NHSC Native Hawaiian Religion

From GrassrootWiki
Jump to: navigation, search


Native Hawaiian Religion


In order to faithfully represent most modern-day native Hawaiians and their needs and concerns in this important area of native culture, this report will clarify with as much brevity as possible the aspirations of the Hawaiian people to effect respect for their dignity as native Hawaiians, Hawaiian Americans, and as thoughtful citizens of the world. It will concentrate on several main issues:

1) The ancient Hawaiian concept of the soul of man in relation to ancestral or controlling spiritual beings in nature, or beyond nature, during human life and in a spiritual afterlife.
2) The relationship between the community worship of the chiefs and priests as a ruling class, and family ('ohana) worship in ancient pre-contact (1778-1779) and post-conversion (1820-) times, continuing into fragmented private family religious observances today in association with introduced forms of worship, reflecting positive or negative identity changes.
4) The need felt by some emerging native Hawaiian groups to recover self-esteem as Hawaiians by pledging faith in ancient religious beliefs and customs beneficial to group identity through participation in a live, revitalized religious setting, requiring recovery of temple and other shrine sites designated as sacred, with the privilege or right to reenact pertinent rituals in ceremonies conducive to harmonious and inspired religious expression.
5) Summary of needs and concerns about Hawaiian religion with recommendations for improving religious expression as desired in the present multiethnic social setting.

*/ The following chapter is a complete reproduction of the paper prepared by Rubellite K. Johnson, entitled, "Religion Section of Native Hawaiians Study Commission Report" (February 1983), written at the direction of and funded by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. Rubellite Johnson is an Associate Professor in Hawaiian Language, Department of Indo-Pacific Languages, at the University of Hawaii, Manoa campus. Minor editorial changes have been made to conform to the Final Report's (cont'd) format, and the footnotes have been redesignated, for the convenience of the reader. Also, information appended to Professor Johnson's paper does not appear in the text of this chapter, but can be found in the Appendix of this Report, referenced at the appropriate places in the text. Except for these changes, Professor Johnson's paper appears as sub-ed. mitted by OHA and is otherwise unchanged. References used by Professor Johnson appear in the "List of References" of this Report, marked by a "[3]."



Life in Hawaiian */ thought is not restricted to human life in the concrete world felt and seen by the senses of the human body. The Hawaiian idea of the reality of life in the world supersedes the world that is seen and experienced by the material body, and enters into the life of the spirit that is beyond the physical senses of the body. This reality is perceived through the ability of the mind to either envision through the mind asleep or awake or to sense through other psychologically conditioned awareness (through premonition, for example) that the total life of man involves the ability of the spirit through all of material life to move back and forth between the world of the live physical senses and the world of the "extra" spiritual senses. Thus, the Hawaiian mind places greater reality on the life of the human individual in the spiritual realm, the present material life being regarded as ground for discipline of the spirit in preparation for the afterlife. Therefore, a human being, whether male or female, has spiritual origin, material birth, and spiritual eternity of complete unceasing existence—a personality composed of several layers of embodiment. These are:

1) The living material, corporeal body (kino) having life (ola) of the body;
2) The separable, second soul (kino wailua) that moves during sleep causing dreams (moe 'uhane), with the consciousness inert (the kino wailua may also become "disembodied;" for example, the experience by some people of so-called "astral projection," when the personality wholly leaves the body and moves about with the consciousness intact, the corporeal body lies inert but alive);
3) The spirit that is the dormant body, which at death survives the body, that is, the 'uhane (The living human being as a foetus is not considered a "live" person until birth when the kino breathes (hanu) the "air" (ea) of the god(s), so that the material body quicken with the "spirit" (ea) of the universe in the "breath" (ha) of the human being as it ingests the atmosphere (ea) of "god." Abortion of the non-breathing foetus is thus not considered deprivation of life inasmuch as "life" (ea) is a condition of the "spirit" (ea) and requires the ability to breathe (ha) in the god's breath. To be a full, living personality there must be corporeal life (ola), spiritual life ('uhane), the soul personality (</u>kino wailua), and breath (<u>ha). Survival of the 'uhane, however, is not dependent on breath (ha) nor the corporeal body (kino ola); it is intact and continues the existence of the person in another life.)

No Hawaiian has experienced how the spirit ('uhane) survives, inasmuch as all reports of a second life are the

*/ Professor Johnson uses the term "Hawaiian" to signify all Hawaiians of native descent, similar to the terra "native Hawaiian," as used in this Report. (See definition above, page 37.)


results of experiences by the astral travel (wailua) of Hawaiian persons• Such experiences as related describe extraterrestrial journeys through known parts of the galaxy in the form of light, while the soul escapes from the tear ducts and returns through the toe. Other experiences of Hawaiian astral travels (wailua) are walks through familiar places, watching people in their daily doings, and then returning to the body; or, the astral travel (wailua) moves upward to a place of great light, only to find it is not ready to be allowed entry and must go back to the corporeal body (kino) to live out the corporeal existence. Persons who have had such experiences are often described by relatives as living a daily life of prayer and having an expectation of dying with no fear of passage from human life to death. Stories told by persons having had these experiences usually fortify strong Hawaiian faith in the reality of an afterlife and tend to also assist in conversion to both Western and Eastern forms of world religion without any loss of faith in the older religious beliefs. Where there has been no experience of this kind, there is conversion accompanied usually by rejection of the older religious beliefs and total absorption of the family into the adopted norms.

