“We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness – and call it love – true love.” Robert Fulghum
It became a favorite retreat for members of the Hawaiian royal family.
Huliheʻe Palace was constructed in 1838 by foreign seamen using lava rock, coral, koa and ōhi‘a timbers. It was initially the private residence of John Adams Kuakini (brother of Kaʻahumanu.)
Kuakini oversaw the construction of both Mokuaikaua Church and Hulihe‘e Palace and these landmarks once shared a similar architectural style with exposed stone – both are still standing, across the street from each other in Kailua-Kona.
After Kuakini’s death in 1844, the Palace passed to his adopted son, William Pitt Leleiohoku. Leleiohoku died a few months later, leaving Hulihe‘e to his wife, Princess Ruth Luka Ke‘elikōlani.
Princess Ruth also inherited all of the substantial landholdings of the Kamehameha dynasty from her brother, Lot Kapuāiwa; she became the largest landowner in the islands.
She was godmother to Princess Kaʻiulani. At Kaʻiulani’s baptism, Ruth gifted 10-acres of her land in Waikīkī where Kaʻiulani’s father Archibald Cleghorn built the ʻĀinahau Estate.
Kamehameha IV (Ruth’s half-brother, who had visited Huliheʻe as a student at the Royal School) and Queen Emma particularly enjoyed their time vacationing at Huliheʻe, and visited the palace many times with their son, Prince Albert.
Kamehameha IV signed a lease with Princess Ruth for Huliheʻe at $200 per year, with the agreement that additions and repairs made would be deducted from the rental. (Daughters of Hawaiʻi)
The King and Queen purchased the ahupuaʻa of Waiaha; in 1858 they moved to Kona for a 4-month stay. “On Tuesday afternoon last, at half-past 4 o’clock, their Majesties and Suit embarked on board of the schooner Maria, Capt F. Multeno, for Kona, Hawaiʻi …”
“… where they intend to reside for a few months; the dryness of the atmosphere and the salubrity of the climate in that district being unrivalled in the Pacific, and temptingly inviting as a contrast to the damp and chilly air pouring over Honolulu and vicinity, through the gorge of Nuʻuanu valley during the winter season.”
“Their Majesties were accompanied by the Prince of Hawaiʻi, the Princess Victoria, H. Ex. Gov. Kekuanaoa, Mesdames Rooke, Beckley; Dr. Rooke, Messrs. Hopkins, Webster and Nielson.”
“As the vessel cast off from the wharf, a royal salute was fired from the battery on Punch-bowl bill, and as she passed H. I. M’s ship Eurdice another Royal salute was fired and yards manned.” (Polynesian, September 18, 1858)
That visit was cut short with the untimely death of Queen Emma’s hānai father, Dr Rooke. “Our late townsman TCB Rooke Esq, died of apoplexy (unconsciousness or incapacity resulting from a cerebral hemorrhage or stroke,) at Kailua, Hawaiiʻ, on Sunday the 28th Nov. ult, at 1 o’clock pm.”
“He was attacked in the first instance at about 6 o’clock in the morning of the time day, when a messenger was instantly despatched for Dr. Herrick of South Kona, who arrived without loss of time and perceived at once that the patient was beyond recovery, and approved entirely of what had been done previous to his coming.” (Polynesian December 11, 1858)
Thomas Charles Byde Rooke, MD, died November 28, 1858, six months after the Prince of Hawaiʻi was born to Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma. (Evening Bulletin, October 7, 1897)
In August 1873, shortly after being elected King, it became apparent that King Lunalilo was ill. At the urging of Princess Ruth and Queen Emma he went to Huliheʻe to recover.
Georges Phillipe Trousseau accompanied the King and stayed with Lunalilo at Huliheʻe Palace, from mid-November to the middle of January 1874. (Though not an official title, Trousseau served as royal physician.)
Lunalilo brought Henry Berger and the Royal Hawaiian Band to the palace throughout Christmas and the New Year to entertain the royalty during the holiday season.
After it became apparent that Lunalilo was not going to recover, and the royal party returned to Honolulu where Lunalilo died on February 3. (Greenwell)
Despite owning Huliheʻe Palace, Princess Ruth Keʻelikōlani chose to live in a large hale pili (traditional grass home) on the same oceanfront property.
