's conviction that the revitalization of traditional culture was at the root of the survival of the Hawaiian kingdom became a major factor in the continuity of traditional music and dance, and his influence still shows. This was a great period of Hawaiian music and compositions, actively supported, and many of the monarchy composed superb songs that are still well-known today. After Kalakaua passed away, he was succeeded by his sister, Queen Lili'uokalani, Hawai'i's last monarch. She was the greatest composer of this period, writing classic pieces such as Aloha 'Oe, Sanoe, Kuu Pua I Paoakalani, Pau'ahi O Kalani, Lei Ka'ahumanu and many other
beautiful songs still played today.

Until the mid-20th Century, vocals were usually the most important element of Hawaiian music. The guitar was mainly relegated to a back-up role, often grouped with other instruments, and was played in a natural, finger picked style, with a steady rhythm, to accompany hula and singing. The guitar usually did not play the exact melody of the song, but played a repeated fragment with improvised variations using ornaments such as hammer-ons, pull-offs, harmonics and others.

A wide variety of tunings in several different keys were created to back up the singers effectively. When the strings were tuned too low, they lost their tone, and when they were tuned too high, they were likely to break, thus tunings in six keys were developed. (Most Hawaiians did not have a guitar capo, a strap or clamp which fits on the guitar neck and raises pitch, allowing the same guitar fingerings in a higher key.) The Hawaiians often retuned the guitar from the standard Spanish tuning (E-A-D-G-B-E, from lowest- to highest-pitched string), resulting in sweet sounding tunings with "slacked" open (unfretted) strings.

The guitar was often tuned to a major chord, like the popular G Major "Taro Patch" tuning (D-G-D-G-B-D), or tunings containing a major 7th note (called "Wahine" tuning), or tunings with the top two pitches tuned a wide fifth interval apart (called "Mauna Loa"), and other combinations. The many ingenious tunings the Hawaiians invented all into five basic categories: Major, Wahine, Mauna
Loa, Ni'ihau/Old Mauna Loa, and miscellaneous.

When two or more guitarists play together, they often use different tunings in the same key. For example, one guitarist might use G Major tuning, and the other might use G Wahine tuning. Guitars can also be played together with different tunings in different keys, capoed up to various frets to sound in the same key. This is one way to appreciate the slack key sound.

Due to the distance between the islands, styles particular to each developed, sometimes specific to regions of an island. The Big Island, probably because of its size, has engendered the greatest variety of regional styles. Some O'ahu players, especially from Honolulu, have sometimes had more modern and varied styles because of their greater exposure to different musical traditions from the United States (Mainland) and other parts of the world. To this day, each slack key artist draws from the traditions of the area where they grew up and from the music of their 'ohana (family), adding to it their own individual way of playing.

Slack key guitar became part of the music that the paniolo would play after work or with families and friends at gatherings, and this paniolo tradition continues to this day on the Big Island and Maui. Since the 1960s, and especially now in the 2000s, Hawaiian slack key guitar has also evolved into a highly developed instrumental art form, in both solo and group formats. It is when played solo that the beautiful and unique intricacies of the slack key guitar can be fully appreciated, as the music of the masters has great depth and individuality.

The most influential slack key guitarist in history was Gabby Pahinui [1921-1980]. The modern slack key era began in 1947 when Gabby (often referred to as "the father of modern slack key guitar") made his first recording of Hi'ilawe on an Aloha Records 78 rpm (#AR-810). Gabby was the prime influence for keeping slack key guitar from dying out in the Islands, and his prolific guitar techniques led to the guitar becoming more recognized as a solo instrument. He expanded the boundaries of slack key guitar, making it into a fully evolved solo guitar style capable of creatively interpreting a wide variety of Hawaiian traditional and popular standards, original guitar pieces, and even pieces from other countries. Many have also been inspired by Gabby's beautiful, expressive vocals and his virtuoso falsetto voice.

The Gabby Pahinui Band of the 1970s is a good example of the complexity of sound slack key can achieve. Along with Gabby, this band featured late great slack key guitarists Leland "Atta" Isaacs, Sr. and Sonny Chillingworth, and Gabby's sons, Cyril and Bla Pahinui. Usually on the band's recordings, each of the guitarists would play in a different C tuning, providing a thick, textured sound.

Besides Gabby, two other highly influential slack key artists have been Leonard Kwan and Sonny Chillingworth. These three are notable not only because of their artistic virtuosity, but also because of the availability of their recordings, Gabby's in the late 1940s, and Leonard's and Sonny's in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Four of Gabby's earliest recordings from the late 1940s or early 1950s (on Bell Records 78 rpms) are especially impressive: Hi'ilawe (#505); Key Khoalu (#509); Hula Medley (#506); and Wai O Keaniani (#510). Other slack key guitarists were astounded and inspired by these four recordings, because of the level of Gabby's playing, and because each was in a different tuning. He also made many recordings in the 1950s for the Waikiki label, issued on three different albums: Hawaiian Slack Key, Volume 1 (#319), Hawaiian Slack Key, Volume 2 (#320), The Best of Hawaiian Slack Key (#340).

Awareness and popularity of slack key guitar were further increased by the release of several great slack key albums in the 1960s by Leonard Kwan, Ray Kane, Atta Isaacs and Gabby Pahinui on Margaret Williams' Tradewinds label.