One must regard these beliefs and experiences in the life of the soul as a social condition that allowed the Hawaiian a margin of belief in similar ideas voiced in other sacred works and foreign forms of religion that were not inconsistent with native Hawaiian beliefs. Thus, prophecy based on visions and dreams is accepted practice, whether found in native Hawaiian or foreign religions, and dream interpretation in the Bible as practiced by the prophet Daniel on the dream of Nebuchadnezzar is given wide credence. Hawaiian attitudes of belief in dream interpretation, however, vary between dreams or visions considered "prophetic" and those that are brushed aside as rubbish. Dreams with prophetic value contain symbols of wide application in meaning among Hawaiians, and visions that are seen when the conscious mind is fully alert receive the most credence. In the same context, experiences of an extrasensory nature perceived by more than one individual at the same time are given more credence than the same perceived by only one individual. Dreams visualized while the disembodiment (kino wailua) is moving around but the conscious mind is asleep are therefore called moe 'uhane (spirit sleep). Visions beheld while fully alert are called aka-ku (shadow-standing, or shadow substance).

For each Hawaiian individual a lifetime of collected experiences of this nature, whether by himself or by other family members, continues a record of the spiritual life as witnessed psychologically. Hawaiians do not doubt others' experience but are also equipped to recognize when these states are injurious to mental health and to separate true prophetic visions or dreams from hallucinations and defective, abnormal perceptions. The criteria of evaluation is difficult to determine and needs research, study, and clarification. Hawaiians are sensitive, however, to being called "superstitious" so far as these areas of belief are concerned, and denials of acceptance when these experiences are offered bring either deep-seated resentment or open anger. This may be one of the pitfalls of religion, that it requires belief and acceptance without proof or demonstrability, and the Hawaiians in being converted to other religions have never required proof or demanded demonstration of the efficacy, for example, of Christian beliefs. As with other converts the world over, the Hawaiian people take the


resurrection of Christ as demonstrable by the written record of the gospel and effect their belief strictly by faith. The Hawaiian Christian is therefore more primarily affiliated with his church, and so far as his native Hawaiian beliefs are concerned, simply keeps them separate as it suits him, or as in other cases, will work them into home rituals combining Christian and Hawaiian forms of worship with no fear that they may be violating either tradition.

Animism and Animatism as Primary Facets of Hawaiian Religious Belief

Animism is the belief in spirits, and as we have demonstrated, Hawaiian religion rests upon a basic belief in "spirits and the spirit world. These spirits (‘uhane) are also the gods (akua) in the ranking hierarchy of guardian gods (‘aumakua) who protect the family from harm and who answer all kinds of trouble calls from their family ('ohana) patrons. Thus a patron deity is an akua when called upon by a group of workers, but when turned to by the family for help is called an ‘aumakua. Both the akua as "gods" and the ‘aumakua as "ancestral guardian gods" are ‘uhane (spirits).

We can classify these spirit gods as ancestral spirits (‘aumakua) ranging from the recent deified departed dead in the family, or the ancestral spirit gods (akua) who have never known mortal existence except in instances when they occupy human bodies for visits to earth and who are true spirits, or those who are god-like in that they have never experienced human death. These immortal spirits are those, then, with the greatest supernatural power (mana), and as they are called upon through prayer and ritual, they impart their mana to human beings. Men receive more of this power than women do, and chiefs more than commoners.

Mana is the "animating" force in all life forms and in all forms of universal energy. Since the source of this power is from the spiritual to the material world, it follows that the material world flows from the spiritual into concrete being, and ma is the conduit of its intelligent, cognitive thought, whereby understanding or knowledge of its existence perseveres through corporeal life and back again into spiritual life. Thus Hawaiian religion evinces a dependency between belief in spiritual entity (‘uhane) residing in man and ancestral gods ('akua, ‘aumakua), in man as living god (kupua or "demigod"), and belief in the psycho-dynamic force of life-energy and power existing in a direct flow to all of creation; that is, animism and animatism; man's life and all life in the creation being but a manifestation of the animating force of spiritual energy and power.

Inasmuch as nature is, however, both animate and inanimate, it can be asked how inanimate nature demonstrates, in its dormancy, spiritual energy, and how Hawaiian belief in mana as residual, in all of creation's forms, handles the resolution between animation and inanimation? It is simple. "Life," in Hawaiian thought, is not restricted to animated, corporeal life (ola), because "life" as emerging invigoration is spirit (ea) in both inanimate and animate forms. mana is either dormant and residual in the inanimate forms of life or energy (if we see mana as "potential" energy) and also dynamic and active in the animate forms of life (or "kinetic" energy). Light is not living (ola), but it is a manifestation of the great akua god Kane-ka-'onohi-o-ka-la (Kane-eyeballof- the-sun). So light is masculine, and an expression of mana as it emanates from the sunlight to man on earth for his use. Light as the inner


light of intelligence in man is thus "daylight intestines" or that gut-feeling reaction that prompts enlightenment (na’auao) and the mana of enlightenment in man's wisdom and intelligent use of power. In this context, therefore, mana is inherited by mankind from the gods, as both are spiritual (‘uhaneo) and therefore in constant contact between birth and death; that is, mana is transferable.