For a home in Honolulu, she built Keōua Hale, a large, Victorian-style mansion, and the most expansive residence of the time; it was larger than ʻIolani Palace. (It was situated on what is now Central Middle School.)
Princess Ruth Keʻelikōlani never lived in the palace. She became ill immediately after the house warming and birthday luau. Her doctors recommended that she return to Huliheʻe, where they believed she would more quickly regain her health.
She received medical attention, but did not recover. On May 24, 1883, Keʻelikōlani died at the age of fifty-seven at Haleʻōlelo, her hale pili. Per her will, Huliheʻe Palace went to Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop (who died within a year of inheriting the palace.)
In about 1807, a young Hawaiian man, ʻŌpūkahaʻia, swam out to the ‘Triumph’, a China-bound seal skin trading ship anchored in Kealakekua Bay. Both of ʻŌpūkahaʻia’s parents and his younger brother had been slain during the battles on the island.
Also on board was Hopu, another young Hawaiian. They set sail for New York, stopping first in China. Russell Hubbard was also on board. “This Mr. Hubbard was a member of Yale College. He was a friend of Christ. … Mr. Hubbard was very kind to me on our passage, and taught me the letters in English spelling-book.” (ʻŌpūkahaʻia)
They landed at New York and remained there until the Captain sold out all the Chinese goods. Then, they made their way to New England.
ʻŌpūkahaʻia was eager to study and learn. He “was sitting on the steps of a Yale building, weeping. A solicitous student stopped to inquire what was wrong, and Obookiah (the spelling of his name, based on its sound) said, ‘No one will give me learning.’”
The student was Edwin Dwight. “(W)hen the question was put him, ‘Do you wish to learn?’ his countenance began to brighten. And when the proposal was made that he should come the next day to the college for that purpose, he served it with great eagerness.” (Dwight)
Later, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) formed the Foreign Mission School; ʻŌpūkahaʻia was one of its first students. He yearned “with great earnestness that he would (return to Hawaiʻi) and preach the Gospel to his poor countrymen.” Unfortunately, ʻŌpūkahaʻia died on February 17, 1818.
Dwight put together a book, ‘Memoirs of Henry Obookiah’ (the spelling of the name based on its pronunciation). It was an edited collection of ʻŌpūkahaʻia’s letters and journals/diaries. The book about his life was printed and circulated after his death.
ʻŌpūkahaʻia, inspired by many young men and women with proven sincerity and religious fervor of the missionary movement, had wanted to spread the word of Christianity back home in Hawaiʻi; his book inspired missionaries to volunteer to carry his message to the Hawaiian Islands.
In giving instructions to the first missionaries, the ABCFM, noted: “You will never forget ʻŌpūkahaʻia. You will never forget his fervent love, his affectionate counsels, his many prayers and tears for you, and for his and your nation.”
“You saw him die; saw how the Christian could triumph over death and the grave; saw the radient glory in which he left this world for heaven. You will remember it always, and you will tell it to your kindred and countrymen who are dying without hope.”
On October 23, 1819, the Pioneer Company of missionaries from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) from the northeast United States, set sail on the Thaddeus for the Hawaiian Islands – they anchored at Kailua-Kona on April 4, 1820.
Over the course of a little over 40-years (1820-1863 – the “Missionary Period”), about 180-men and women in twelve Companies served in Hawaiʻi to carry out the mission of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) in the Hawaiian Islands. Collaboration between Native Hawaiians and American Protestant missionaries resulted in, among other things, the
- Introduction of Christianity;
- Development of a written Hawaiian language and establishment of schools that resulted in widespread literacy;
- Promulgation of the concept of constitutional government;
- Combination of Hawaiian with Western medicine; and
- Evolution of a new and distinctive musical tradition (with harmony and choral singing)
On August 15, 1993, ʻŌpūkahaʻia’s remains were returned to Hawai‘i from Cornwall and laid in a vault facing the ocean at Kahikolu Church.
Saturday, February 17, 2018 marks the Bicentennial of ʻŌpūkahaʻia’s death.
Hawaiian Mission Houses will be hosting a Free Open House that afternoon.