These four, along with Sonny Chillingworth, recorded in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s (Gabby Pahinui started recording in the 1940s) and influenced all the younger slack key guitarists. Sonny Chillingworth, Leonard Kwan and Ray Kane have also continued to record and influence many others in the 1980s and 1990s. In the 1970s, albums were issued by the new generation of influential players such as Keola Beamer, Ledward Kaapana (with his trio Hui Ohana), and Peter Moon (with his trio The Sunday Manoa).

There are four basic types of slack key guitar. The first is the simple but profound style, most evident in the older playing styles, such as that of the late Auntie Alice Namakalua. The second is a sort of "slack key jazz," with lots of improvisation, used prominently in the music of Atta Isaacs, Cyril Pahinui, Ledward Kaapana, Moses Kahumoku, George Kuo and Ozzie Kotani. The third kind creates a  unique sound using ornaments like hammer-ons and pull-offs. These techniques are featured on Sonny Chillingworth's Ho'omalu Slack Key, Ray Kane's Punahele, and George Kuo's Kohala Charmarita.

The fourth, performance-oriented slack key style, features entertaining visual as well as sound techniques. These include playing with the forearm, playing with a bag over the fretting hand (performed by the late Fred Punahoa and by Ledward Kaapana), and the intriguing needle and thread technique, where the player dangles a needle, hanging from a thread held between the teeth, across the strings while otherwise playing normally, which creates a sound a bit like a mandolin or a hammered dulcimer. This can be heard, performed by Sonny Chillingworth, on the fourth verse of the song Wai Ulu, on his recording Sonny Solo (Dancing Cat 08022 38005). The technique can be seen on the song Kaula'ili in Susan Friedman's film Ki ho'alu, That's Slack Key Guitar and in Eddie Kamae's great slack key film "The Hawaiian Way."

In the old days, there was an almost mystical reverence for those who understood ki ho'alu, and the ability to play it was regarded as a special gift. To retain and protect the slack key mystique, tunings were often closely guarded family secrets. This practice has changed with the times, as respect has increased for the preservation of older Hawaiian traditions, and now slack key guitarists are more willing to share their knowledge outside the family circle with those who sincerely wish to learn. Because many of the beautiful old traditions in Hawai'i have been changed by outside influences, this greatly increased respect for the older slack key traditions and the sharing of tunings is helping to ensure that traditional slack key guitar will endure and be shared.

Since the early 1970s (often called the era of the Hawaiian Renaissance), Hawaiians have increasingly looked to their cultural roots, and because of this, slack key guitar has steadily grown in popularity. The Hawaiian Music Foundation, founded by Dr. George Kanahele, did much to increase awareness through their publications, music classes and the sponsoring of concerts, including the landmark 1972 slack key concert.

Currently, there are several major slack key festivals. The Gabby Pahinui/Atta Isaacs Slack Key Festival is held annually in or near Honolulu on the Island of O'ahu, every third Sunday in August, and the annual Big Island Slack Key Guitar Festival is held on the next to last Sunday in July at the Hilo Civic Auditorium on the island of Hawai'i. Other festivals also take place on Maui and Kauai, on the Mainland, and occasionally internationally.

Because Hawai'i is one of the crossroads of the world, its music has always had many influences: Latin music from Mexico, Spain and Portugal; Polynesian music, especially from Samoa and Tahiti; European music and music from the Mainland, including jazz, country and western, folk and pop. All have been absorbed by Hawaiians, and they have enriched it with their mana (soul).

Hawaiian music has always enjoyed a reciprocal relationship with music from the American Mainland. Hawaiians began touring the United States during the early 1890s with acts such as the Royal Hawaiian Band, small string bands, steel guitarists and vocal ensembles.

The 1912 Broadway show Bird of Paradise helped introduce Hawaiian music (although not slack key guitar) to the United States (Mainland), as did Hawaiian shows at the big Panama Pacific Exhibition in San Francisco in 1915. By the late teens, Hawaiian recordings were the biggest selling records in the United States, especially acoustic steel guitar and vocal recordings.

Starting around 1912, blues slide guitarists and country and western steel guitar players became more and more influenced by the Hawaiian slack key guitar sound, due to increased recordings and tours by Hawaiian performers. The pedal steel guitar was developed from the Hawaiian steel guitar, which was invented in the 1880s. Some Hawaiian steel guitar tunings (and thus, some of the Mainland steel guitar tunings) evolved from slack key tunings, especially the G Major tuning for the dobro and lap steel guitar, and the C Major 6th tuning (similar to the C Mauna Loa tuning) for the pedal steel guitar. (Steel guitar means any guitar played with a metal bar, regardless of what material the guitar is made.)

Although Hawai'i's guitar tradition is the richest in the Pacific, many other Polynesian countries also have guitar traditions closely related to slack key. For example, in the Cook Islands, especially on the island of Aitutaki, it is called Ki Mamaiata (or sometimes Ki Amoa), which translates as "early in the morning," a favourite time to play guitar there.





