Land Use, Crops, and Resources Identified in Claims from Honouliuli

In addition to naming traditional residents and noted places of Honouliuli, the records of the Māhele ‘Āina also provide us with important information on residency, land use practices, physical features—today’s cultural sites, and some of the plants or resources which were tended as food crops by the people who lived on the land. While there do not appear to be any direct references to lands now within the boundaries of the Haseko Development or for the cultural resources which are under the stewardship of the Hoakalei Cultural Foundation, there are important descriptions of agricultural practices in neighboring coastal lands and similar environments. The descriptions help us form an image of how people lived on the land, and actually provide us with a template for interpretation of some resources in the three preservation areas.

On December 13, 1847, Nahuawai, a native tenant of Pu‘uloa, Honouliuli, wrote a description of agricultural practices and features he claimed at Keahi, in the ‘ili of Pu‘uloa, near the Pearl Harbor entrance. The record, in Hawaiian, states

I ka poe hanohano na Luna Hoona Kumu Kuleana aina o ko Hawaii nei pae aina. Aloha oukou. Ke hai aku nei au ia oukou i ko‘u kuleana hale, a kula hui. Me keia ka hui ana, aole i ike pono ia ke kuauna elike me ka loi kalo, i ka poopoo pohaku e kanu ai kekahi, i kahi kaheka kekahi, lele wale aku no i kela wahi i keia wahi.

Eia ko‘u hale ma Keahi i Puuloa, Ewa, Mokupuni Oahu. Eia kona mau palena, ma ka Akau he kula e ku ana i kau haha paakai, ma ka Hikina ko Naunau ana puni, ma ka Hema ke kai, ka ke Komohana ke ana puni o Mahiole.

16 makahiki ko‘u noho ana i keia kuleana hale. O wau no me ka mahalo kau kauwa hoolohe.

Na Nahuawai.

The translation of the record is below.

To the Honorable Commissioners who Quiet Land Claims. Aloha to you. I hereby tell you of my house and combined kula parcel claim. The combined boundaries are not known like those of the banked walls of loi kalo (taro pond fields), the planting is done in hollows of rocks, and in kaheka (small brackish water ponds) and are scattered about at various places.

Here is my house at Keahi in Puuloa, Ewa, Island of Oahu. Here are its boundaries: towards the North, a kula parcel where my haha paakai (salt gathering beds) are situated; towards the East, surrounded by Naunau; towards the South, the sea; towards the West, surrounded by Mahiole.

My residency at this house claim has been for 16 years. I am with appreciation, your obedient servant.

By Nahuawai2

1Native Register, Vol. 5, Number 6132, Puuloa, Ewa, December 13, 1847, p. 243–244.

2Translated by Maly.

Related Documents

The native tenant land claims from the Native Register for lands in Honouliuli can be found here. The claim number or helu is given, followed by the name of the claimant, and the name of the land area. The Native Register contains the claims submitted by the person who occupies the land. This includes a description of the location of the land, as well as what has been developed on the land—houses, taro patches, gardens, etc. The native testimony and foreign testimony contain statements from residents in the area which verify the statements of the claimant made in the Native Register. A few of the claims were not awarded. Click the Category link for Land Commission Award below to see the claims for Honouliuli.

The accompanying images are of two kinds. The first kind is the notes of survey which formed the records of the Mahele Award Books. They include metes and bounds and plot plans of the parcels surveyed for native tenants. The specific land names and parcels, plot plan maps, and, if provided, additional notes (e.g. names of people and places, or descriptions of features) which supplement the register and testimony volumes are cited.

The second kind of images included are the Royal Patents issued on Mahele Aina Awards. Upon agreement of the land areas to be awarded, surveys were conducted and recorded. The king issued Royal Patents in confirmation of the land areas to awardees. The original documents are presented. The figure captions include the royal patent number (Palapala Sila Nui Helu), the LCA number (Kuleana Helu), the awardee, land area and description, date, signatory parties, and source. The documents are not transcribed, but may be read from the original patents. In some instances, additional place names which were not identified in the earlier records were also cited in the claims; those place names are cited in the land description from each patent. Click the Category link for Royal Patent to see those issued for Honouliuli.

The notes of survey and Royal Patent associated with a Land Commission Award can be navigated to through links under Related Images on each Land Commission Award page.

The following plants and other resources are noted in Mahele claims.

Akaakai bulrushes.
Hala  the pandanus tree.
Huluhulu (pupulu) cotton.
Kalo taro.
Kou  the Cordia tree.
Laau kalakala (Laau lapalapa)  the prickly pear cactus/panini.
Mahiki   coastal grass.
Paakai salt.
Pa waina   grape vineyard.
Uala   sweet potatoes.  
Ulu   breadfruit tree.
Ulu niu coconut grove.

In addition, there are various land features and land use terms in the claims.