In being thus transferable, it can be either increased by function or decreased by dysfunction, so that mana has quantity in indefinite amount of flow, and if it is not maintained it is diminished. Therefore, mana can also be acquired by intelligent use and need not be inherited, necessarily, in a direct conduit between gods (akua) and men as chiefs (ali’i). The common man (kanaka maoli) or woman (wahine) is born with intelligence (akamai) and with intelligent use of akamai and na’auao (wisdom) acquires skill (no’eau), thus increasing mana in possessing all three: akamai, na’auao and no’eau. Thus, inherited mana as possessed by chiefs in the kupua (demigod) role as gods incarnate, through which they rank higher than the kanaka maoli, does not guarantee superior rank as automatic privilege in the afterlife. mana as power and as a "good" in itself, as possessed by gods or by men, is a force that does not inhibit the free will of mankind to produce either "good" (maika'i) or "evil" ('ino), as evil doing takes as much intelligence and power as doing good requires.

So, it also follows that in Hawaiian ethics mana in productive or destructive use by man in daily existence does not automatically will him into good acts. Therefore, it is not mana that places the spirit of man into favorable circumstances in the afterlife by virtue of rank. No spirit (‘uhaneo) of man or woman ascends into the spiritual life guaranteed into eternity except by pono, which means duty/ responsibility, justice, and righteousness. Without pono no good life for mankind either on earth or beyond earth develops. Thus, in ancient Hawaiian society, history records the lives of good and bad kings, of good and bad spirits, in order to demonstrate what pono is and how it is achieved through the intelligent use of mana in all positive attributes of the total activity of man. Thus, mana can be diminished by negative transference, and in order to be vital must be maintained and kept moving positively through every activity of the economic, political, social, aesthetic, and religious life of ancient Hawaii.

The discussion can continue here indefinitely into volumes of analysis, but suffice it here to define mana as the three-fold manifestation of power with its regional source in the spiritual world, or the world of neither birth nor death, and its perceptive function in the visible, material world as:

1) The source mana, that is, supernatural power of sacred spiritual beings (akua, 'aumakua, ‘uhaneo), as seen abstractly in their manifold inanimate forms of natural energy (potential, kinetic), or concretely in their manifold animate forms of corporeal life.
2) The mana of human beings, inherited or acquired, by either direct descent from the gods, as chiefs (ali’i), or by intelligent, wise, or just and productive use for the good life (pono).
3) The residual mana of sacred objects wrought by human intelligence as used in everyday economic life and in sacred shrine and temple rituals.

This leads the discussion of Hawaiian religion from this point into two directions: (1) toward an understanding of the forms of the gods (akua<, 'aumakua) as manifestations of mana in life's forms, inanimate and animate, or as their kinolau, that is, "many forms;" and (2) toward an understanding of the use of political power as the mana, or authority of chiefs to effect maintenance of this mana so as to keep it increasing for mankind's use and to prevent its decreasing from his grasp. This leads, then, ultimately to an understanding of how mana is retained as a result of the discreet use of kanawai, secular law, and kapu, sacred law, to inhibit negative transference or loss of available or necessary mana for retention of human mana as political or economic power.


This section will explore the relationship between the community worship of the chiefs and priests as a ruling class, and the practice of family ('ohana) worship in ancient pre-contact times (that is, before Captain Cook, 1778-1779), and post-contact times to post-conversion times (1620, arrival of American missionaries from New England), with fragmented continuation of aboriginal religious practices in family worship patterns today associated with introduced forms of worship. In order to handle this topic, it will be necessary to divide the discussion that follows into three sub-topics:

1) Variability in observed patterns of worship between classes, that is, as between chiefs and priests as one group, and commoners as another, or between men on one hand and women on another, or between followers or "true believers" on one hand, and resisters or "deviants" on another;
2) The overthrow of the kapu system in 1819 effecting defeat of the community worship of the chiefs and priests, without destruction of the active family practice of 'ohana worship persisting in family customs in the present society? and
3) The unifying effect of the kinolau concept of akua and 'aumakua identification in symbolic forms, abstract or concrete, linking community worship of the chiefs and priests on one hand to the family 'ohana religion on the other.

This discussion will then lead to the next section, which explores changes in the Hawaiian psyche, or duplicity of religious practice with or without harmful effects to personality and identity of the Hawaiian individual as a member of native Hawaiian or Hawaiian American society; and the duality of allegiance to traditional Hawaiian and to American (Christian) religion.

Variability in Worship Patterns

In the earliest account written by native Hawaiian scholars called the Mo'olelo Hawaii, for which principal authorship is often credited to David Malo (not exempting however other


Lahainaluna scholars such as Samuel M. Kamakau, John Papa I'i, Boaz Mahune, and Timothy Keaweiwi) the following account is given:

The manner of worship of the kings and chiefs was different from that of the common people. When the commoners performed religious services they uttered their prayers themselves, without the assistance of a priest or of a kahu-akua. But when the king or an ali'i worshipped, the priest or the keeper of the idol uttered the prayers, while the ali'i only moved his lips and did not utter the prayers to their gods. 1/

It is expedient here to recognize that "assistance of a priest or a kahu-akua" is the key phrase underscoring the role of the organized priesthood in the formalized "community" organization of "national" worship by chiefs. While worship of the gods by commoners was directed toward the identical akua 'aumakua, the role of the priests (if they assisted the commoners in simpler rites on family shrines at all) was outside their official governmental capacity. The political aspect of the chiefs and priests' religion can be seen in that the community system of religion sustained the authority of the chief as an authority granted by the akua in lineal descent from the akua, with the chief as a divine embodiment of the akua in the world.

