The Swimming Trails of Pu‘uloa Are the Trails Traveled by Ka‘ahupāhau

In 1870, native historian S. M. Kamakau wrote about several practices and beliefs pertaining to manō, sharks, in ancient life. One practice of note in the Pu‘uloa region was the practice of transforming deceased family members into manō as ‘aumakua. These family ‘aumakua would help relatives when in danger on the sea—if a canoe capsized or a man-eating shark was threatening attack. Hawaiians also worked with and tamed sharks so that one could ride them like a horse, steering them to where one wished to go.1  Kupuna Mary Kawena Pukui shared that there were two basic classes of sharks—manō kānaka: sharks with human affiliations; and manō i‘a: wild sharks of the sea, man eaters. The manō kānaka were revered and cared for, while the manō i‘a were at times hunted and killed following ceremonial observances.2 The practice of chiefs hunting sharks using the flesh of defeated enemies or sacrificial victims as kūpalu manō (shark fishing chum), and of commoners using rotted fish as kūpalu manō are further described in several historical narratives.

Ke Awalau o Pu‘uloa, “the many bays of Pu‘uloa” (Pearl Harbor), are famed in traditional and historical accounts of manō. The traditions center around the several deified sharks, foremost of whom is the goddess Ka‘ahupāhau, then followed several others, including but not limited to Kahi‘ukā , Kūhaimoana, Komoawa, Ka‘ehuikimanōopu‘uloa, Keli‘ikau-o-Ka‘ū (Kealiikauaoka‘ū), and Mikololou. With the exception of Mikololou, all these shark gods were friendly to people, and dedicated to keeping manō i‘a, wild sharks of the sea, out of the Pu‘uloa-‘Ewa waters and protecting people.

Traditions of Ke Awalau o Pu‘uloa tell us that one of the most important kānāwai governing manō was that they would not attack humans. This kānāwai was created by the shark gods themselves. In 1870, Kamakau wrote about the establishment of this kānāwai in a section titled “Alahula Pu‘uloa, he Alahele na Ka‘ahupāhau,” which means “The Swimming Trails of Pu‘uloa Are the Trails Traveled by Ka‘ahupāhau.”

Oahu was made a kapu land by this kanawai placed by [the shark gods] Kanehunamoku and Kamohoali‘i. But their sister Ka‘ahupahau broke the law and devoured the chiefess Papio. She was taken and “tried” (ho‘okolokolo) at Uluka‘a [the realm of these gods], but she escaped the punishment of death. It was her woman kahu who paid the penalty of the law because it was her fault—she reviled Papio. The trouble arose over a papahi lei of ‘ilima flowers which belonged to Ka‘ahupahau that her kahu was wearing. [The kahu refused to give it to Papio, and] Papio said, “I am going bathing, but when I come back you shall be burned with fire.” But Ka‘ahupahau devoured Papio before she could carry out her threat, and she was punished for this. That is how Pu‘uloa became a [safe] thoroughfare (alahula). After her confinement ended several years later, Ka‘ahupahau was very weak. She went on a sightseeing trip, got into trouble, and was almost killed. But she received great help from Kupiapia and Laukahi‘u, sons of Kuhaimoana, and when their enemies were all slain, the kanawai was firmly established. This law—that no shark must bite or attempt to eat a person in Oahu waters—is well known from Pu‘uloa to the Ewas. Anyone who doubts my words must be a malihini there. Only in recent times have sharks been known to bite people in Oahu waters or to have devoured them; it was not so in old times.3

Several place names commemorate the shark gods of Pu‘uloa. Among them are three recorded in the Saturday Press of December 29, 1883:

Ke‘a‘ali‘i A cave in the sea at the entrance to Pu‘uloa harbor, and known by the natives to have been formerly the home of a large shark called Komoawa, who has been generally credited as the watchman on guard at the entrance of Ka‘ahupāhau’s waters. The latter’s royal cave-dwelling was in the Honouliuli lagoon.

Kuhia loko Waiawa. Named for one of the attendants/purveyors of the shark goddess Ka‘ahupāhau.

Kuhia waho Waiawa. Named for one of the attendants/purveyors of the shark goddess Ka‘ahupāhau.

In addition to the traditions of Ka‘ahupāhau, two other accounts center around the nature of sharks in the ‘Ewa District, and battles that were fought to kill offending sharks. In the early 1820s, members of the Protestant mission station traveled to the ‘Ewa District, and learned something about the shark gods of Pu‘uloa.

Hiram Bingham accompanied King Kamehameha II (Liholiho), the royal family, and attendants to ‘Ewa in 1823, where they stayed near the shore of Pu‘uloa. During the visit, the king and party, along with Bingham, visited the dwelling place of a noted shark god. The name of the god was not recorded in Bingham’s journal, though one must infer that it was either the goddess Ka‘ahupāhau or her brother, Kahi‘ukā. Bingham wrote:

I one day accompanied the King [Liholiho] and others by boat to see the reputed habitation of a Hawaiian deity, on the bank of the lagoon of Ewa. It was a cavern or fissure in a rock, chiefly under water, where, as some then affirmed, a god, once in human form, taking the form of a shark, had his subterraqueous abode. Sharks were regarded by the Hawaiians as gods capable of being influenced by prayers and sacrifices, either to kill those who hate and despise them or to spare those who respect and worship them. It had been held that, when a mother gave her offspring to a shark, the spirit of the child dwelt in it, and the shark becoming an akua, would afterwards recognize and befriend the mother on meeting her, though ready to devour others. [4:177]

Later, in January 1825, Elisha Loomis also traveled to ‘Ewa and stayed along the Pu‘uloa shore [31]. During his visit, Loomis learned the name of the shark goddess who protected the waters of the Pearl Harbor region, and also reported hearing about a war between the good sharks and those who sought to eat human flesh. It will be noted that due to his limited Hawaiian-language skills, Loomis apparently transposed she for he in his journal.