Aina Nahelehele   overgrown land, fallow land.
Alanui  trail or roadway in modern context.
Alahele  trail.
Alanui Aupuni  Government Road.
Apana  parcel, portion, section of land.
Auwai irrigation channel.
Awaawa (awawa)  a gulch or ravine, wet or dry.
Hale halawai  meeting house.
Hale kula schoolhouse.
Hale pule church (Hale pule Katolika – Catholic Church).
Ili a section of land, usually running maukamakai, within an ahupua‘aIli usually had smaller land divisions, tended by the people within them.
Kahawai  stream or gulch, may be a wet or dry valley.
Kahakai beach or shoreline.
Kaheka  brackish or anchialine ponds.
Kahua hale/Pahale  house sites and house lots.
Kai ocean, salt water or fishery.
Kihapai  a garden, agricultural patch, may be wetland or dry land.
Kio liilii small pond in which juvenile fish or kalo might be raised.
Kio pua  small pond in which fingerling fish were kept, usually mullet.
Kio pua hooholo  small pond in which pua, juvenile fish, were released.
Kio wai  a freshwater pond.
Koele a small tract of land which was cultivated for the chief.
Konohiki the chief or overseers of a given land.
Kula traditionally, a flat open land area, also a dry land agricultural parcel. In the late 1800s, the term kula became synonymous with a pasture area. In most cases the Honouliuli claims which reference kula are describing an agricultural parcel.
Kula alialia  salt beds.
Kula mahiai a cultivated kula parcel.
Kula nohu  a dry land section of land on which nohu plants grew.
Loi  pond fields.
Loi akaakai ponds in which bulrushes were grown. The ‘aka‘akai was used as thatching for houses and in weaving.
Loko ia  fishpond.
Lokkalo  a brackish water fishpond in which kalo was also grown.
Moo aina (moo)  a strip of land usually running maukamakai, and used as an agricultural parcel.
Muliwai estuary.
Pa  wall or fence, also a lot or enclosed area for a house or planted area.
Paahao as a land term, the paahao lots were those which were worked by prisoners or others who were repaying some debt to society. The produce usually went to the support of the government or konohiki of a given land. Paahao lots were retained as government property.
Pa aina  land division walls.
Pa aina a ke Aupuni  land division wall made by the government, marking off parcels of land in which the government held an interest.
Pa pohaku  stone wall.
Pali cliff.
Pa puaa a pig enclosure.
Pa uala  sweet potato field.
Poalima literally “Friday.” By Kingdom law, certain Fridays were set aside for people to work on parcels of land for the king. The produce of the labor went to support the king and his household.
Puuone a dune-banked fishpond; such ponds were found in areas where sandy banks formed.

The Hoakalei Cultural Foundation (HCF) seeks to provide the public with access to the rich history of Honouliuli Ahupuaa—bringing traditional and historical documentation that has time depth, and that is factual, to the attention of all who care for this land. The research is being conducted in a wide range of archival collections, and incorporates primary—first account—documentation from both Hawaiian- and English-language resources.

As a part of that research, Kepa Maly and Onaona Pomroy Maly completed a review of all the original land title records of the Hawaiian Kingdom recorded during the Mahele Aina (Land Division) between the years 1847 and 1855. For the first time, all of the Mahele records have been compiled in one collection, and the original Hawaiian-language documents of the Native Register and Testimony collections were translated by Kepa Maly for this program. This work was conducted over a five-week period between July and August 2012. The results provide readers with significant documentation coming from those who lived on and knew the land in a traditional manner. The Mahele documents describe land use, residency, and the practices of the families of Honouliuli and its smaller land subdivisions. With this information, we are able better to understand the history and cultural landscape of Honouliuli. While much has changed in the last 170 years, the spirit of place, the named places, and lives of those who came before us are still present on the land. Their history adds value to our own lives and community.

All told, 436 Mahele documents were found for Honouliuli; no additional Mahele claims for Honouliuli are known to exist. This total can be broken down, as follows:

105 Native Register (NR) Claim records registered by 99 native tenants;
80 Native Testimony (NT) Claim records;
99 Foreign Testimony (FT) records;
77  Mahele Award Book records; and
75  Palapala Sila Nui (Royal Patent) records.

Of the 106 native tenant claims and one chiefly claim identified from Honouliuli, 74 were awarded to the claimants or their heirs and 33 were denied.

In compiling this collection of historical land and family records from Honouliuli, we have attempted to ensure the accuracy of all citations. The original records though, are challenging. Being all handwritten, the writing is at times illegible. At other times spelling of personal and land area names vary from one record to another. We have done our best to compare the various records and maintain the highest accuracy possible. The records are organized by Helu—the original numerical sequence assigned at the time of recording the information. Also, certain important classes of information such as place names, personal names, subsistence practices, types of features, and cultural and natural resources are called out in tables and summary form for easy access to the historical information.