“The advent of the white man in the Pacific was inevitable, and especially in Hawaii, by reason of its size, resources, and, most important, its location at the crossroads of this vastest of oceans, rapidly coming into its own in fulfilment of prophecies that it was destined to become the chief theater of the world’s future activities.”
Years before the westward land movement gathered momentum, the energies of seafaring New Englanders found their natural outlet, along their traditional pathway, in the Pacific Ocean.
On the afternoon of January 20, 1778, Cook anchored his ships near the mouth of the Waimea River on Kauai’s southwestern shore. After a couple of weeks, there, they headed to the west coast of North America.
In the Islands, as in New France (Canada to Louisiana (1534,)) New Spain (Southwest and Central North America to Mexico and Central America (1521)) and New England (Northeast US,) the trader preceded the missionary.
Practically every vessel that visited the North Pacific in the closing years of the 18th century stopped at Hawai‘i for provisions and recreation.
On October 23, 1819, the Pioneer Company of American Protestant missionaries from the northeast US set sail on the Thaddeus for the Sandwich Islands (now known as Hawai‘i.) There were seven American couples sent by the ABCFM to convert the Hawaiians to Christianity in this first company.
By the time the Pioneer Company arrived, Kamehameha I had died and the centuries-old kapu system had been abolished; through the actions of King Kamehameha II (Liholiho,) with encouragement by former Queens Kaʻahumanu and Keōpūolani (Liholiho’s mother,) the Hawaiian people had already dismantled their heiau and had rejected their religious beliefs.
Over the course of a little over 40-years (1820-1863 – the “Missionary Period”), about 184-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.
“(F)or forty years Hawaiians wanted everything on every ship that came. And they could get it; it was pretty easy to get. Two pigs and … a place to live, you could trade for almost anything.”
“(The missionaries) come with a set of skills that Hawaiians are really impressed with. … The missionaries were the first group of a scholarly background, but they also had the patience and endurance. So that’s part of the skill sets. … That’s really the more important things that are attracted first.”
“But the second thing is they are pono.”
“They have an interaction that is intentionally not taking advantage. It’s not crude. They don’t get drunk and throw up on the street … and they don’t take advantage and they don’t make a profit. So that pono actually is more attractive than religion.” (Puakea Nogelmeier)
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)
Above text is a summary – Click HERE for more information
Over the centuries, and even today, Waimea was an attractive draw with ideal climate and soils, and moderate distance from the ocean.
Still holding remnants of a cowboy town, it looked very different in centuries past – with transformation of forest lands, to agricultural fields, to pasture lands.
Now upper pasture land, archaeologists and others suggest the upper slopes of Waimea was a forest made up of ʻōhiʻa, koa, māmane, ʻiliahi (sandalwood) and other trees. Pili grass and shrubs were also found.
Within these forested uplands, you could find a variety of forest birds, ʻiʻiwi, ʻelepaio, ʻapapane and others. Fossil remains of a flightless goose have been found in the region.
This is what the earliest settlers to the region probably saw (however, it is likely the first settlers on the island probably first lived in the valleys on the wetter windward side of the island and others later came to Waimea.)
The forests had general characteristics of an open canopy and the appearance of a wooded parkland, particularly when contrasted with the grassy plains to the west and the dense “impenetrable” rainforest to the east. (McEldowney)
Statements typifying these characteristics, generally made while enroute from the Waimea settlements, through Parker’s ranch house at Mana, and along Mauna Kea’s eastern slope, include: “a scanty forest” (The Polynesian 1840); “those parts of the plain adjoining Hāmākua are better wooded having a parklike appearance” (Sandwich Islands Gazette 1836) …
… “well shaded by clumps of trees” (The Polynesian 1847); and is “thickly wooded with large trees, entirely free from underbrush, and is covered with a greensward, giving it the appearance of a parkland” (The Polynesian 1848.) (McEldowney)
Reverend Lorenzo Lyons (missionary leader of Waimea’s Imiola Church and songwriter who composed “Hawaiʻi Aloha”) frequently described his home as ʻAla ʻŌhiʻa Nei (home of the fragrant ʻōhiʻa lehua.) (Paris)
The population began to increase dramatically around 1100 AD and the west side population doubled every century. (Kirch) The population of the islands reached a peak in about 1650 AD, with a total of several hundred thousand.
Waimea’s initial population (probably first settling in the 1100s – 1200s) likely grew into a fairly large community. Settlement areas expanded into the hillsides and out onto the drier Waimea plains.
As permanent settlements were established and populations grew, to feed the people and increase the amount of arable land, the leeward slopes and valleys were cleared of the native forest and replaced by intensively cultivated field systems. (Watson)
Field walls (kuaiwi) delineated garden plots (Kihāpai) and helped retain the soil. Fields were irrigated using canals (ʻauwai) that tapped the Waimea streams. (Watson)
Once the advantages of living in Waimea were known, the population quickly grew. Terraced agricultural plots expanded and more of the forest was removed.