After supper I conversed with them a long time on the subject of religion … during the conversation one of them mentioned that in former times there dwelt at Puuloa a famous shark named Ahupahau. He had a house in the hole of a rock. He was one their gods. On one occasion a strong shark 3 or 4 fathoms long came into the channel to make war upon the sharks and upon the natives that dwelt there. Ahupahau immediately communicated to the natives information advising them to get a net out and secure him. They took the hint and spread their nets, and in a little time the stranger was captured.

Loomis’s reference to a war between an invading shark coincides with the traditions of Ka-‘ehu-iki-manō-o-Pu‘uloa,4 Mikololou and Keali‘ikauaoka‘ū,5 in which battles between sharks are fought in order to protect the people of the ‘Ewa region from attacks by manō i‘a.

J. S. Emerson presented a paper titled “The Lesser Hawaiian Gods” before the Hawaiian Historical Society on April 7, 1892. In this report are details of Ka‘ahupāhau, Kahi‘ukā, and Mikololou in the history of ‘Ewa and the waters of Pu‘uloa:

One reason for the affection shown to the shark aumakua was the fact that so many of them claimed human parentage, and were related by ties of kinship to their kahus. Such was the case with Kaahupahau and her brother Kahi‘uka, the two famous shark-gods of the Ewa Lagoon on this island. Their birth and childhood differed in no essential features from that of other Hawaiian children up to the time when, leaving the home of their parents, they wandered away one day and mysteriously disappeared. After a fruitless search, their parents were informed that they had been transformed into sharks. As such, they became special objects of worship for the people of the districts of Ewa and Waianae, with whom they maintained pleasant relations, and were henceforth regarded as their friends and benefactors. After a time the man-eating shark, Mikololou, from the coast of the island of Maui, paid them a visit and enjoyed their hospitality until he reproached them for not providing him with his favorite human flesh. This they indignantly refused to give, whereupon, in spite of their protest, he made a raid on his own account upon the natives, and secured one or more of their number to satisfy his appetite. Kaahupahau and her brother promptly gave warning to their friends on shore of the character of this monster that had invaded their waters. To ensure his destruction they invited their unsuspecting guest to a feast made in his honor at their favorite resort up the Waipahu river. Here they fed him sumptuously, and at length stupefied him with the unusual amount of awa which they supplied him. While he was in this condition, their friends, who had come in great numbers from the surrounding country, were directed to close up the Waipahu river, which empties into the Ewa Lagoon, with their fish nets, brought for the purpose, while they attacked him in the rear. In his attempt to escape to the open sea he broke through one net after another, but was finally entangled and secured. His body was then dragged by the victorious people on shore and burned to ashes, but certain do got hold of his tongue, and, after eating a portion, dropped the remainder into the river. The spirit of the man-eater revived again, and, as a tongue, now restored and alive, made his way to the coasts of Maui and Hawaii, pleading with the sharks of those waters for vengeance upon the sharks of the Ewa Lagoon. They meantime secured the aid of Kuhaimoana and other notable sharks from the islands of Kaula, Niihau, Kauai, and Oahu. A grand sight it was to the numerous spectators on the shore when these mighty hosts joined in combat and began the great shark-war. It was a contest of gods and heroes whose exploits and deeds of valor have long been the theme of the bards of the Hawaiian Islands… [I]n the first great battle the friends and allies of the cruel man-eater were touted by the superior force of their opponents, which the good Kaahupahau and her brother long continued to enjoy the affectionate worship of their grateful people. It is said that she is now dead, while her brother Kahi‘uka still lived in his old cave in the sea, where he was visited from time to time by his faithful kahu, Kimona, now deceased. Sometimes Kimona missed his fish nets, when he was pretty sure to find that Kahi‘uka had carried them to a place of safety, to preserve them from destruction by hostile sharks.6

Noted Hawaiian scholar Mary Kawena Pukui wrote about visits she made to ‘Ewa and the Pu‘uloa region in 1907. She observed that the name Ka‘ahupāhau could be translated as “Cloak well cared for,” and that her place in the history of the land is commemorated in the saying, “Alahula Pu‘uloa he alahele na Ka‘ahupahau, Everywhere in Pu‘uloa is the trail of Ka‘ahupahau” [25].

The role of Ka‘ahupāhau as a goddess and guardian in the waters of the Pu‘uloa bays is still in the minds of Hawaiians in the present day. Her brother Kahi‘ukā, whose name means “The smiting tail,” is also remembered, and it is said that with his great tail, Kahi‘ukā was responsible for destroying any foreign sharks “that offended his sister” Ka‘ahupāhau [25:57–58]. His cave is reported in several locations, including Dry-dock No. 1, between Moku‘ume‘ume and Keanapua‘a, and in Waiawa estuary.7 The cave, destroyed in the construction of Dry-dock No. 1, was once his home.8


1S. M. Kamakau, January 6, 1870; Pukui, translator, 1976.
2M. K. Pukui, personal communication to Kepā Maly, 1976.
3S. M. Kamakau; Pukui, translator, 1968:73.
4W. H. Uaua, “He Moolelo Kaao no Kaehuikimanoopuuloa,” Ke Au Okoa, Dec. 1, 1870 to Jan. 5, 1871.
5“He Moolelo Kaao Hawaii no Keliikau o Kau,” Home Rula Repubalika, January 6, 1902, p. 7–8.
6J. S. Emerson, 1892:10–11.
7Manu 1895.
8For additional background on the sharks of Pu‘uloa, see Pukui and Curtis, 1961 [27].

Reference: 

Related Documents

Moolelo contain expressions of native beliefs, customs, practices, and history. The Hawaiian landscape itself is storied, and each place name is associated with a tradition—ranging from the presence and interactions of the gods with people, to documenting an event, or the characteristics of a given place. Unfortunately, today, many of those moolelo have been lost. Through the moolelo that have survived the passing of time, we are able to glimpse the history of the land and people of Honouliuli Ahupuaa.