- 10 am (HST), February 17, 2018 State-wide bell ringing;
- 10 am, Feb 17, Haili Church, Kawaiaha’o Church & Hawaiian Mission Houses;
- 10:15 am, Feb 17, Mokuaikaua Church, Henry ‘Ōpūkaha’ia Memorial Concert;
- 3 pm (Eastern) Feb 17, Remembrance at original ʻŌpūkahaʻia’s gravesite at Cornwall, CT;
- 9:30 am, February 18, 2018, commemoration services at Kahikolu Church;
- 9 am & 11 am, Feb 18, Mokuaikaua Church Services, Speaker to discuss Life of ‘Ōpūkaha’ia;
- 10 am, Feb 18, service at Henry ‘Ōpūkaha’ia Memorial Chapel/Hokuloa Church, Punalu‘u;
- 10 am (Eastern), February 18, 2018 Services at UCC Cornwall;
- 6 pm, February 17, 18, 24, 25 at Kalihi Union Church, a musical drama on life of ʻŌpūkahaʻia.
Kī, the Ti plant, was an emblem of high rank and divine power. The kāhili, in its early form, was a kī stalk with its clustered foliage of glossy, green leaves at the top.
The kahuna priests in their ancient religious ceremonial rituals used the leaves as protection. Ki planted around dwellings is thought to ward off evil. (ksbe)
To dispel evil, fresh leaves were worn around the neck, waist, and ankles and hung around dwellings. Masses of plants were planted around homes to ward off evil and bring good fortune. (CTAHR)
It is a canoe crop, brought to the Islands by the early Polynesians. Kī was considered sacred to the Hawaiian god, Lono, and to the goddess of the hula, Laka. (ksbe)
The kī leaf was a most useful article to the Hawaiians in caring for food. The leaf is long and wide (20 in. x 6 in. is an average size,) smooth, shiny, tough, and, except for the midrib, the veins are unobtrusive.
It has no odor and is clean and fresh looking. Small foods were wrapped in a ti leaf laulau piʻao, larger in a flat bundle called laulau lāwalu.
Broiling wrapped food (lāwalu) was used a great deal. Food that had been cut into pieces, or small fish that would be lost in an imu, or burned crisp if broiled, were wrapped in leaves of the ti, occasionally in leaves of the wild ginger, which is said to have added a delicious fragrance to the fish.
The leaf bundle was toasted over the open fire, turning it occasionally and the food was cooked when the juice ceased to drip from the bundle. Mullet was “cooked with such perfection that when the banana leaves in which it had been steamed were taken off, it had received hardly a slight alteration in form and color.” (Titcomb)
Lieut. James Burney and Astronomer William Bayly, while anchored off Kaua‘i in 1779 with the Cook expedition wrote: “… the natives came off with hogs and sweet potatoes in plenty, and a Root that appears like a Rotten Root of a tree, and as large as a man’s thigh. It is very much like brown Sugar in tast but Rather Sweeter – the natives call it Tee (ki or ti.)”
Ti, grown in a favorable location for many years, may have a root weighing 200 to 300 pounds. Roots on the ordinary garden ti may weigh 50 to 60 pounds.
A favorite confection years ago was kī baked in the imu for about 24 hours or until it became a sweet, brown, candy-like food. (Mitchell)
Missionary William Ellis wrote of the ti root in 1823: “The natives bake it in large ovens underground. After baking, it appears like a different substance altogether …”
“… being of a yellowish brown colour, soft, though fibrous and saturated with a highly saccharine juice. It is sweet and pleasant to the taste, and much of it is eaten in this state”.
Foreigners first fermented, and then distilled, the Kī root into an alcoholic beverage. It is said to have started when Captain Nathaniel Portlock, part of Captain Cook’s crew in 1779, baked roots in an imu to convert its starches to sugars, added water and let it ferment with wild yeast into a mild beer.
Lieut. James Burney and Astronomer William Bayly, while anchored off Kauaʻi in 1779 with the Cook expedition wrote: ‘… The Natives eat it sometimes Raw and other times Roasted. We made exceeding good Beer, by boiling it in Water, then let it ferment, so as to purge itself.’
Later, William Stevenson, an escaped convict from Australia, is credited to have taught the native Hawaiians how to distill the beer beverage into a higher alcoholic concoction. (Kepler) Due to the early means of making the drink, it took on the name ʻōkolehao (lit. iron bottom.)