Pele - Goddess of Fire



Described as "She-Who-Shapes-The-Sacred-Land" in ancient Hawaiian chants, the volcano goddess, Pele, was passionate, volatile, and capricious. In modern times, Pele has become the most visible of all the old gods and goddesses. Dwelling in the craters of the Big Island's Kilauea Volcano, she has been sending ribbons of fiery lava down the mountainside and adding new land around the southeastern shore almost continuously since 1983.

Pele was born of the female spirit Haumea, or Hina, who, like all other important Hawai'i gods and goddesses, descended from the supreme beings, Papa, or Earth Mother, and Wakea, Sky Father. Pele was among the first voyagers to sail to Hawai'i, pursued, legends say, by her angry older sister, Na-maka-o-kaha'i because Pele had seduced her husband. Pele landed first on Kaua'i, but every time she thrust her o'o (digging stick) into the earth to dig a pit for her home, Na-maka-o-kaha'i, goddess of water and the sea, would flood the pits. Pele moved down the chain of islands in order of their geological formation, eventually landing on the Big Island's Mauna Loa, which is considered the tallest mountain on earth when measured from its base at the bottom of the ocean.

Even Na-maka-o-kaha'i could not send the ocean's waves high enough on Mauna Loa to drown Pele's fires, so Pele established her home on its slopes. Here, she welcomed her brothers. A cliff on nearby Kilauea Mountain is sacred to her eldest brother, Ka-moho-ali'i, king of the sharks and the keeper of the gourd that held the water of life, which gave him the power to revive the dead. Out of respect for this brother, to this day, Pele never allows clouds of volcanic steam to touch his cliff.
Her other brothers also still appear on the Big Island mountain; Kane-hekili as thunder, Ka-poho-i-kahi-ola as explosions, Ke-ua-a-kepo in showers of fire, and Ke-o-ahi-kama-kaua in spears of lava that escape from fissures during eruptions.

Of all her siblings, Pele favored her youngest sister Hi'iaka, the most. Pele, Hi'iaka and another sister, Laka, goddess of hula, were all patronesses of the dance, but Hi'iaka was said to have hatched from an egg that Pele kept warm during the long canoe ride to Hawai'i by transporting it in her armpit.

After Hi'iaka grew to womanhood on the Big Island, Pele traveled in spirit form to the north shore of Kaua'i to witness a dance performance at a pahula, or dance platform, that still exists near Ke'e Beach. Here she manifested herself as a desirable young woman, and quickly fell in love with a handsome young chief named Lohi'au. She dallied with Lohi'au for several days, but eventually her spirit had to return to her sleeping body on the Big Island. Upon awakening, Pele sent Hi'iaka to convince Lohi'au to come to her. The sisters extracted vows from each other: Hi'iaka promised not to encourage Lohi'au should he become attracted to her and in return, Pele promised to contain her fires and lava flows so as not to burn a grove of flowering ohi'a trees where Hi'iaka danced with her friend Hopoe.

On Kaua'i, Hi'iaka found that Lohi'au had died of grief after Pele disappeared, but the graceful younger sister was able to restore his spirit to his body, bringing him back to life. Together, the two of them began the journey to the Big Island, but Pele's suspicious nature got the best of her. Because forty days had passed since Hi'iaka had set out on her assigned mission, Pele decided she had been betrayed, and so sent a flood of lava into Hi'iaka's 'ohi'a-lehua grove, killing Hopoe in the process. When Hi'iaka saw the smoldering trees and her dancing friend entombed in lava, she flung herself into the arms of Lohi'au. In retribution, Pele set lose another stream of lava, which killed the mortal Lohi'au, but Hi'iaka, a goddess, could not be destroyed.

The legend has a happy ending, however, as yet another brother of Pele's, Kane-milo-hai, reached out and caught Lohi'au's spirit when he saw it floating past his canoe. He restored the spirit to Lohi'au's body, and once again, the chief was brought back to life. Hi'iaka and Lohi'au returned to Kaua'i to live contentedly.
Legends about Pele, her rivals and her lovers abound. Most of the lovers she took were not lucky enough to escape with their lives when she hurled molten lava at them, trapping them in odd misshapen pillars of rock that dot volcanic fields to this day.

One lover who proved a match for Pele was Kamapua'a, a demi-god who hid the bristles that grew down his back by wearing a cape. The pig god could also appear as a plant or as various types of fish. He and Pele were at odds from the beginning; she covered the land with barren lava, he brought torrents of rain to extinguish her fires and called the wild boars to dig up the land, softening it so seeds could grow.

Pele and Kamapua'a raged against each other until her brothers begged her to give in, as they feared Kamapua'a's storms would soak all the fire sticks and kill Pele's power to restore fire. In Puna, at a place called Ka-lua-o-Pele, where the land seems torn up as if a great struggle had taken place, legend says Kamapua'a finally caught and ravaged Pele. The two remained tempestuous lovers, it is said, until a child was born, then Kamapua'a sailed away and Pele went back to her philandering ways.