Included here are a collection of narratives written by native Hawaiian authors and historians, as well as non-Hawaiian visitors and residents of the land during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The narratives document traditional lore and knowledge, customary practices and beliefs, and the importance of place names which have survived the passing of time. A number of the accounts come from Hawaiian-language resources which have not been previously available in English. Other citations revisit some of the better known historical accounts, while attempting to shed new light on them, with efforts made to place them in a Hawaiian cultural context based on a wide range of resource materials.

Transcripts and/or translations of the Hawaiian-language accounts are given either verbatim, or in summary for longer narratives, with emphasis on the key events—their association with akuaaina, and kanaka of Honouliuli Ahupuaa. The citations span the period from antiquity to the 1920s. We have elected to include the Hawaiian-language transcripts in an effort to provide present and future generations with easy access to these important narratives as a means of fostering ongoing cultural attachment to place, and for educational and interpretive purposes. In this way the kupuna speak for themselves, and pass their voices on to inspire continued knowledge of place, practice, and use of the native place names.

It will be noted that in a number of instances, place names originated as the names of notable figures—either gods, demigods, chiefly personages or deified ancestors—while other names describe events or particular characteristics of named locations.

Below are two interviews conducted by Kepa and Onaona Maly with Aunty Arline Wainaha Puulei Brede-Eaton. Aunty Arline grew up in Puuloa and has been an incomparable resource. The first interview was done in 1997 and the second was in 2011.


The following information is a paraphrased summary of historical recollections collected during an informal interview conducted by Kepa Maly on March 4, 1997 with Arline Wainaha Puulei Brede-Eaton, a.k.a. Aunty Arline and Kupuna Eaton. Aunty Arline gave her permission for release of the interview records during the meeting and interview with Sister Thelma G. Parish on May 2, 1997. The information was collected as a part of the effort to develop a site preservation plan in conjunction with proposed development on a parcel of property on the Ewa Plain, in the land of Honouliuli. The property is generally situated on the coastal flats, between Oneula and Kualakai, and while the area has been impacted by cattle ranching and WWII military operations, a number of native Hawaiian cultural sites still remain on the property.

Born in 1927, Aunty Arline has lived in Puuloa nearly all of her life. Aunty’s hanai parents had been going to the Puuloa vicinity for years—Papa Brede oversaw ranch operations for the Dowsetts—and by the time Aunty was born, had bought land and built a home at Puuloa. Initially the family spent weekends and holidays at Puuloa, living in Kalihi on weekdays. Aunty observed that many of her earliest memories are of her days at Puuloa, and today she is one of the oldest longtime native Hawaiian residents remaining on the land.

In those early days, Aunty recalls that they were among the few families living in the area. Besides her family, Dowsett Ranch had about 12 cowboys, all Hawaiians, and their families. Few other people lived in the area. When asked about her recollections of life and activities in those early years, Aunty Arline shared the following memories:

Interviewee   Arline Wainaha Puulei Brede-Eaton (AE)
Interviewer  Kepa Maly (KM)
Date  March 4, 1997

The whole region was our playground, we’d go to Keahi, go by canoe to Laulaunui and fish, and in the other direction, we’d walk as far as Kalaeloa. As children, we’d never think twice about walking anywhere, the distance was nothing. We would walk from Puuloa to the shore at (Ke) Oneula, and then on to Kualakai, and along the way we would gather limu (sea-weed). There was limu kohu, lipoa, and eleele, and the fish were so plentiful, not like now. We’d catch oio, kala, weke, moana, uu, and all kinds of fish. It was a good place. Back when I was a child, there was more sand also, the entire shoreline was like the beach at Barber’s Point. Today, the shoreline has all of that craggy coral, before had sand between the coral and the water. Things have changed now, I don’t know why.

While no one was living full time out between Keoneula and Kualakai, there were families that would come out for several months at a time. Sort of like my dad them, they’d work in town or somewhere else, and set up temporary residence on the beach. They didn’t own the land, but they would go out and stay for certain periods of time. The people would fish, gather limu, and make paakai (salt). Other than that though, there was no one living out here. There was not much activity in the area behind the shore. I don’t remember that there were cattle back there, and the sugar ended further inland. The CPC had a camp down by Keoneula, and in from there, there was an old piggery and the old chicken farm. The chicken farm was run from around the early 1930s to 1970.

In response to several questions, Aunty offered the following recollections and comments.

KM: When you’d go out into the area of the proposed Haseko development, did you ever hear your parents or any of the old cowboys speak about Hawaiian sites or any stories in the area?

AE: I don’t remember hearing too much about any of the history in the area, but I do remember being told that there were some heiau in the area. I think that site (Site 3209) in the Haseko property, the one that will be included in the preservation plan, the coral stone platform is one of the heiau sites. I remember being told that the heiau in this area were good heiau, the kind used for fishing, rain, and agriculture.

KM:  Where did people get water from when they were out there?

AE: There’s water out there, its wai kai, but we were used to that water, not like today. You can tell that there’s water there along the shore, you can see it bubbling up, and the limu eleele will only grow where there is fresh water coming out of the papa (reef flats). And you know, when I was young, there was a lot more water in the ponds back there. People don’t believe me, but I remember when I was a child, there was a lot of water there.

KM: Do you remember the wetlands?

AE: Yes. That’s the place where Captain Kealakai’s moopuna and I would go play. The water went far across the flats there. If I’m not mistaking, I think it went all the way behind the Barber’s Point beach area. The place was clean too, not like now. There were no kukus (thorns), and used to have plenty manu. We’d go swim in the ponds back there, it was pretty deep, about two feet, and the birds were all around. There were koloa (native ducks) and aeo (native stilts), and people don’t believe this, but there were also iwa. I remember that when they were nesting, I would see their red chests puff out. It seems like when there were storms out on the ocean, we’d see them come into the shore, but they’re not around anymore. The wet land would get bigger when there was a lot of rain, and we had so much fun in there, but now the water has nearly all dried up. They even used to grow wet-land taro in the field behind the elementary school area when I was young.