Thus, there were two systems of religion in ancient Hawaii: one set in which commoners and chiefs worshipped the gods and where the rules of order were maintained by the priestly orders of Ku and Lono; another in which men and women worshipped the same gods as family guardians in everyday ceremonies, or as patron deities by occupational groups. The society did not exempt the men from the established community worship of the great akua gods on the sacrificial temple (luakini), but it exempted the women. Chiefesses worshipped at the Hale o Papa temple (heiau) when services were held at the heiau dedicated to Ku (one of the major gods). All women in the society observed the tabus on silence, eating, and cohabitation when worship periods were in effect on the major temples.

The year was organized into the major ritual seasons by the Lono priesthood who kept the calendar computations accurate by marking the solstices, equinoxes, turning of the Milky Way during the months of the year, and by adjusting the ecliptic to the sidereal cycle of the Pleiades from one November sighting in the east, at first rise after the first new moon, to another November. Heiau attendance by males in the community was compelled for eight months of the year, divided into seventy-two days per year, nine per month. The required attendance was relaxed during the four-month makahiki season of Lono-i-ka-makahiki, when taxes were collected and the first-fruits ceremonies enacted in honor of the god Lono-i-ka-makahiki. This makahiki season took place in the first quarter of the Hawaiian year, between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice, ending when the Pleiades came to zenith culmination. Exactly ninety days, or three Hawaiian months, could be computed between the first sighting of the Pleiades in November and the end of the quarter called ke au o Makali'i, the quarter season of the Pleiades year. These ninety days equalled one-quarter of the ecliptic, or the passage of the sun from one equinox to one solstice.

All of this was coordinated into a lunar calendar so that the nine tabu days called the la kapu kauila were spaced out through the moon's synodic cycle of 29.5 nights per month (mahina). During the waxing of the


moon, the kauila days were assigned first to Ku; at the rounding of the moon to Hua; and at the waning of the moon to Kanaloa, Kane and Lono, in that order.

Services to Ku on the human sacrifice or "war" heiau were confined to the period between the spring equinox and the summer solstice, between April and June. Human sacrifices were restricted to luakini ceremonies on the heiau po'okanaka (human sacrifice) or heiau kaua (war temple), dedicated to Ku as patron deity of warrior chiefs. The quantity of human sacrifices varies in accounts from three to as many as twenty-six for building or consecrating the luakini po'okanaka. Since criminals who broke the kapu akua supplied the sacrificial numbers, and since these ceremonies only took place when the community went to war or when the ruling chief sickened and died from sorcery, the impression is allowed that people were not being carried off to the execution altars every year, but it would seem that the chiefs and priests kept note of who in the community skipped the services or disturbed the peace. This does not rule out the likelihood that chiefs could revenge themselves easily upon their opposition. So, it is interesting once again to note how the society provided the escape hatch: first, in the form of the pu'uhonua "cities of refuge" dedicated to Lono, wherein criminals were granted full mercy from violations of the kapu akua that brought the death penalty in judgment upon them; and again in the right of any man to remove himself and his family from his ali'i and move out of his constituent 'ohana to any other district or island beyond the reach of revengeful overlords. What of those, however, who knowingly stayed and accepted their lot, unless taken unawares by the priests? From several accounts (particularly that of the penitent behavior of men in Kamehameha's army who were sacrificed before the Battle of Nu'uanu in the heiau Papa'ena'ena on O'ahu) it would seem that compliance was consistent with religious beliefs, that proper restitution was owing to society and the 'aumakua by willingness to admit wrongdoing and to suffer punishment order to reach eternal existence as living spirit, absolved finally of crime.

Overthrow of the Kapu System in 1819

Within six months after the death of Kamehameha the Great in May of 1819, the chiefesses Keopuolani and Ka'ahumanu, surviving wives of Kamehameha I, publicly ate with the young chiefs Liholiho (then Kamehameh II) and his younger brother Kauikeaouli (not yet Kamehameha III), in defiance of the 'ai kapu, or sacred law against men and women eating together. This act of the chiefesses and young chiefs ushered in the 'ai noa, or "free eating," that eliminated the death penalty for criminal infractions by breakers of this law through execution on the heiau as human sacrifices.

This was not the first breach by the ali'i in customary law requiring capital punishment for breaking of the kapu akua. Human sacrifice as the moe-pu'u custom, a kind of "self-immolation," was required of the chief's closest companions in life as demonstration of loyalty to a king upon his death. It placed the strain of heroism on the ali'i to demonstrate to their peers and to their subjects that they were not afraid to die for their lords, although practicality would demand these heroic actions from those ranks nearest the king in age or those who had seen many wars, defeats and victories, with him. If none, however, volunteered within specific allowances of time, then the moe-pu'u death companions were forcibly taken from the community at will. In


addition, if they were not found within the allowed time, the number of moe-pu'u required also increased. The first "freeing" of these "death" laws was a request by Kamehameha I that the aoe-pu'u custom not be observed when he died.