Pele's greatest rival was Poliahu, goddess of snow-capped mountains, and a beauty who, like Pele, seduced handsome mortal chiefs. Pele's jealousy flamed after she had a fling with a fickle young Maui chief named 'Ai-wohi-ku-pua, as he was traveling to the Big Island to court a mortal chiefess, Laie. Paddling along the Hana Coast, 'Ai-wohi-ku-pua saw Pele in human form as a beauty named Hina-i-ka-malama, riding the surf. He paused for a brief affair. Then he went on to the Big Island, where Poliahu seduced him. He convinced his personal goddess to release him from his promise to his first love, and went back to Kaua'i with the snow goddess. Pele (as Hina-i-ka-malama) chased after them, eventually winning back the fickle chief, but Poliahu was so vindictive, she blasted the lovers with cold and heat until they separated, and 'Ai-wohi-ku-pua was left with no lover at all.

According to Hawaiian historian David Malo in his book "Hawaiian Antiquities," in old Hawai'i, some gods and goddesses, including Pele, were believed to be akua noho, gods who talked. They could take possession of an earthly being, who became the god's kahu. Malo writes, "The kahu of the Pele deities also were in the habit of dressing their hair in such a way as to make it stand out at great length, then, having inflamed and reddened their eyes, they went about begging for any articles they took a fancy to, making the threat, 'If you don't grant this request, Pele will devour you.' Many people were imposed upon in this manner, fearing Pele might actually consume them." Naturally, people who had seen others destroyed in Pele's fiery lava flows, were terrorized by such a kahu.

Pele has continued to intrigue contemporary men. Not long after the old religion was abolished in 1819, the high chiefess Kapi'olani defied Pele by eating 'ohelo berries at the edge of Halema'uma'u caldera without first offering them to or requesting Pele's permission. In open defiance, Kapi'olani threw stones into the molten lava below. When she was not harmed, she insisted it proved Pele had no power and it was time for Hawaiian people to accept Christianity as their religion. In 1823, when Reverend William Ellis became the first white man to visit Kilauea, most Hawaiians accompanying the expedition were still in awe of the volatile goddess. The hungry missionaries began to eat 'ohelo berries, but were quickly warned to give Pele an offering. Ellis wrote, "We told them ...that we acknowledged Jehovah as the only divine proprietor of the fruits of this earth, and felt thankful to Him for them, especially in our present circumstances."...We traveled on, regretting that the natives should indulge in notions so superstitious." At the crater, the Hawaiian guides "turned their faces toward the place where the greatest quantity of smoke and vapor issued, and, breaking the ('ohelo) branch they held in their hand in two, they threw one part down the precipice, saying:

E Pele, eia ka 'ohelo 'au;
(Oh, Pele, here are your branches)
e taumaha aku wau 'ia 'oe
(I offer some to you)
e 'ai ho'i au tetahi
(some I also eat).

To this day, tales of Pele's power and peculiarities continue. Whispered encounters with Pele include those of drivers who pick up an old woman dressed all in white accompanied by a little dog on roads in Kilauea National Park, only to look in the mirror to find the back seat empty. Pele's face has mysteriously appeared in photographs of fiery eruptions, and most people who live in the islands-whether Christian, Buddhist, Shinto, or other-speak respectfully of the ancient goddess. After all, she has destroyed more than 100 structures on the Big Island since 1983, and perhaps even more awesome than that, she has added more than 70 acres of land to the island's southeastern coastline.

(by Betty Fullard-Leo )






      Queen Lydia Liliuokalani
September 2, 1838 - November 11, 1917)

Queen Liliuokalani was the last reigning monarch of the Hawaiian islands. She felt her mission was to preserve the islands for their native residents. In 1898, Hawaii was annexed to the United States and Queen Liliuokalani was forced to give up her throne.

Queen Liliuokalani was deposed by the advocates of a Republic for Hawaii in 1893. She was born in Honolulu to high chief Kapaakea and the chiefess Keohokalole, the third of ten children. Her brother was King Kalakaua. Liliuokalanie was adopted at birth by Abner Paki and his wife Konia. At age 4, her adoptive parents enrolled her in the Royal School. There she became fluent in English and influenced by Congregational missionaries. She also became part of the royal circle attending Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma.

Liliuokalanie married a ha'ole, John Owen Dominis on September 16, 1862. Dominis would eventually serve the monarchy as the Governor of O'ahu and Maui. They had no children and according to her private papers and diaries, the marriage was not fulfilling. Dominis died shortly after she assumed the throne, and the queen never remarried.

Upon the death of her brother, King Kalakauam Liliuokalani ascended the throne of Hawaii in January 1891. One of her first acts was to recommend a new Hawaii constitution, as the "Bayonet Constitution" of 1887 limited the power of the monarch and political power of native Hawaiians. In 1890, the McKinley Tariff began to cause a recession in the islands by withdrew the safeguards ensuring a mainland market for Hawaiian sugar. American interests in Hawaii began to consider annexation for Hawaii to re-establish an economic competitive position for sugar. In 1893, Queen Liliuokalani sought to empower herself and Hawaiians through a new constitution which she herself had drawn up and now desired to promulgate as the new law of the land. It was Queen Liliuokalani's right as a sovereign to issue a new constitution through an edict from the throne. A group led by Sanford B. Dole sought to overthrow the institution of the monarchy. The American minister in Hawaii, John L. Stevens, called for troops to take control of Iolani Palace and various other governmental buildings. In 1894, the Queen, was deposed, the monarchy abrogated, and a provisional government was established which later became the Republic of Hawaii.