KM: Do you remember if people made salt out in the project area, maybe by the ponds, or along the shore? Or was it pretty much out at Puuloa?

AE: Well, the big salt making area had been at Puuloa, and some salt was still being made in the ponds there. I do remember that when we’d go fishing, we, and other families would gather salt from the Keoneula area. The paakai was made in the natural kaheka (salt bowls) along the shore there.

KM: Are there any other kupuna, or other old-timers that you could recommend for me to try and speak with about this land?

AE: I am one of the few older people still around. But as I mentioned to you before, Sister Parish (Ms. Thelma Parish) is a good friend of mine. She’s a descendant of the Dowsett family, and is very knowledgeable about the area. I tried to call her last week to see if she could join us in the meeting today, but she’s been away. The Mitsuyasu family are old time residents, they had the first store out here, and someone of them may have some information that could be useful. Also, Ted Farm is very knowledgeable about the marine and fishing resources. I’ll try to find out if there is anyone else that might be around, and I’ll also keep trying to contact Sister Parish.

KM: Would you be interested contributing some of your manao and recommendations to the development of the preservation plan to protect and interpret the cultural sites in the Haseko property?

AE: I am very interested in participating in the preservation plan. I feel that I need to because this is my home, and it is important to care for our cultural resources.


Kupuna Arline Eaton was born in Honolulu in 1927. Shortly after birth, she was taken by her kupuna, Kaniela and Malia Kealoha, to be raised in the Keahi vicinity of Puuloa, near the entrance of Ke Awalau o Puuloa (Pearl Harbor). Her kupuna had lived in the Puuloa-Honouliuli area for years, and from them, she learned about the land, storied places, practices and the importance of respecting the akua and aina.

Kupuna Eaton is also tied to the Lanai families who helped raise Kepa Maly, and they have known one another for many years. She has participated in a number of oral history interviews with Maly, participated in the 1997 interview conducted by Maly with Sister Thelma Parish. Both kupuna were known to one another since childhood, though Sister Parish was the older of the two. Together, their stories confirm and share rich facets of history for the Ewa District.

This interview with Kupuna Eaton was conducted as part of a larger Traditional Cultural Properties Study for the larger Ewa District, but brings important traditional knowledge of Honouliuli, and shares native values for keeping history alive. Kuuwainani Eaton, moopuna of Kupuna Eaton, kindly assisted with the review and release of the oral history transcript. The interview was kindly released for public access on October 21, 2011.

The following is a summary of several topics that were discussed with Kupuna Eaton:

•  Families lived through the practice of kuapo—fish, limu, and salt from the sea; taro and other vegetable crops from the land. Fishers and farmers exchange the products of their labor as sustained by the natural resources around them.
•  Kupuna were careful when discussing certain traditions and beliefs.  They were particularly cautious about disclosing the locations of resource gathering/collection sites for fear that others might hana ino the resources.
•  It was the practice of the kupuna to take only what was needed, and leave the rest for another time. When more was taken from the ocean than needed, the practice of was engaged in. Things were never wasted.
•  It is important to speak the proper place names of the land. Don’t change the names. The land will live when the history of the land is passed on and respected.
•  The shark goddess Kaahupahau, was still known during Kupuna Eaton’s childhood. Her elders took her to see Kaahupahau, and visit noted places of the shark goddess’s family.
•  Kupuna Eaton believes that it is best to leave ilina in place. If for some reason, this cannot happen, the families of the land should be involved in the decision-making process, and the reinternment should take place in an area close to the place of origin. They were placed in their ilina for a reason, and should be allowed to continue their journey in peace.
•  Kupuna were usually buried on the aina where they came from, and they in turn guarded their descendants that followed on the aina.
•  The land is still sacred, even if sites have been altered or removed. The land remains important and is a part of the history of the Hawaiian people.


Interviewee Arline Wainaha Puulei Brede-Eaton
Interviewers Kepa Maly and Onaona Pomroy Maly
Date August 23, 2011

KM: [Provides Kupuna with background of the traditional cultural properties study; packet of maps; and oral history program.]

So, how can we ensure that the knowledge of places is passed on to future generations? Is it important that we continued to speak place names of the land? So may I just start… we’ll mahaoi a little bit… please share with us your full name, date of birth, and how you came to be familiar with Ewa and Puuloa.

AE: Well, I was born at a luau. My mama, my biological mama came from Lanai, and they were invited to a luau, the Makini side. It was for their first child. The party was going to be at Kapalama, Oahu. So my Tutu papa, my mama’s father, who was the skipper of a boat belong to the Robinson Gay family that owned Lanai brought mama and my three aunties over. Aunty Manoa, Aunty Mahoe, and Aunty Hannah. So all four of them came to 1033 Morris Lane in Kapalama. And while the party was going on mama felt uncomfortable, so she asked my aunty and them, “let’s go in the house.” And low and behold, hanau ia ka pepe, seven and one half pounds, a baby girl, and that was me.

KM: Ae.

AE: So I understand that they cleaned me up, everything, and my Aunty, Jenny Kalehua Brede… she was a Douglas from Hawaii. She married William Elia Brede. They were at the luau. And evidently, somewhere along the way, she had asked mama for the pepe. Hawaiian style is you never say no, especially if you are related. So she was there, and it was her that cleaned me, wrapped me up, and took me home to 1508 Kalihi Road. And I understand that I kept crying. And after a day or two… See that was on Saturday, and by Sunday, she said to my uncle — at that time they are aunty and uncle — “We better go down to Puuloa, to tutu’s place.” Because he [Kaniela Kealoha] was a Kahuna Pule [Reverend]. So that’s how I got down in that area, and they left me there. I stayed there until it was time for me to go to kula. I’d go back and forth. But all my early part of my years, I was there.