The upper slopes of Waimea are said to have supported more than 10,000-people prior to contact.
Post-contact brought further changes – two major modern land-use practices transformed the landscape – first, the harvesting of sandalwood, which was shortly-followed by the management of the cattle herds.
Various references establish the importance of sandalwood, the most famous of early historic export commodities, in the Waimea region, while remarks such as, these “woods frequented by sandalwood cutters” suggest exploitable sandalwood was in the region’s māmane/koa forests. (McEldowney)
William Ellis, in 1831 wrote, “Before daylight on the 22d, we were roused by vast multitudes of people passing through the district from Waimea with sandalwood, which had been cut in the adjacent mountains for Karaimoku (Kalanimōku,) by the people of Waimea, and which the people of Kohala, as far as the north point …”
“… had been ordered to bring down to his storehouse on the beach, for the purpose of its being shipped to Oahu. There were between two and three thousand men, carrying each from one to six pieces of sandalwood, according to their size and weight.”
In 1856, while editor of the Sandwich Islands’ Monthly Magazine, Abraham Fornander wrote an article arguing that large cattle herds had altered or ameliorated the climate of Waimea by destroying a “thick wood” that covered “the whole of the plain” as early as 1825 or 1830 (Sandwich Islands’ Monthly Magazine 1856). (McEldowney)
All of this forever changed Waimea. Once the native forests were cleared, the “natural” landscape of Waimea ceased to exist. (Watson)
Early Hawaiians first altered the landscape by clearing the forest and plotting out agricultural fields; later, introduced species took over.
A notable introduced (and invasive) plant to Waimea is fountain grass; it was introduced on the island of Hawaiʻi as an ornamental plant in the 1920s. It spread quickly and today, less than a century later, fountain grass is a dominant species along roadsides and in undeveloped areas on the leeward side of the island. (Watson)
Waimea, we used to call it home – I miss it.
At the invitation of King Kamehameha IV, the Anglican Church mission came to Hawaiʻi in 1862; the invitation was extended to both the Church of England and the Episcopal Church in the Unites States. The Church of England gave a favorable response.
At the time, the American Protestants, through the Congregational Church, and Roman Catholic Church were established and active in the islands. Each had also established schools within the islands.
Queen Emma recognized the educational needs of the young women of her island nation. Her mission of establishing a girls’ school in Honolulu took her to England to seek the counsel of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Under his authority, the Sisters of the Church of England returned to Hawai’i with Queen Emma to begin their work.
Queen Emma was raised in the Anglican faith and envisioned a school where Hawaiian girls would receive an education equivalent to the education that was traditionally offered only to boys.
St. Andrew’s Priory School was founded on Ascension Day, May 30, 1867, by Queen Emma, wife of King Kamehameha IV, and Mother Priscilla Lydia Sellon of the Society of the Most Holy Trinity of Devonport, England.
St. Andrews Priory was named in honor of St. Andrew, which was also the dedication of the Cathedral. This name had been chosen for the Cathedral because St. Andrews Day, November 30, was the anniversary of the death of Kamehameha IV, for whom the building was a memorial.
The Society of the Most Holy Trinity used the Benedictine terminology, whereby the mother house of a religious order was called an abbey and a branch house a priory. Therefore, the school became St. Andrew’s Priory School for Girls.
The school opened with 11-boarders and a few day students; by the end of the year, 17-boarders had registered. Most of the boarders were aliʻi.
Priory was eligible and received government grants; in doing so, it had to follow government regulations. As such, curriculum included the required reading in English or Hawaiian, writing, arithmetic grammar, geography and training in industrial work,
Good English was the Priory’s chief objective, so all instruction was in English and the girls were not allowed to speak Hawaiian, even on the playground. The girls learned sewing and embroidery, music, drawing, in addition to the academic subjects. Religious classes were part of the school curriculum. (Heyes)
The Board of Education encouraged early entrance, before age 10, to English schools, so that students may learn English in their formative years. The Priory’s first 17-boarders ranged in age from four 1/2 to sixteen. In 1871, a 2 1/2-year old Kauaʻi student (McBryde) was admitted with her two older sisters.
The girls slept in dormitories (they furnished their own beds and bedding.) The girls had poi every day. Initially, the girls wore their own clothes, there was no uniform (however, every girl had a white dress for Sundays and special occasions – uniforms started sometime after 1918.)
By 1876, the school was well established; dormitory space had been almost doubled, making room for forty boarders. The number of day students also increased and in that year to a total of 118-students.