In 1819, moreover, breaking of the 'ai kapu by Keopuolani and Ka'ahumanu did not eliminate human sacrifice requirements entirely, for there were other kapu akua of capital punishment equally enforceable. What they especially achieved was freedom for women to eat with the men and to eat what the men could eat in formerly prohibited places. The Russian visitor Lisianski, writing aboard the Neva (1804-1806), mentioned that he observed that men could visit the women while they ate in the hale 'aina but did not partake of the food they ate, while women never went near the men's hale mua where they were not allowed. He also observed that men and women ate together outside the houses while they fished and farmed as husbands and wives, but never ate taro or poi from the same dish. He also observed that the house in which the women ate, or the hale 'aina by day, was the sleeping house at night (hale moe). 2/ It is known that the houses of sleeping were places where men and women came together to be with their families, that is to say, the hale moe was noa, "free," from tabu.

The sanctity of the hale mua was due to its being the shrine (unu) of the god Lono in the Ipu o Lono image. The hale mua was called a "shrine of Lono" (uno o Lono) due to the presence of the "gourd" (Ipu) in the men's eating house. The 'alana sacrifice, by which the men ate of offerings placed for the god in the Ipu of Lono, suspended in a net (koko), was ritually made here before eating of food. The presence of women may be considered as providing a conduit for negative transference of mana from the male gods away from male participants. The same kind of inhibition is recognized in the situating of the women's menstrual house (hale pe'a) away from the community of "normal" women and men. Men were not allowed in or near the hale pe'a, and were prohibited from cohabitation with menstruating women, as such acts reduced availability of mana.

This duality of separation in the social sphere of kapu akua is rooted in the male/female dualism of the religion that metaphysically assigned to portions of the universe either male or female identity, as in Chinese yin/yang opposition. Male/female dualism was a tenet of ancient religion defining the male sphere of action as distinct from the female. 3/

The overthrow of the kapu system by native Hawaiian society was the most significant departure, then, effecting culture change in religion and politics after contact with Europeans between 1778 and 1819. (Note that this is still within the pre-conversion period.) It was a significant alteration in attitude as belief or faith in the efficacy of mana of the great male akua gods to influence positive outcome in human spheres of power and action from a supportive spiritual source.

So-called "deviant" behavior in the pre-contact period by commoners, while the kapu system was in force, constituted capital offenses against both the akua and the community, so that chiefs and priests enforced the penalty as required by a system established in traditional custom through belief of the entire society in the akua gods. Pre-contact deviant behavior by the 'aia (ungodly) against the kapu system is documented: "But there were people who had no god, and who worshipped nothing; these atheists were called 'aia." 4/

These "atheists" ('aia) in the pre-contact society are defined as


"ungodly, irreligious, wicked, careless of observing taboos" and who "led others astray." 5/ They represent a recurrent, steady percentage of the population discontent with the status quo. This "radical fringe," already existing in marginal Hawaiian society before the arrival of Captain Cook, could only have increased during the time of massive annexation of territory by Kamehameha I that obliterated traditional claims of titled chiefs to their lands and gods, both of which Kamehameha attached to his domain. Disaffection with conquest is evident in reported rebellions and retaliations by rival chiefs until they, and their families too, were dispossessed or brought under the Kamehameha administration.

The increase in numbers of conquered "deviants" were being influenced as well by the mere proximity of deviant, although natural, examples of European behavior operating out of range of akua controls with no negative results as expected. Cultural deviation by the all'i class from ordained akua authority, established in native religion by force of kapu akua, as a ripened revolt (while not military in character) became in 1819 open refutation by the chiefesses in publicly defying the efficacy of godly mana. This action by the ali'i is not to be misconstrued as violent overthrow, but rather as a reasoned movement toward -liberation of both the ali'i and maka'ainana classes from restrictions on human pleasure. (Note that restrictions on sex as plural or extramarital relations were absent. Post-conversion introduction of the Mosaic code of Biblical laws on adultery became a headache for Hawaiians.)

The chiefesses, however, could not have succeeded without support of the priesthood. The priests had charge of and professional obligation toward interpretation of the law for the ali'i, and such power was not given to ruling chiefs. In a sensitive analysis of the overthrow of the kapu system as a result of "culture fatigue," anthropologist Kroeber correctly identifies High Priest Hewahewa as the real force behind the whole overthrow. 6/ What motive drove this high priest to completely dismantle his "courts of justice" (the heiau with powers over life and death) by renouncing the authority of his public office? Nothing so liberating in bringing the law itself to justice has ever been seen on earth since, paving the way for easy conversion of Hawaiians to Christianity in 1820.

Unifying Effect of the Kinolau Concept

This section discusses the unifying effect of the kinolau concept of the akua and 'aumakua (that is, multiple symbolic forms of gods) in the religious practice of the chiefs and priests on one hand, and the commoners on the other. It is expedient for discussion of the kinolau concept to return to Malo's description of the difference between the manner of worship of chiefs/priests versus commoners as a primary factor of distinction, rather than in the objects of worship, that is, the gods worshipped in common by both systems. To quote Malo:

The names of the male deities worshipped by the Hawaiians, whether chiefs or common people, were Ku, Lono, Kane, and Kanaloa; and the various gods worshipped by the people and the ali'i were named after them. 7/

There was and still is an inherent and consistent agreement in the symbolism of identity linking through the kinolau of the akua the "national" manner of worship, or customs carried on closer to home or in places of daily, economic occupation. A pervasive system of multiple symbolic


forms (kinolau) as manifestations of the akua/'aumakua\ reaches into associations of multiple ancestral ties through common genealogies and, thusly, to other related ‘aumakua.