KM:  Yes. So Kupuna, your full name?

AE:  Arline Wainaha Kuuleialoha Nakihei Brede Eaton.

KM:  Ae. And so this luau… When was your birth date?

AE:  November 11, 1927.

KM: Hmm, you are so beautiful. So, do you recall hearing how you were brought out here to Pu‘uloa, horse, canoe, train?

AE: The Brede ohana was pretty well off. They had a kaa, so they drove all the way into the area. No more roads, so you just had to go around, and I don’t know, that’s what they said; and came all the way down to tutu’s place. Because once I got there, I realized when I got older, they didn’t even have a kaa. Tutu papa would have a canoe, a two-man canoe, and that’s how he went around. And I would go with him.

KM:  From Puuloa?

AE:  Yes.

KM: You folks lived… I’m going to pull out a map here [opening Registered Map No. 1639]. You lived near the ocean? Is that correct?

AE:  Yes.

KM: So this is an 1873 map of Puuloa. We’re down here by Kapakule, Iroquois Point.

AE:  Uh-hmm.

KM: Here’s Puuloa, the houses. And you said the church was nearby too?

AE: Yes. Oh, here’s the windmill. So it was there.

KM:  Tutu papa had his canoe and you folks would go holoholo out here?

AE: Yes. The reason for that is he didn’t have a kaa, he was a fisherman. And over here, we didn’t have that much water, so because of that, he would go into Laulaunui, all the way up there, and trade.

KM: So all the way in here? Ahh, had taro people up here, yes?

AE: Yes. That’s how they did it. Not that we didn’t have. We had dryland taro, but we shared. We would share with them, that’s how I understood it.

KM:  Ae. So poe lawaia would gather from the ocean and paakai, fish, limu like that?

AE:  Yes. And then they take it up there.

KM:  What kind of fish, you remember?

AE: Oh yes. They had kala, moi, manini, all the different kinds of fish.

KM: There were two fish in particular, which the area was famous for?

AE: The anae, yes.

KM:  They call the anae holo.

AE: Yes, yes.

KM: And there’s a story about…

AE:  The anae.

KM: Traveling?

AE:  From there, going around.

KM: Around the island?

AE: Yes. Tutu told me that. We would sit down, after pau, before going to moemoe. She would sit down and tell me stories. It wasn’t that kind like you hear, they talk about fairytales. It was true stories.

KM:  Yes, true. Even where you said up here at Laulaunui, there is a place where they called it Kapapapuhi?

AE: Yes, yes.

KM: And that famous in the story of the anae holo.

AE: Yes, that’s where it comes from. But tutu them, they don’t talk about that to other people [pauses]. Because some people they come, take everything, or else they leave the place lepo.

KM: Ae, hana ino.

AE: Yes, he doesn’t like that. If you do anything good, they are going to give you.

KM:  So if you malama?

AE: You malama. Malama ka aina, malama i ke kai.

KM:  Ae. So you take care of the land and the ocean?

AE:  Yes, they care for you. That’s why, I tell them, I ride with my tutu on Kaahupahau.

KM:  Oh, so you remember the stories of Kaahupahau?

AE: Oh yes. People think I’m crazy.

KM: So tutu still…?

AE: That thing is sharp, you know. But my Tutu mama put clothes for me, and I ride with tutu on her back. [taps the table, like the side of a canoe] They go and they tap like that [taps four times].

KM:  On the canoe?

AE: Yes, on the canoe. Then we go, I go right on top. Sit on top and we go all over.

KM: Because Kaahupahau is…?

AE: She’s the goddess.

KM:  The shark?

AE:  Yes, that’s what my tutu them say.

KM:  Still malama?

AE:  Still malama, take care of that.

KM:  Wow!

AE:  And I learned that. But like I say, when I tell people, they don’t believe me.

KM: But Kupuna, the story that you lived, that you are telling of your young life, we know that that tradition has been passed down over the generations.

AE:  That’s how.

KM:  To your tutu papa’s time and way before then.

AE:  Oh, yes, yes, way before. And like I said, there were only two of us. After that, there was Kealakai.

KM: Kealakai, and the moopuna would come with you?

AE:  Yes. They lived here too. But they were gone most of the time, him and the wife. She would teach hula. That’s why, that picture of me with the hula skirt.

KM:  Yes, yes.

AE:  That’s the reason why. Because she wanted me to learn how to [taps the table, like an ipu].

KM:  Ah, olapa.

AE: I used to think, I look funny in that. They make me dress up, and he had to wear pants too [smiling]. But we never mind. We would run around in only our panties, or run around with nothing… [recalls sneaking to go swimming at the beach with Kealakai]

KM: These are such important histories and traditions to pass down. You’ve mentioned some of the fish. You mentioned Kaahupahau. That still in your lifetime, she was an important presence on the aina.

AE:  Yes.

KM: And the ocean of Puuloa – Ke Awalau o Puuloa.

AE:  Yes.

KM:  Do you remember the saying, “Alahula Puuloa…”?

AE:  Yes [thinking], it’s in the mele, oh I forget the line.

KM:  “Alahula Puuloa, he alahele na Kaahupahau.”

AE: Yes.

KM: So you heard that as a young child?

AE:  Oh yes.

KM:  That’s one of the famous traditions of this place.

AE:  Yes.

KM:  Kaahupahau, and her brother Kahiuka.

AE:  Right.

KM:   Oh, and one other fish, the oio?

AE: Yes. There was so much before. There are so many stories for that. But see, I wasn’t the fisherman, it was Kealakai, Mekia, he was the one. But that fish was ono. It was only places that you go. Tutu would tell, “go here, go there.” Because you have to watch. The fish go to specific areas, and all the young ones, you don’t go over there. You would go to the other place where they were all grown up. And you don’t take any more than you need. We didn’t have ice box. You only take what you can eat. And if we have to, tutu would go out there, get. Then tutu would share.