In 1893, James H. Blount, newly appointed American minister to Hawaii, arrived representing President Grover Cleveland. Blount listened to both sides, annexationists and restorationists, and concluded the Hawaiian people aligned with the Queen. Blount and Cleveland agreed the Queen should be restored. Blount's final report implicated the American minister Stevens in the illegal overthrow of Liliuokalani. Albert S. Willis, Cleveland's next American minister offered the crown back to the Queen on the condition she pardon and grant general amnesty to those who had dethroned her. She initially refused but soon she changed her mind and offered clemency. This delay compromised her political position and President Cleveland had released the entire issue of the Hawaiian revolution to Congress for debate. The annexationists promptly lobbied Congress against restoration of the monarchy. On July 4, 1894, the Republic of Hawaii with Sanford B. Dole as president was proclaimed. It was recognized immediately by the United States government.

In 1895, Liliuokalani was arrested and forced to reside in Iolani Palace after a cache of weapons was found in the gardens of her home in Washington Place. She denied knowing of the existence of this cache and was reportedly unaware of others' efforts to restore the royalty. In 1896, she was released and returned to her home at Washington Place where she lived for the next two decades. Hawaii was annexed to the United States through a joint resolution of the U. S. Congress in 1898 . The "ex-"queen died due to complications from a stroke in 1917. A statue of her was erected on the grounds of the State Capital in Honolulu.



     The Mythical Menehune of Kaua'i

The early history of Hawaii states that there were two influxes of people from Tahiti. The second voyages of exploration and settlement were led by chiefs who became distinguished ancestors of the chiefly families of Hawaii. In all these traditions, recognition is given to the fact that there were people here before them, descendants of the people who came with Hawai'i-loa. They were referred to as the Menehune people (ka poe Nenehune). Myth states that they were the descendants of Menehune, the son of Lua-nu'u, who appears in the chiefly genealogies of other areas as Ruanuku.

The Menehune people were probably well distributed over all the Hawaiian islands, but myths and traditions concerning them cling more thickly to the island of Kaua'i. It is probable that the later invaders pushed them gradually out of other islands so that they congregated in Kaua'i, the last of the large islands, at the northwest end of the chain. From there they apparently withdrew to the barren and rocky islets of Nihoa and Necker, as evidenced by numerous terraces, stone implements, and stone images.

Waimea Canyon on the island of Kaua'i is now deserted but shows evidence of very early habitation. Some traditions say that the thick forested canyons and valleys were home to the Menehune, come to be regarded as a physically short and mischievous people - much like Ireland's beloved leprechauns - that have been a fanciful part of Kauai's folklore. Their presence exists through hand-built walls and petroglyphs found carved in the rocks. In reality, they were neither gnomes or fairies, an erroneous description given to them by later story tellers - indeed, it seems to be a Polynesian characteristic to laud one's own family ancestors and to belittle those who preceded them in exploration and settlement. The Menehune were real, live people of Polynesian stock, and they are entitled to the honour and glory of being the first to cross the ocean wastes to Hawaii.

While archaeologists have never found the remains of a distinctively small race of ancient people on Kaua'i, many think that the Menehune legend may well have a basis in fact. Some scholars now believe that the early Tahitians may have given the name "Menehune" to the Marquesan people who had reached the islands before them. Perhaps the powerful Tahitians forced their predecessors into servitude, driving them back into the canyons and valleys. The word "Menehune" can be translated as "slave" in the Tahitian language.

Kaua'i's mythical Menehune were a very clever and industrious tribe. They had a reputation as master builders, but for some reason worked only at night under the glow of the moon. If they could not finish a given task in a single night, they abandoned it forever. Fortunately, this occurred only rarely.

During one of their productive nights, the Menehune reputedly built the island's largest aquaculture reservoir, the Alekoko Fishpond located near Nawiliwili Harbour outside Lihue. The fishpond was built for a Kaua'i prince and princess. This mullet-raising pond was created by constructing a 900 foot dam to cut off an elbow bend in the wide Huleia River. Holes in the dam allow young fish to enter the pond from the river but are too small to allow the grown fish to escape.

A favourite engineering method was to pass rocks by hand along a double row of men in long lines from the site of their quarry. It took exact planning and well-organized teamwork. Before building the Alekoko Fishpond, the Menehune warned their royal patrons not to watch the construction that night. Their curiosity got the better of them, though, and they immediately turned into rock. The two stone pillars are still visible on a nearby hillside.

The little people also get credit for building a number of heiau (the major gods that came from Tahiti were worshipped in walled enclosures of stone that were turmed heiau instead of marae) along the Wailua River and the Menehune ditch in Waimea. Although the ditch appears quite ordinary on first sight, inspection of the waterway reveals a unique kind of fitted and faced stonework that has been found nowhere else in Hawaii. Only a tiny portion of the ditch has been preserved but it once stretched for miles, starting from a dam upstream of Waimea River and running down the cliff to the farms below. The ditch was led past the perpendicular cliff by building up a wall and waterway with smoothly cut stone blocks to form a structure which is unique in Polynesia.

Legend relates that the ditch was built by the Menehune at the request of Ola, a king who wanted to irrigate his taro patches. For their effort on his behalf, Ola gave them a single fresh-water shrimp. A neighbouring hill was named Shrimp Hill to celebrate the occasion and there it stands as a memorial to the parsimony of employers in those days. The one shrimp was probably introduced into the tale to stress the magic power of the Menehune who could feed the multitude on one small crustacean.