“Since the perverted ingenuity of some early beachcomber first adjusted a twisted gun barrel to an iron pot, and distilled from the root of the ti this liquor to which the French Republic through the Paris Exposition of 1899 gave a blue ribbon. …”
“ʻŌkolehao has been recognized as something in which Hawaiʻi might well have a proprietary pride, because of its surpassing excellence in its class.” (Hawaiian Star, September 20, 1906)
It had its detractors … “If people will drink, let us at least see, if possible, that they drink a fair article of poison. I hold that no man ever killed his wife when under the influence of good, generous liquor. It is the “tarantula juice,” the ʻōkolehao, that does most of the mischief.” (The Friend, October 1, 1879)
Ti is a member of the agave family; botanists had previously placed it in the lily family. Besides green, the foliage of ti plants can be red, orange, purple, or various combinations of these (blue has not yet been found in ti.)
We do it every day. So, why don’t we all have the same attitude and approach when dealing with nature?
Just as you pause, then knock before entering someone’s home (seeking permission to enter) …
Exchange expressions of warm welcome …
Then remove your shoes (so as to not soil their home) …
You behave with courtesy and respect while in someone else’s home …
Courteously declining what is offered, or only taking what you need …
And repairing/replacing anything you break or take, and …
Then departing with cordial exchanges and well wishes.
So, too, is one expected to act accordingly in nature.
Hawaiians had a similar way (from Maui Group Sierra Club) …
E ui no ka ‘ae
E mahalo aku
E komo me ka hō‘ano
Enter with reverence
I ka hele aku, e hoʻomaʻamau i ka wahi
When you leave, return it as you found it
Gathering of resources from the forest and other areas was strictly controlled by three main factors:
- the values and beliefs of the Hawaiian people;
- the strict, often specialized, gathering protocols; and
- the traditional system of land use, which limited the area from which people could collect
“The Hawaiian people followed protocols when they gathered and harvested from native ecosystems. These required that the gatherers prepare themselves spiritually before setting out and that they maintain an appropriate mental attitude before, during and after collecting the desired materials.”
“The physical process of gathering always involved going about one’s business quietly, asking permission, giving thanks, and treating the plants or animals to be collected – and everything else in their environment – with respect.”
“Every aspect of the gathering process, whether mental or physical, spiritual or practical, was reflected in a single guiding principle: ‘treat all of nature’s embodiments with respect.’ The overall effect of this attitude was to minimize the impact of gathering on native ecosystems.”
“‘Entry chants’ were offered to ask permission of the forest or other plant community for entry and to protect the collector from misfortune.”
“The chants were an expression of the gatherer’s respect for and good intentions toward all of the beings that lived there, including the akua, plants, animals, rocks, streams, etc.”
“Similarly, chants were offered before any plant was collected, out of respect for the plants themselves and for the akua to whom those plants were dedicated.”
“A quiet demeanor not only displayed the appropriate attitude of respect, but it allowed the collector to be alert to signs that were ‘bad omens.’”
“For example, some signs might indicate that a particular plant should not be picked for medicinal purposes, as it might make the medicine bad.”
“Other signs might indicate that this was not the right time for collecting anything at all, and that the collector should turn around and go home.”
“Plants and plant parts were removed carefully, and one never took more than was needed. Ferns were broken carefully at the base of the frond, taking care not to uproot the plant.”
“Besides showing appropriate respect for the plant, this conservation ensured that the plant would survive and remain healthy, so that it could produce more fronds later. Similarly, other plant parts were removed in ways that minimized the impact to the plant.”
“Gathering typically was spaced out in some way, taking a little here and a little there, as expressed just above. According to several other kupuna, the reasoning behind this practice was that it prevented the other plants of the type being collected from becoming lili (jealous) and squabbling among themselves.”
“Ecologically, of course, this practice helped to ensure that no area was completely stripped of a certain plant species and that harvesting could be sustained.”
“Most people would agree that these gathering principles embody appropriate treatment of those we love and respect. For example, when we enter the home of a friend today, we usually ask permission; we try not to impose on their hospitality or damage their home.”
“So it was that Hawaiians approached gathering from native ecosystems – good manners and plain common sense guided their behavior.” (Anderson-Fung and Maly)