KM:  Ae. Well you mention that practice, tutu would lawaia out here, and then he would kuapo?

AE:  Yes.

KM:  Exchange with the poe who would kanu…

AE:  Yes.

KM: Kalo and other things like that?

AE:  Yes.

KM: So in this area behind Kapapapuhi, the Honouliuli taro lands?

AE:  Yes. That’s where he would go way up there, up in that area.

KM: Speaking then of these place names, there are so many traditions of how places were given their names. Is it important to pass traditional place names down?

AE: Yes, especially if you know it. We need to pass it on. Because otherwise, they are going to give different names. It’s alright to have names, but they have to be the right names. Just like here, Iroquois.

KM: Is there a proper name here?

AE: Keahi. And you know what’s out there?

KM: What?

AE:  Kanuku. That’s out there [gesturing towards that opening of Puuloa].

KM: Kanuku is the entry, yeah?

AE:  Yes, coming into that. We’re not too far away from there. And that’s where I stayed, out there.

KM: Hmm.

AE: Right there where that entrance is coming in. And the thing is, even though we lived there, we moved on [gestures walking along the coast]. Tutu would have a hale over there. Because certain kinds of fish, you go over there.

KM: So seasonally you knew where to go?

AE: Yes. Nobody else lived in the area, but we have to keep it clean. You cannot go in there with your dirty feet. Everything has to be clean. They always had another hale on the side, and that one, you can sit down and eat. And even that has to be clean.

KM:  Sure, like hale kahumu, hale kuku?

AE:  Yes.

KM:  Where they would eat and prepare their food.

AE:  Yes.

KM:  So your hale moena would be separate where you would sleep?

AE:  Yes. And you never needed door. Before, never had all kind bugs until much later. We didn’t know what that was. We never had such a thing. Then they brought the pipi in. Sometimes they ask me why I don’t eat meat. I say, we only ate what was in the ocean. I didn’t die.

KM:  No.

AE:  Even water. When I go down into kula, I had a hard time. I had to take my own water from there. It was brackish.

KM:  Get flavor, yeah [chuckles]

AE: Yes. And then all of them teased me. [Describes going to school and old-style clothes made by her tutu, which she wore, while others had modern clothes.]

KM: So Kupuna, you have this wonderful experience as a child, growing up in this area here. And tutu would come into this section, West Loch, Laulaunui, the Honouliuli-Hoaeae section; did you folks travel to other places? And do you remember hearing stories… What they are planning is to build this rail which will go through various places. Much of it used to be kuleana, and now everything is all changed.

AE: Yes, that’s right.

KM: So you mentioned once, the place names, as an example, Kalauao.

AE:  Yes.

KM: You said you knew it by another name.

AE: Oh, we spoke about it before. I think it’s written in a book, but you have to go look back. And that’s how I knew that name, during that time. Not Kalauao. It’s a river or a stream that came down.

KM: It is interesting. And on these maps that I’m leaving with you, they go back far, and they show traditional ahupuaa boundaries, which run from the kai for the lawaia, all the way the way to the piko of the mountain.

AE:  Yes.

KM: So they have the large names, and then there are the small names like Kaonohi, Paaiau or Waipahu, which is a small section in Waikele, yeah?

AE:  Yes. Well, I still say that the area now called Waipahu was named by the plantation manager. That’s what my tutu them said. That’s why I keep saying, “It isn’t Waipahu. It’s Waikele.”

KM:  Yes, the ahupuaa.

AE:  That’s what it is, that area. Well, if they want to name that little area. But now…

KM: Yes, they gave the whole name. Kupuna, when we go through the oldest, oldest moolelo and land records, we actually see that Waipahu is a small spring…

AE:  Yes, that’s what it is.

KM: So when the plantation came in, they did just what your Tutu papa said, they took that name. The mill was just a little above there. So they called the whole thing Waipahu.

AE: Yes, that’s right.

KM: So, is it important to speak the names of places?

AE: Yes. That’s why I say Waikele, and Waipahu is just that place. And Kaahupahau used to go in that area. I remember that. Because we would go, my tutu and I would go in that area, go and see. And you see her swimming around there.

KM:  Mano? This big mano?

AE: Oh yes. Yes, that’s why I was telling you. I would get on with my tutu. But people don’t believe me.

KM: Well, that’s okay. Your moolelo is consistent with stories that have been handed down over the generations. And not only here, but other places too… All these stories.

AE:  Yes, and it’s beautiful. I don’t think people understand that, the history.

KM: Yes. Because people don’t understand the history and it is so important to pass it on [pauses]; if this rail project goes through, would a recommendation be to — Take the history from each of these lands and somehow include it into the stories that are being told. Like, they are going to have stations for where the train is going to stop.

AE:  Yes.

KM: Should they put, like our little museum on Lanai, should they put interpretive things that tell you the stories of the land and people?

AE:  Yes.

KM: Maybe even in Hawaiian and English?

AE: Yes, yes.

KM: Like at Waimalu and the story of Maihea and his son who rode the whale from Puuloa.

AE: Maihea, yes. I like that because that way that area will live, it will still be there. It’s not something, that’s what it was before and nobody knows anything about it. Because as it is now, if you look around, everything we have is not ours.

KM:   Ae, nalowale.

AE: Yes. So there we go. So some say, “Why do you tell them everything?” I say if we don’t do it, they going wipe everything out. We tell so that our children will know. So when people come over here, they know what that area is [tapping the table for emphasis].

KM:  So the time for huna is kind pau, yeah?

AE: Yes. Otherwise it will be gone. Then they tell me, “Oh, you getting paid by Haseko.” I said “I don’t get paid by them… ” I fight them all the time. But then God told me, in my prayer, “Get over there. Get over there and find out how you can help.”

KM:  Ae, when you Kokua…

AE: It’s going to be good.

KM:  Yes. So Kupuna, these place names like Waipio, Waikele, Waiawa…

AE:  Waimano.