Legend states that the only foods available in Hawaii on the arrival of the Menehune were the fruit of the pandanus, the pith of the fern tree, the root of the cordyline and the berries of the ohelo and akala. In Kaua'i the stronghold of the Menehune, there are two forms of stone pounders which are not found in any of the other islands of the group. They are termed "ring pounders" and "stirrup pounders" because of their shape, and they have comparatively narrow, elliptical pounding surfaces which form a marked contrast to the large, convex, rounded surfaces of the pounders used in the other islands to pound the taro tuber into the poi paste that formed the staple food of the later inhabitants.

Old stories say that there were once over half-a-million Menehune living on Kaua'i. Gradually, they went into hiding and disappeared. A census taken in the early 1800s discovered that 65 people living in the town of Wainiha on the northern coast of Kaua'i put down "Menehune" as their nationality. This census is the last known official report of their existence.



       The Royal Family of Hawaii

Hawaii is the only U.S. state that was once a kingdom with its own monarchy. The only real royal palaces in the United States are in Hawaii. The Iolani Palace was completed in 1882, during the reign of David Kalakaua, the last king of Hawaii. It had electricity years before the White House did. The last royal to live there was Kalakaua's sister, Queen Liliuokalani, who ruled after him. The palace was used as Hawaii's capitol building until 1969. Today it's a museum. The royal family also had a vacation residence, Hulihe'e Palace on the Island of Hawaii. It too is now a museum.

The first residents of Hawaii reached the islands approximately 2,000 years ago. They may have come from the Marquesas Islands, which are north of Tahiti. Many more Tahitian immigrants arrived in Hawaii in the 14th and 15th centuries. The first known European to visit Hawaii was a Spanish navigator named Gaetano, who charted the islands in 1555.

Hawaii was forgotten by Europeans, then rediscovered in 1778 by British explorer James Cook. Captain Cook named Hawaii "the Sandwich Islands" after his sponsor, John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, the inventor of the sandwich. In 1779 Cook visited one of the islands and left, then returned to repair a broken mast. A boat was stolen from one of Cook's ships, and Cook and his men decided to detain a chief until the boat was returned. A fight broke out between the Hawaiians and Europeans, and people were killed on both sides, including Captain Cook. Despite such disputes, outsiders continued to visit Hawaii, and the islands became a hub for traders and whalers.

Kamehameha the Great

The birth date of King Kamehameha I, also called Kamehameha the Great, is not known. According to legend, there was a bright star in the sky when he was born; this may have been Halley's Comet, which was visible in 1758. Believing that the star portended the birth of a fearsome conqueror, a chief named Alapai tried to have the baby killed, but the child was secretly rescued and brought up in isolation. Kamehameha means "the lonely one."

As an adult, Kamehameha became chief of the northern half of the island of Hawaii. Eventually he brought the entire island under his reign. The other Hawaiian islands were controlled by other kings, but Kamehameha conquered and united them, becoming ruler of all the islands by 1810. Although the king didn't allow non-Hawaiians to intefere in island politics, he was accepting of foreigners and their innovations, such as muskets and nails. During his reign Hawaii became an important center of the fur and sandalwood trades. Pineapples were first brought to Hawaii from Spain in 1813, and coffee was first planted in the islands in 1818, the year before Kamehameha I died. (Macadamia nut trees weren't introduced until 1892).

In 1883 a statue of King Kamehameha I was unveiled in Honolulu by King David Kalakaua. It was a duplicate; the original, cast by Thomas Gould, had been lost at sea. It was eventually recovered and placed near Kamehameha's birthplace. Another duplicate can be found in the Statuary Hall in Washington DC.

Kamehameha II and Kamehameha III

After Kamehameha the Great's death in 1819, his 22-year-old son Liholiho became King Kamehameha II. However, his stepmother, Queen Kaahumanu, was the power behind the throne. The first Christian missionaries came to Hawaii shortly after Kamehameha I's death. Queen Kaahumanu converted to their faith. (Kamehameha II did not.) At that time Hawaiians wore little clothing, but the missionaries convinced the queen to adopt a loose, cool version of a Victorian gown. It was so much easier to wear than most Victorian gowns that Hawaiian women exclaimed, "Holo! Ku!" meaning, "We can run in it! We can stand!" So the gown was called the holoku.

Eventually Christian missionaries developed the Hawaiian alphabet and made some changes. The name Kamehameha was originally Tamehameha; the missionaries are said to have changed the T to K. In 1824, while visiting England, Liholiho and members of his party came down with measles, for which Hawaiians had no immunity. Liholiho's favorite wife died. Heartbroken, Liholiho also died. Their bodies were returned to Hawaii for burial, and in 1825 Liholiho's brother Kauikeaouli, who was still a child, became Kamehameha III.

Queen Kaahumanu served as Kamehameha III's regent until her death in 1832. She was a strong and cunning ruler. Under her influence Kamehameha III became a Christian and banned traditional Hawaiian beliefs and practices, such as hula. In 1839 Kamehameha III guaranteed religious freedom to the people of Hawaii. He was also responsible for transforming the kingdom into a modern constitutional monarchy. The 1840 constitution gave male citizens the vote and established a representative legislature. By 1843 France, England and the United States had recognized Hawaii as an independent nation.