In the 1880s, the Royal Hawaiian Band played concerts twice a week in Queen Emma Square. “One of our pleasant diversions was to go to and hear Captain Berger’s band play at Emma Square every Saturday afternoon. … we all went and sat in the carriage just outside the park. There was usually a crowd there, as it was very popular.” (Sutherland Journal)
With the formation of the Republic of Hawaiʻi, the educational policy favored establishing the American system of free public schools for everyone. Government aid to private schools was forbidden. (However, private schools continued to flourish.)
In 1902, the school transferred to the jurisdiction of the Episcopal Church of the United States and was run by the Sisters of the American Order of the Transfiguration. The school was then dependent financially on tuition and gifts from friends.
Even with these changes, there was no basic change in the purpose of the school. An education suited for the “probable life circumstances” of the girls still placed high emphasis on the homemaking arts, as well as preparing the girls for teaching, nursing and secretarial work. (Heyes)
In 1903, a high school department was opened offering the girls an opportunity to receive secondary education, placing the Priory at the forefront of the secondary school movement in Hawaiʻi. At the time, the only other secondary education options for girls were Honolulu High School (later known as McKinley) and Punahou.
There was significant new construction between 1906 and 1914; in 1909 the cornerstone for the new Dickey-designed Priory was laid for a two-story building made of steel and concrete (the first of its kind in the islands.)
The Sisters of the American Order of the Transfiguration operated the school until 1969. Since that time, the school has been under the leadership of a head of school.
In 1976, the Priory became a non-profit corporation with a Board of Trustees and a charter of incorporation that continues to provide an official link with the Episcopal Church.
Founded as a school for girls, the Priory remains dedicated to this legacy. Today, the Priory provides girls in grades K-12 a college preparatory education within a Christian environment so that in any future community they will be self-confident, capable, participating members. (Lots of information here from Heyes.)
The Island of Oʻahu has three of the State’s nine commercial harbors – Kalaeloa Barbers Point, Kewalo Basin and Honolulu Harbor.
Kalaeloa Barbers Point Harbor, on the leeward, westerly side of the island, is in the vicinity of the growing city of Kapolei, while Kewalo Basin and Honolulu Harbor are located on the leeward, south shore, in the only well-sheltered area available for commercial purposes.
Kewalo Basin harbor was formerly a shallow reef that enclosed a deep section of water that had been used as a canoe landing since pre-Contact times and probably was used since the early historic period as an anchorage.
In 1899, Gorokichi Nakasugi, a Japanese shipbuilder, brought a traditional Japanese sailing vessel (called a sampan) to Hawai‘i, and this led to a unique class of vessels and distinctive maritime culture associated with the rise of the commercial fishing industry in Hawai‘i.
Japanese-trained shipwrights adapted the original sampan design to the rough waters of the Hawaiian Islands. The fishermen used a traditional live bait, pole-and-line method of fishing and unloaded their catches of aku (bonito, skipjack) and ahi (yellow-fin tuna) at Kewalo Basin. (It’s interesting that the Japanese aku boat fishing closely resembles the traditional Hawaiian technique.)
The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were a time of intense development of the coasts of Honolulu, Kaka‘ako, and Waikīkī.
In 1919, the Hawai‘i Government appropriated funds to improve the small harbor of Kewalo for the aim of “harbor extension, in that it will be made to serve the fishing and other small craft, to the relief of Honolulu harbor proper”.
A number of land reclamation projects dredged offshore areas to deepen and create boat harbors, and used the dredged material to fill in the former swampy land. Kaka‘ako became a prime spot for large industrial complexes, such as iron works, lumber yards and draying companies.
Since the area chosen for the harbor was adjacent to several lumber yards, such as the Lewers and Cooke yards, the basin was initially made to provide docking for lumber schooners.
Dredging of the Kewalo Channel began in 1924 (the harbor is approximately 55-acres including ocean acreage;) ; but by the time the wharf was completed in 1926, the lumber import business had faded, so the harbor was used mainly by commercial fishermen.
Half of the bulkhead along the mauka side of Kewalo Basin was built in 1928. The remainder of Kewalo Basin’s mauka bulkhead was constructed in 1934.
During the 1920s (before Ala Moana Park,) a channel was dredged through the coral reef to connecting Kewalo Basin to the Ala Wai Boat Harbor, so boats could travel between the two (later, the channel extended to Fort DeRussy.)
Part of the dredge material helped to reclaim swampland on the ʻEwa end of Waikīki (filled in with the dredged coral.)
Later, when it became a very popular swimming beach, the parallel coastal channel was closed to boat traffic.
The sampan aku fleet relocated to Kewalo Basin by 1930, and the McFarlane Tuna Company (later known as Hawaiian Tuna Packers) built a shipyard there in 1929 and a new tuna cannery at the basin in 1933.
Kewalo Basin’s Waikiki bulkhead was constructed in 1951. In 1955, workers placed the dredged material along the makai (seaward) side to form an eight-acre land section protected by a revetment—now the Kewalo Basin Park.