For example, if someone has a dream of a man with webbed feet coming on a canoe and wearing a red malo (loincloth), that personality is Kanaka-o-Kai (Man-of-the-sea), an ‘aumakua of Moloka'i families who also takes the form of a shark god. If one has a dream of a man in a red malo standing by a clear pool of fresh water, that personality is the god Kane as giver of the wai ola "water of life" (that is, procreative male fluid, drinking water, sea water as the source of man's beginnings, human blood). As the ‘aumakua Kanaka-o-kai is also Kanaka'aukai (Man-who-swims/ sails by sea), persons with the name "'Aukai" are also associated with the migration hero 'Aukele-nui-aiku. Since 'Aukele married the older sister of the volcano goddess (Pele), Na-maka-o-Kaha'i (The-eyes-of-Kaha'i), in the land of Ka-la-ke'e (Ra'iatea, Borabora, Pele's home), the name 'Aukai is related to Pele's parental ancestor, Kane-hoa-lani. As Pele in variant genealogies is given two fathers (po'olua, "two heads"), Ku and Kane, there are two parental lineages, but major maternal descent is from the goddess Haumea, who is called also Papa-hanau-moku (Papa-giving-birth-toislands) and Walinu'u. Haumea (or Papa) married four gods (Ku, Kane, Kanaloa, and Wakea). As Haumea joined with Ku, both she and Ku share the breadfruit tree as kinolau bodies. When Haumea as Papa-hanau-moku joins with Wakea, she is the mother of Ho'ohoku-ka-lani, who in turn is mother of the taro stalk, Haloa.

Haloa (Long-stalk), or the lauloa species of taro, is the symbolic representation of a large extended family of chiefs and commoners descended from Papa and Wakea. Ha is the taro stalk replanted as the huli, or corm and root cutting that regrows the starchy stem; loa (long) means that the ha is enduring. Until the 'oha forms, or the new shoot from the parent stem, the ha stalk is continually replanted as the same individual, so "long" (loa) not only in stalk (ha) but also in living "breath" (ha). A subtle understanding is found here in how Hawaiians view the character of the taro stalk, as it must come up from below water to "breathe," analogous to the human need to breathe out of water and in air (ea, "spirit"). From the joint symbolism involved comes an analogy to the extended family ('ohana). The taro corm is a kinolau of the god Kane, and the lu'au leaves, of Lono. When the Hawaiian family sits down to dinner, and the calabash of taro poi is set before them, a rule of good manners is that no one while eating Haloa should talk expectantly of the future, as "Haloa says no," meaning it is rude to speak before the ancestral staple while eating one's own words, so nothing comes of prophecy.

How does knowing the kinolau bodies of the four-fold godhead help to understand the Hawaiian concept of deity in the "real" and in the "spirit" worlds? The following kinolau outlines for each of the major gods present the holistic view of akua so as to divide the animate and inanimate nature of akua into their proper spheres of control and how they themselves are governed to provide for the daily life of mankind.

1. Symbolization of god Ku:

a. As god of forest and rain, patronized by canoe-makers and builders of the luakini (po'okanaka type) human sacrifice temples:
Ku-moku-hali'i: Ku-spreading over land.

Ku-pulupulu: Ku-of-the-under-growth (pulupulu), fern down, used in tinder, fire-making; equated sometimes with Lata, ancestor of the menehune people; hence, with Ku-ka-ohi'a-laka, -ln-the-lehua-tree, god of the hula dance, and god in the haku-ohi'a image on the Ku heiau.

Ku-o-lono-wao: Ku-of-the-deep-forest (wao, uninhabited by human beings).

Ku-a-lana-wao, Ku-aela-na-wao: (Variant of Ku-o-lono-wao, one of the gods of the canoe)

Ku-ka-ohi1a-laka: Ku-of-the-ohi'a-laka tree (the lehua tree; see Ku-pulupulu, above).

Ku-ka-'ie'ie: Ku-of-the-wild-pandanus vine (Freycinetla scandens)

Ku-mauna: Ku-of-the-mountain.

Ku-holoholo-pali: Ku-sliding-down-steeps (God of canoe-hauling over cliffs).

Ku-pepeiao-loa/Ku-pepeiao-poko: Ku-of-long-ears/Ku-of-shortears; gods of the pepeiao or "ears" of the canoe interior, used as handles for hauling and later for sea supports.

Ku-pa'ai-ke'e: Ku-adzing-out-the-canoe (Ku-in-the-reversible adz).

b. Ku as god of husbandry; patronized by farmers.

Ku-ka-o'o: Ku-of-the-digging-stick.

Ku-kulia: Ku-of-dry-farming.

Ku-ke-olowalu: Ku-of-wet-farming.

Ku-'ula-uka: Ku-of-the-abundance-of-uplands.

c. Ku as god of fishing; patronized by fishermen.