KM: Yes, and Manana.

AE: See, like Manana, they call that Pearl City. Different. I ask why? Why did they have to give other names like that? It has a name; there is a reason why each one was given. And I am sure that if Aunty Lahilahi [Webb] was living, she would really raise the roof.

KM:  Ae. Well, you will love the moolelo that we are compiling. [Discusses nature of research and collection of Hawaiian records into the study.]

AE: There is a reason for those names. Like go over there to the elementary school, and do a little presentation about the area, and they wanted me to sit down and write all that. So I don’t mind telling them about all that. They should know what their area is about.

KM:  Each place name tells a story.

AE:  Yes.

KM: Is it true that place names were given for a reason?

AE: Yes, they are. Why do they give that name? Like they said, Puuloa. It doesn’t have a hill or anything. But I said “no, doesn’t mean because it’s a hill.” There is a reason for that. Why it comes like that. All the waters come, and there is a reason for it going around.

KM:  Ae, Waiau.

AE: Yes, the swirling waters. Each one has a name. Every single one has a name, and why. The swirling waters, the curving waters, you know.

KM:  Yes. Waipio, Waimano, Waimalu.

AE: Yes, every single one. And I believe that if you really knew anything about it, you would know over there, you would see it. And that’s why you would have all the oysters in that area.

KM:  Ae, the pipi, nahawele, okupe.

AE: Yes, the pipi, good kind. [speaking softly and smiling] I used to go over there, carry the basket over there that tutu them had. But it doesn’t mean anything to anybody else. To me it does. [chuckles] I never looked at what was in there [the little pearls], for me it was what was in there to eat. That’s what I liked, ono!

KM: Hmm. Well, the example of the story with the pipi like that, and they said that you had to “hamau ka leo.”

AE:  Yes.

KM:  You couldn’t talk when you go.

AE: And it’s true. Even when tutu went out, even to go fishing, aole. [gestures, finger to her lips] Hamau. And that’s how you see it coming up, it’s quiet. And it makes sense. You make big noise; they’re all going to disappear. This way [quiet] they’re all coming out, and you choose.

KM: So you take the one you need and leave the rest.

AE:  Yes.

KM: And they say that there was a goddess, a moo?

AE:  Yes.

KM:  Kanekuaana?

AE:  Yes.

KM: And she controlled that.

AE: Yes. She watched, watched over that.

KM: So amazing. This nice old map shows Mokuumeume, even with some of the planted fields, because people lived out here.

AE: Oh yes, had people out here. [looking at map depicting Mokuumeume] I used to like going over here. Because on this particular island, Paahana, the ohana lived in this area.

KM: Paahana?

AE: Yes, you've heard of her. The one from the song.

KM: Yes, oh the one the song is about?

AE:  Yes.

KM:  What’s the song, you remember?

AE:  [thinking] Oh, you sing it for me.

KM:  [singing] He mele keia no Paahana, kaikamahine, noho kuahiwi…

AE:  Yes, yes, that’s it. Now you sing that, I’m going to cry. I cannot help; it reminds me… that’s one of the places that we knew of. My tutu always said, “You go there, malama, take care.” Like what Tutu mama said, what they did to her, that’s not right.

KM:  Yes. And her name lives on in the song by speaking it, and the others are forgotten.

AE:  Yes. That’s right, still lives on. But you know, if I talk to anybody else, it doesn’t mean anything to them. But I like it, I go to certain places, I sing. And my moopuna, tutu sing that again.

KM:  So relative to these aina of the Ewa District, did you ever hear of any heiau around the bays that you remember? And I know that they may not have always spoken about those things. But do you remember?

AE:  I do, but I’ve never really talked about it, because people don’t believe.  No matter what I tell them, so I say, “no use.” They’re not interested in that. That’s why when they have this fellow that talks and goes to the board [asks that his name not be used in the transcript]; he’s telling this, this and that, all that kind. But I don’t say anything. As long as he doesn’t go fool around with my tutu them.

KM:  Yes.

AE:  As long as he doesn’t, I’m not saying a word. If he wants to go, go ahead. But I know different people that were buried in Ewa.

KM:  Well, speaking of that, what are your thoughts about what happens if they are digging the rail and they find iwi? What should happen?

AE:  Well to me, I’m thinking, I know that when the dig up, they are going to find. There was a reason for it being put there.

KM:  Since there was a reason for them being buried there, is that a reason to leave them alone? To leave them in place?

AE: If they could do it, I would say yes. I know it’s not easy, because how they going to work that rail? So something has to be done.

KM: To honor or to respect?

AE:  Yes, to respect them. Have something to honor them.

KM:  A marker or something to indicate…?

AE:  So if they take that iwi, give them a place where they can… Because they’ve been there, way before this thing ever came up.

KM: So Kupuna, e kala mai. Should they be…? If ohana come together and agree, “Okay let’s gather them respectfully," should they put near where they came from or move them down to “Lala land” somewhere else?

AE:  If there is a way where they could be within that area, there’s a reason for it.

KM: So keep them close to where they belong?

AE:  Many of them are buried in those areas because that’s where they’re from.

KM: Yes.

AE:  And it was like they guarded that area for their ohana.

KM: So even though they are dead, they are not gone?

AE:  That’s right.

KM: So their spirit, their aloha for family remains on the land?

AE:  Yes.

KM:  And they protect or watch out for their…

AE:  Family.

KM:  The generations.

AE:  That’s why in this area, they talk about they hear spirits and all kinds of stuff. Maybe they do. I don’t hear it, but in this school, even them, they tell. I pule.

KM:  Yes. This is your ohana.

AE:  That’s why.

KM:  So that also being said, that whole connection to Leilono at Aliamanu and Kapukaki, all the way to Honouliuli, the leaping place of the spirits.

AE:  That’s right.

KM: This was a place of spirits.

AE:  I know.

KM: And if you hana ino them, what?