By now Hawaii was a center of the whaling industry. Commercial sugar cane production began in Hawaii in 1835, and became especially important to the economy after whaling declined in the 1860s. Hawaii's prosperity made it desirable to both Americans and Europeans. Kamehameha III offered to place his islands under Queen Victoria's protection, but she refused for political reasons. In the 1840s America tried to annex Hawaii, but Kamehameha III thwarted this effort.

Kamehameha IV and Kamehameha V

Kamehameha III died in December 1854 and was succeeded by his nephew (and adopted son) Alexander, who reigned under the name Kamehameha IV. To prevent the annexation of Hawaii by the United States, he developed diplomatic and trade relations with other countries. He also tried to slow the influence of Christian missionaries.

European diseases were taking a serious toll on native Hawaiians. According to one estimate, there were a million native Hawaiians at the start of the 19th century; in 1990 there were 138,000. Because many native Hawaiians were dying and others objected to working on sugar planations, workers flooded into the islands from other Asian countries. This is why modern-day Hawaii has such a diverse population.

Kamehameha IV's wife was named Queen Emma. Her father was a chief, George Naea; her mother, Fanny Kekelaokalani Young, was the daughter of Kamehameha I's niece Ka'oana'eha and the king's British counselor John Young. Emma was adopted by her aunt and uncle Grace and Thomas Rooke, who had no children of their own. (Grace Kamaikui Rooke was Emma's maternal aunt.) Emma spoke both Hawaiian and English, and was a good musician and horsewoman. Before her marriage, some people said she was not worthy to be queen because she was partly white, but she became a popular queen. She helped establish a hospital to help combat the diseases devastating Hawaiians. It was named Queen's Hospital in her honor and still stands in Honolulu.

Alexander and Emma had one son, Prince Albert - the last child ever born to a monarch of Hawaii. In 1862 Albert died of a brain fever. He was four. The king and queen were devastated by their son's death. Queen Emma spent four days sitting beside his grave. To honor Albert the king gave Emma a new name, Kaleleokalani, meaning "The flight of the heavenly chief." When the King died the next year at the age of 29, supposedly of asthma and a broken heart, Queen Emma changed her name to the plural Kaleleonalani, "flight of the heavenly chiefs." (According to rumor, Kamehameha IV was poisoned, but this has never been proven.) Kamehameha IV's successor was his older brother Lot, who reigned as King Kamehameha V. He replaced the constitution with one that gave him more power, improved the balance of trade in Hawaii, and increased foreigners' power.

Lot was so fat at the end of his life that he couldn't leave his palace. He never married. He had once been engaged to Princess Bernice Pauahi, the last descendant of Kamehameha I, but she married businessman Charles Bishop instead. Kamehameha V tried to name Princess Bernice as his successor, but she didn't want to be queen. She is remembered as a philanthropist who left money to establish Kamehameha Schools for Hawaiian children.

Lunalilo and Kalakaua

King Kamehameha V died on December 11, 1872. He was the last king of the Kamehameha dynasty. The Hawaiian legislature met to choose a new monarch. Prince William Lunalilo, a descendant of a half brother of Kamehameha I, was selected to be the new king.

Lunalilo never married, although he was engaged for a while. He had many foreign advisors, but also had true concern for his own people. After a little over a year as king he died of consumption, leaving his estate to needy Hawaiians. Some believe that he, too, was poisoned because of his concern for the Hawaiian people.
Once again the Hawaiian legislature met to choose a new monarch. Dowager Queen Emma was considered, but David Kalakaua was chosen instead. Kalakaua was a chief. He was of royal blood, being descended from a cousin of Kamehameha the Great. He was well-educated, intelligent, and equally at home with Hawaiians and foreigners. But Queen Emma felt his lineage was less royal than hers, and her supporters were not pleased by the legislature's choice. They rioted and the British Marines had to be called in to control them.

In 1874 Kalakaua went to Washington to negotiate a reciprocal trade treaty. Hawaiian sugar poured into America and American money poured into Hawaii. But the king tried to increase the power of the monarchy, which threatened the interests of foreign businessmen. In 1887 several hundred foreigners formed a secret group called the Hawaiian League. Many members also belonged to the Honolulu Rifles, a militia organization. They intimidated Kalakaua into accepting a new constitution, known as the Bayonet Constitution. It stripped the king of power, making him a figurehead, and permitted white foreigners to vote in elections. Japanese, Chinese and other Asian residents of Hawaii were not permitted to vote.

In 1889 a man named Robert Wilcox led an uprising against the new constitution. The uprising was put down by Cabinet troops, but Wilcox became a hero to native Hawaiians. At his trial for conspiracy, an all-Hawaiian jury found him not guilty. Kalakaua was accused of squandering Hawaiian money in order to live like European royals. During his long absences from Hawaii his sister Liliuokalani ruled as regent. He and his wife, Queen Kapiolani, travelled the world and threw expensive parties. In 1891, while visiting San Francisco, the king died of kidney disease.