Ku-'ula-kai: Ku-of-the-abundance-of-the-sea; "red" things in the sea symbolized "abundance" of the sea; sacred to Ku

d. Ku as god of war and sorcery; patronized by warriors/chiefs.

Ku-nui-akea: Ku-the-supreme-god.

Ku-ka'ili-moku: Ku-snatcher-of-land; war god of Hawaii, cared for by Liloa, handed down to 'Umi and inherited by Kamehameha from Ka-lani-opu'u; war god of the 'Uni-Kamehameha line of kings of the Mahi clan of Kohala-Hamakua district.

Ku-ke-oloewa: Ku-the-supporter, god of the Maui kings; captured by Kamehameha the Great.

Ku-ho'one'enu'u: Ku-pulling-together-the-earth; god of Pakaka temple of Oahu chiefs and their war god; captured by Kamehameha.

Ku-waha-ilo: Ku-maggot-mouth; god who received human sacrifices, symbolized as the tongue; kinolau bodies in whirlwind, earthquake, caterpillar, blood; mo'o reptile with "flashing eyes and thrusting tongue."

e. ku as god of healing/invoked with the goddess Hina in Ku and Hina worship.

Ku symbolizes the east point of the compass. Hina, as the moon, symbolizes the west.


f. Ku as god of sorcery.

Ku-koa'e: Ku-tropic-bird; the Ku-koa'e shrine was erected by a chief for the deification into an aumakua after death; also for circumcision rites for young chiefs.

g. Ku of bird-catching; patronized by bird-snarers.

Ku-huluhulu-raanu: Ku-birdfeathers; god of bird-snarers, bird-limers, and all who did featherwork.

h. Ku gods as chiefs' gods:


Ku-maka-iki: Ku-small-eyes

Ku-maka-nui: Ku-big-eyes

Ku-makela Ku-maka'aka'a

Ku-holoholo-kaua: Ku-run-wars

Ku-koa: Ku-warrior/courage

Ku-nui-akea: Ku-of-wide-expanse (the highest form and rank of Ku as war god)

Ku-ka'ili'moku: Ku-snatcher-of-land

Ku-waha-ilo-o-ka-puni: Ku-maggot-mouth-of-overcoming

i. Ku symbolization summary:

1) Fibrous pulupulu of fern, used in fire-making and for stuffing mummified corpses; pulupulu, as of coconut sennit, for rope and cordage to wind adz blade to handle (a form of Ku), and for lashing canoe parts and house timbers.
2) 'Ie'ie pandanus vine, used as rope for tying the tops of the felled trees and for girdling the tree before cutting; red spathe of the flower is a phallic symbolof Ku as male god.
3) The adz, as used in sacred ceremonies on the Ku temple and for cutting wood and adzing out canoes; the primary "tool" form of Ku as used by carpenters.
4) Coconut tree as proceeding out of the head of the eel, a form of Ku, related to the caterpillar (Kumuhea, son of Ku), worm (ilo, as worm of corruption, i.e., Ku-waha-ilo; ilo, as sprouting shoot of the coconut), sea cucumber, eel; coconut tree provides the materials for making sennit, also provides the drinking nut, has many uses for survival on the ocean and on land.
5) Breadfruit tree, wood and flower (as the husband of Haumea, goddess in the breadfruit tree).
6) Upright stem of the ti plant (Cordyline terminalis); or "uprightness" (ku) of solid plant stems and hardwood trees or shrubs, particularly as used in making canoes and building houses.

2. Symbolization of the god Lono (partial):


a. As god of rain:

Lono-nui-akea: Lono-of-wide-expanse.
Lono-nui-noho-i-ka-wai: (Great-Lono-dwelling-in-water.)
1) Visible in cloud and storm phenomena: Thunder; rainclouds; "Blood-red rainfall" (uakoko) as flood after storm; rainbow (uakoko); Lightning (maka'alohilohi, "flashing eyes").
2) Heard as sound of thunder (Lono), thus the verb ho'olono, "to hear."

b. As god of the agricultural year:

Lono-i-ka-makahiki: Lono-in-the-year; Lono-in-the-first-fruits-season
1) God of first fruits, tax-collecting, sports, in the makahiki season.
(a) Major forms: Ipu o Lono (gourd, hue, ipu); (sweet potato, 'uala)
Ipu o Lono image in hale mua (unu o Lono)
2) God of the ahu-pua'a image.
(a) The boar incarnation of Lono as Kamapua'a the hog demigod (kupua). Represented as a pig's head carved from kukui wood.
(b) As the medicine god:
(c) Plant forms of Kamapua'a, as medicinal kinolau of Lono:
kuki: Aleurites moluccana
ama'uma'u fern: Sadleria spp.
hala: Pandanus odoratissimus
uhaloa: Waltheria americana
kukae-pua'a grass: Digitaria pruriens
(Pua'a) olomea: Perrottetia sandwicensis
hapu'u fern: Cibotium spp.
lu'au leaf: <u>Colocasis esculenta
hinu pua'a banana: Muscacear spp. (black)
limu lipu'upu'u: Valonia utricularis
ki (ti): Cordyline terminalis
3) Images of Lono-i-ka-makahiki (other than Ipu o Lono gourd image)
Lono-makua (makahiki standard): Lono-father
Called the akua loa: (long god, carried around the island);
akua poko: (short god, carried inland).
c. As god of fire-making:
Lono-pele, Lono-makua:
Lono-in-lava-flow, Lono-Father.
1) In firesticks, the 'aunaki (grooved, light wood); ' aulima (held in the land, hard wood) (Polynesian fire-plow method).
2) Lono-pele, Lono-makua: names of the volcano goddess; Pele god of fire-making.
d. Other kinolau of the god Lono.
1) "Pig-fish" forms of Kamapua'a/Lono:
humuhumu-nukunuku-a-pua'a: Rhinecanthus aculeatus
humuhumu: all triggerfishes
kumu: Upeneus prophyreus, goatfish
'ohua palemo: young of uhu, parrotfish
paulu: surgeonfish
pawalu: oilfish (Ruvettus pretiosus)
2) Sacred black color: hiwa, hiwahiwa (as of sacrificial pig).
Shiny black color: hinu, hinuhinu (as of sacrificial banana).
3) Lono-muku: Lono-cut-off (as moon phases, dark night)
Another name for Hina-hanai-a-ka-malama, goddess of the moon.

