Pa‘upa‘u (lit. drudgery (servants were weary of bringing water to bathe the chief’s child)) is a hill above Lahainaluna School on Maui.
As noted in Pukui’s ‘Place Names’ book, “Not many years ago Mary Kawena Pukui found a colleague, Ke=oho=kapu, hard at work.”
“Instead of the banal comment that a haole would make, she asked cryptically, ‘E ku‘o‘i a‘e ana i ke One=o=Luhi?’ (Are [you] limping along the Beach of Weariness?)”
“Ke=oho=kapu, quick as a flash, said resignedly. ‘He pi‘i-na ke-ia i mauna Pa‘u-pa‘u.’ ([I”m) just climbing up Drudgery Hill.)”
“Both were pleased, and as a result of this repartee, the work may have seemed less like drudgery. The core of these sayings is the double meaning – in the place names Luhi ‘weariness’ and Pa‘u-pa‘u ‘drudgery’ a device rarely used in English sayings.” (Pukui, Appendix 8.1)
Sheldon Dibble had a house on the hill … “…Mon. Dec 14. Dined with Mr. Baldwin whose domicile joins that of Mr. Forbes, & is equally pleasantly situated. Mr. B[aldwin] has a wife & 5 children, the eldest a lad of 12 or 13 apparently…”
“Tues Dec 15th 1846. Rose soon after daylight & with Messrs Alexander & Hunt took a delightful ride on horseback along the base of the hills back of the Seminary.”
“We first rode up the hill to the cottage formerly built & occupied by Mr. Dibble situated on the side of the mountain 1500 ft above the sea (900 above Lahainaluna).”
“This residence was doubtless the means of prolonging the life of Mr. D[ibble] while declining of pulmonary consumption. The great objection to the residence is the difficulty of procuring water which has to be brought from a distance up very steep precipices.”
“The hill which rises back of this cottage on the flank of which it stands is called Mt Ball. The top of it is 2100 ft above the ocean…” (Lyman)
Another missionary, Samuel Whitney, also used the house on the hill … he had “taken ill on the island of Kauai, on the 21st of September last (1845). His symptoms, from the first, indicated a disordered liver.”
“After trying a change of air at his summer retreat at Hanapepeluna and employing various remedies, he, with his family, sailed on the 21st of October for Honolulu, where he arrived in three days …”
“From this, however, he partially recovered, and he was induced, by an earnest invitation, to come to Maui, to try the effects of a residence at the cool and elevated retreat of Mount Ball, above Lahainaluna. … When he arrived, he was quite fatigued, and he was ever afterwards confined mostly to his bed.”
“He now rapidly wasted away under the influence of disease, though his friends generally hoped he would soon begin to mend. …” Whitney died December 15, 1845.
Though David Malo did not die at Pa‘upa‘u, he wanted to be (and was) buried there. “He said this land will fall into the possession of foreigners. Land in Lahaina would be valuable.”
“The graveyards, enriched by the remains of the natives, would be coveted, and the contents of the graves scattered abroad. He wished not his bones to be disturbed. Let him be buried on that summit where no white man will ever build his house.” (Honolulu Advertiser, January 7, 1918)
Pu‘u Pa‘upa‘u has a symbol from Malo’s school (he was one of the first students enrolled at Lahainaluna Seminary). A large ‘L’ (standing for Lahainaluna, reportedly put there in 1929) is visible from most parts below.
Today, Lahainaluna students continue to maintain the ‘L’ on Pa‘upa‘u (a 30-foot letter of the natural red of the hill, outlined with white lime) at about the 2,000-foot elevation. (The school’s colors are red and white.)
Twice a year, students in Lahainaluna’s boarding program lug sacks of lime up to the site to outline the red ‘L’ in white. Hash-marks on the long side of the ‘L’ indicate sports championships.
Students also make the trek to pay reverence to David Malo, who died October 21, 1853 and who is buried on its summit. The school has an annual ho‘olaulea, David Malo Day, that pays tribute to Malo.
Pu‘u Pa‘upa‘u is also referred to as Mount Ball. It is not clear why or when it was named such, but references back to the mid-1840s, at least, use that name.
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