Kalakaua's sister Lydia Liliuokalani was the last Hawaiian monarch. The third of ten children, Liliuokalani had been adopted at birth by Abner and Konia Paki. Abner was an advisor of Kamehameha III and Konia was descended from Kamehameha I. At the age of four she entered the Royal School, originally called the Chief's Children's School, where she learned to speak English fluently. Her adoptive sister was Princess Bernice, to whom Kamehameha IV had wanted to leave his throne.

Young Liliuokalani enjoyed horseback riding, tea parties, and singing and song-writing. She was part of the court of Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma, and for a time was engaged to future king Lunalilo. Eventually she married John Dominis, the son of an American sea captain. The marriage was not happy, and they had no children.

Liliuokalani was a courageous and intelligent woman. During her brother's reign she served as regent of Hawaii during his absences. She was over 50 when she became queen of Hawaii. Her husband became governor of Oahu and Maui, but died after just seven months. Liliuokalani never remarried. She named her niece, Princess Kaiulani, as her heir. Kaiulani was away at school in London at this time.

A strong nationalist, Liluokalani tried to replace the Bayonet Constitution with one which would favor native Hawaiians, but was intimidated her into letting the old constitution stand. In 1892 the Hawaiian Legislature passed a law permitting the import and sale of opium. The bill favored Chinese businessmen, and Americans were enraged when the queen signed it, although according to the Bayonet Constitution she had no choice but to sign every bill the legislature passed. She was also castigated for signing a bill that legalized the lottery.

U.S. minister John L. Stevens conspired with other non-Hawaiians to overthrow the queen. In January 1893, armed troops were sent ashore from a warship in Honolulu Harbor, and Liliokalani was forced to surrender. A provisional government took control of Hawaii.
The queen's heir, Princess Kaiulani, went to Washington to appeal for help. Her dignity impressed President Cleveland, who ordered an investigation of the revolution. The report he received convinced Cleveland that the queen should be returned to her throne. He made a speech to congress condemning the overthrow of the monarchy, calling it "a misuse of the name and power of the United States." Cleveland refused to annex Hawaii because the majority of Hawaiians were not in favor of it.
In 1894 the Republic of Hawaii was established with Sanford Dole as its president. In 1895 native Hawaiians, led again by Robert Wilcox, revolted in an attempt to return the queen to power. After 10 days of fighting, Wilcox and most of the other royalists were captured. They were sentenced to death, but saved by intervention of the U.S. government.

Firearms were discovered buried in the queen's flower garden, and she was arrested. For eight months she was held prisoner in one room of the Iolani Palace. She was charged with misprision of treason (knowing about treason and not reporting it). Her trial by military tribunal was held in the former throne room of her palace. The queen was found guilty and sentenced to a $5,000 fine and five years of hard labor. The sentence was not carried out, however. She abdicated in 1895.

On New Year's Day, 1896, Wilcox and the other royalists were released. Queen Liliuokalani was not freed until later that year. Upon her release she went to Washington and was warmly welcomed by President Cleveland. But Cleveland was unable to help her. "I am ashamed of the whole affair," he wrote later.

The queen's heir, Princess Kaiulani, died in 1899 at the age of 23. Liliuokalani continued to live in Hawaii. She regained some of her crown lands, received a pension from the state, and also had income from the properties she owned. She attended most state occasions. But she didn't attend the ceremonies marking the U.S. annexation of Hawaii because she didn't want to see the Hawaiian flag lowered and the American flag raised.

In 1917 Liliuokalani had a stroke and died in Honolulu. She was 79. Today she is remembered as the composer of over 100 songs, including the famous "Aloha Oe." There is a statue of the queen, sculpted by Marianne Pineda, at the State Capitol in Honolulu.


In 1898 Hawaii was finally annexed by the United States, and in 1900 it became a U.S. territory. On August 21, 1959 it became the 50th American state. In 1993 Congress and President Clinton formally apologized for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii.




There are many genealogies carefully preserved in the Hawaiian "Heralds College," but they are hard to reconcile in many cases (see Wharekura). The following consist of (1st) The Kumuhonua genealogy, from Kumuhonua (see Tuputupuwhenua) to Watea and Papa, who take the place of the New Zealand Rangi and Papa. The continuation is the Ulu pedigree.







Ka Moolewa








Ka Mano Lani


Ka Maka-o-ka-Lani


Ka Lei Lani


Ka La Lii




Imi Nanea


Nuu or Kahinaalii


Nalu Akua


Naeheehe Lani


Ka Hakui Moku Lei


Ke Kai Lei


Ka Haku Lani




Ka Noelo Hikina


Hele-i-ka-Moo Loa


Ke Au Apaapaa


Lua Nuu


Ku Nawao




Newenewe Maolina-i-kahiki-ku


Kaokao kalani




Aniani Kalani


Hawaii Loa Kii Kana Loa Laa Kapu


Oahu Kauai


Ku Nui Akea


Ke Lii Alia


Ke Milla


Ke Lii Ku


Ku Kalani Ehu


Papa Nui Hanau Moku, the wife of Wakea.




Wakea and Papa








































Akalana Sons: Maiu-mua Maui-hope Maui-kiikii Maui-akalana














Aikanaka Sons: Puna Hema
























































































Kamehameha (A.D. 1795)


Succeeded by-










Kalakaua (present king).


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