3. Symbollzation of the god Kane:

a. Atmospheric and geophysical phenomena:
1) Kane-nui-akea: sky
2) Kane-ka-'onohi-o'ka-la: sun
3) Kane-i-ka-hoku-lani: star
4) Kane-hekili: thunder
5) Kane-wawahi-lani
Kane-uila-ma(ka)-ke-ha-'i-ka-lani: lightning
Kane-i-ka-poha(ku)-ka•a: hailstones
6) Kane-i-ka-punohu-'ula: red rainbow
Kane-i-ke-anuenue: rainbow
Ke-ao-popolo-hua-mea-a-Kane: purple thunderhead
7) Kane-i-ke-pili: cloudburst, atmosphere
Kane-i-ka-ua: rain
Kane-i-ke-ao-lani: heavenly cloud
Kane-i-ke-ao-luna: upper clouds
Kane-i-ke-ao-lewa-lalo: lower clouds
Kane-i-ka-maka-o-ka-opua: tips of the horizon clouds
Kane-i-ka-pua-lena: yellow cloud
8) Kane-i-ka-pa-kolonahe: in the gentle breeze
Kane-i-ke-aheahe-malie: in the calm breeze
Kane-i-ka-makani-iki: in the slight wind
Kane-i-ka-makani-nui: in the great wind
Kane-i-ka-puahiohio: in the whirlwind
Kane-i-ke-kiu: in the Kiu wind (sharp point)
9) Kane-i-ke-ahi: fire
Kane-i-ka-'ohu: mist
Kane-i-ka-noe: mist
Kane-i-ka-uahi (-nui, iki): smoke
Kane-i-ke-aka: shadow
Kane-i-ke-aka-o-Kapolei; shadow-of-Kapo-lei
10) Kane-hulihia (i-Kahiki): overturning of Kahiki (earthquake)

b. Water

Kane-i-ka-pahu'a-nui: great thrust

Kane-i-ka-pahu-wai (nui, iki): water

Kane-i-ka-wai-ola: (Ka-wai-ola-a-Kane, the healing waters of Kane; fresh water).

c. Agriculture

Kane-pua'a: pig

d. Reef, coral

Kane-kokala: coral

Kane-i-ke-kokala-loa: reef

Kane-i-ke-kokala-lu-honua: shaking coral

Kane-i-ke-kokala-ku-honua: steadfast coral

Kane-i-ke-kokala-kiu: sharppointed coral

Kane-i-ke-kokala-ahe: wafted coral

e. Directions (movement, stationary position).

Kane-i-ka-holoholo-uka: to run upland

Kane-i-ka-holoholo-kai: to run towards the sea; short travel (running, sailing)

Klne-i-ka-holo-nui: great travel

Kane-noho-uka: living upland

Kane-noho-kai: living by the sea

Kane-halo-luna: to look upward

Kane-halo-lalo: to look downward

Kane-halo-lewa-lalo: to look in the lower spaces of the atmosphere

f. Land formations.

Kane-noho-pali-luni: dwelling in the upper cliff

Kane-noho-pali-lalo: dwelling in the lower cliff
g. Plants.
Kane-i-ka-ho'opuakea: pale flower
Kane-i-ka-pua-lalahua: seed-scattering flower
Kane-i-kamaile: Alyxia olivaeformis
Kane-i-ka-palai: Microlepi setosa
Kane-i-ka-ei'ie: Freycinetla arborea
Kane-i-ka-pua-lehua: Metrosideros macropus
Kane-i-ka-pualena: yellow flower
Kane-i-ka-'olapa: Cheirodendron spp.
Kane-i-ka-halapepe: Dracaena (Pleomele) aurea
Kane-i-ke-kalo: Colocasia esculenta
Kane-i-ke-ko: Saccharum officinarum
Kane-'ohe: Graminae bambusa
Kane-i-ka-'awa: Piper methysticum
(pua-kala): spiny poppy (kala, 'to forgive')
(limu-kala): seaweed, Sargassum spp.
h. Birds.
Ka-pueo-kahi: lone owl (bird of Kamehameha IV)
Ka-pueo-makalulu: owl of peace ("still eyes")
i. