A memorial chiseled into a hard to find boulder is a vigilant reminder of the hazards of hiking in Hawaiʻi’s wilderness – and it continues the memory of its focus.
We often read about rockfalls on houses, cars and other property; in this case a 7½-pound rock killed a boy on a hike in Mānoa Valley.
The sentinel, with a cross carved into a neighboring boulder, commemorates the tragic death of a young boy on a Sunday school outing.
The Sunday school teacher carried him unconscious down the trail to his carriage and drove to Queen’s Hospital; there, treated by Dr. Hildebrand, unfortunately, he died. (Krauss)
He was 11-years old, the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Wright. They came to Hawaiʻi in the early-1880s. Apparently, Thomas was a carriage maker who came to Hawaiʻi with two brothers who apparently operated a carriage business. (Krauss)
The memorial simply states: Gladstone Wright Killed May 14 1891
Apparently, Gladstone’s cousin was George Fred Wright (April 23, 1881 – July 2, 1938,) later Mayor of Honolulu from 1931 to 1938. Wright, a native of Honolulu, died in office in 1938 while traveling aboard the SS Mariposa. (Krauss) (Mayor Wright Housing in Kalihi was named after him.)
The memorial is located on Waiakeakua Stream in Mānoa Valley. It’s between its upper and lower falls on the east side of Mānoa Valley.
Waiakeakua (“Water of the Gods”) is the easternmost spring and stream at the back of Mānoa Valley. Only the high chiefs were allowed to use this spring; it was kapu to others. A chief would often test the courage and fidelity of a retainer by dispatching him at night to fill a gourd at this spring. (Beckwith)
Legends tell of Kāne and Kanaloa in Mānoa Valley.
“As they stood there facing the cliff, Kanaloa asked his older brother if there were kupua (descendants of a family of gods and has the power of transformation into certain inherited forms) in that place. The two climbed a perpendicular cliff and found a pretty woman living there with her woman attendant.”
“Kamehaʻikana (‘a multitude of descendants’) was the name of this kupua. Such was the nature of the two women that they could appear in the form of human beings or of stones. Both Kane and Kanaloa longed to possess this beauty of upper Manoa. The girl herself, after staring at them, was smitten with love for the two gods.”
“Kamehaʻikana began to smile invitingly. The attendant saw that her charge did not know which one of the two gods she wanted and knew that if they both got hold of her, she would be destroyed, and she was furious. Fearing death for her beloved one, she threw herself headlong between the strangers and her charge and blocked the way. Kane leaped to catch the girl, but could not reach her. … The original trees are dead but their seedlings are grown and guard Waiakeakua, Water of the Gods.” (hawaii-edu)
Regarding the trickling stream, Pukuʻi’s ʻŌlelo Noʻeau, No. 2917 notes, Wai peʻepeʻe palai o Waiakekua. The water that plays hide-and-seek among the ferns.
Waihi is a tributary that feeds into Waiakeakua. Just east of the popular Mānoa Falls are three other waterfalls: Luaʻalaea (pit of red earth), just off of the Luaʻalaea trail; the tall Nāniuʻapo (the grasped coconuts), which also has a fresh spring; and Waiakeakua Falls, which features bathing pools. (MalamaOManoa)
The spring, Pūʻahuʻula, just west of Waiakeakua Stream is where Queen Kaʻahumanu, the favorite wife of Kamehameha I, had a green-shuttered home near Pūʻahuʻula, where she died in 1832. (MalamaOManoa)