AE: Pilikia. I’ve seen some, and they tell me when you hana ino like that, you going be like that. Sometimes they get hooio, you cannot be like that, because they are there. But they are the spirits; they probably had no place to go, so that’s where they came.

KM:  Yes, some, they auwana out at Kaupea, Kanehili.

AE: Yes. That’s why I say, “If you don’t hana ino them, they’re good.” But you have to know how. You have to pray, and you talk to them.

KM:  Tutu folks said mihi, mihi aku, mihi mai.

AE: Yes, that’s how. And that’s what I did with my kula [school]. In the beginning they were scared. But you cannot do that. If you want, they can help. I said, “I have no problem, it’s you folks.” Before, they hear the door slam, anything. But now, no more. And we don’t say anything to the new people. They just go merrily along with us. But all of these things are very important.

Oh, this map is wonderful [looking at Register Map No. 1639].

KM: Quite beautiful, 1873, of the Puuloa region. Entrance of the harbor, Kanuku, and where your tutu lived. And across is Halawa. Do you remember Water Town?

AE:  Oh yes, by that… what do the call that military base over there?

KM: Hickam?

AE: Hickam, that’s where Water Town was, as they called it.

KM: Do you remember hearing why Water Town was built?

AE:  [thinking] During that period of time, it didn’t come until… You know Moanalua?

KM: Yes.

AE: There was an overflow, so all people in that area. So they had to move down. How I know is because my dad and he [Damon] were good friends. That’s why, even living in Kalihi, I wonder how we lived in that place, because it’s all Kamehameha lands. Below and above.

KM: [reviews Honolulu region place names] Many of the place names refer to notable people of earlier times.

AE: You write a book about those types of things.

KM: Well, it’s all from talking with kupuna, like you, and when we sat down and spoke with Sister Parish.

AE:  Yes.

KM: And then going through the old native newspapers like that. Your kupuna were such prolific writers. And they were writing because they wanted the history remembered.

AE: Yes, that’s what it was. That’s what they wanted. They wanted people to know, it’s our land. Even though you may have taken it away from us, we still know the area.

KM:  So tutu, as you said, even though it has been taken away, it is still your land.

AE:  Yes.

KM:  It is your kupuna.

AE:  Yes.

KM: So even if the physical remains of the heiau are gone, is the place still important?

AE:  I look at it that way. A good example is, I just went out with this girl. She was looking at the place where Kapolei is. On the right hand they have the place where the kupuna can go. They have a nice place over there. A community center. It’s across the street, so this girl took me there, she wanted to know about that area. So I was telling here from the ocean, all the way up to where we were. I said, “there was a heiau right here.” And the only reason why I know that is because we would have to go down there. Mekia and I. When we would go down to my auntie’s place.

KM:  That was by Kualakai?

AE: Yes, the Kualakai area, because we were going to Kalaeloa. So there was a heiau over there. And that’s where, actually before, they were going fishing, and they had an ahu out there. And I remember that. And Mekia would say, “we go over there, go swim.” I would say “no, tutu said we’re not supposed to go over there.” He’d say, “what tutu?’ “The one over there at Kalaeloa,” Naauao. That’s the one married to Fred Robins. So he tells me “okay.” But when I turn around a look, he’s gone, going over there, and he waves at me, from where the heiau is. Had ahu in that area. But it was interesting. Even though they had that ahu over there, where the girl took me, I said, “You come right up to this area here, the heiau comes all the way.”

KM:  So at Puu o Kapolei, had the heiau there looking down to the ocean?

AE: Yes, yes, that’s right. That’s what I was trying to tell her. That’s what I remembered. I don’t know if anybody else knows about that, because it’s all empty.

KM: Yes, when the military took over, and the plantation above cleared everything, so much was lost. Even when they began quarrying at Puu o Kapolei, they destroyed part of the heiau.

AE:  Yes. All of that all went.

KM:  They don’t think.

AE:  They don’t.

KM:  So tutu, even if we don’t see the physical remains there is still importance on the land?

AE:  Oh yes.

KM: Do you remember when we were sitting with Sister Parish also, one of the very interesting things that she shared was the story about the priest Ka‘opulupulu?

AE:  Oh yes.

KM: And his son, Kahulupue.

AE:  That was true you know.

KM:  And how Kahahana, the king…

AE:  Yes.

KM: The father, Kaopulupulu ran here to Puuloa into the ocean.

AE:  That’s right.

KM:  And what happened?

AE:  You remember her talking to you about that time?

KM: Yes.

AE:  When she was talking about that, I was surprised that she even told, shared it with other people.

KM:  Yes.

AE:  Afterwards I asked her, “How do you know all of this?” She just said, “Because I know, tutu told me.” And she said, “I believe in it.”

KM:  I remember that her tutu, Mii, out Kualoa side was a kahuna.

AE:  Yes, and that’s who it was.

KM:  [Reviews story of Kahekili, Kahahana, Kaopulupulu and Kahulupue and the prophecy of Puuloa.]

AE:  That’s why Kahahana got killed.

KM:  That’s right, he got killed here at Kalauao by the place, Kukiiahu.

AE:  Kukiiahu. But I cannot talk to other people, because they do not know, yeah.

OM/KM:  Yes.

AE:  And now you talk about it, it brings back memories. In the beginning, I have to think about what you are talking about. But now I know. Sister Parish and I would sit down, and I’ve got her paper, you know.

KM:  I’m so glad that you got them. She was working so hard because she wanted to publish her book, but she didn’t live long enough. So it is very important that it not be lost. It was her passion.

AE:  Yes. And she made sit there by the hours, reading… Beautiful.

KM:  Yes, and I thought you would enjoy some of these different maps. They are good for some of the work that you do with the haumana.

AE:  Yes.

AE/KM:  [Discusses genealogical background; work at the Kauhale preservation site on the shore of Honouliuli; and her own kupuna buried at Kawaiahao. Looking through photos and talking story.]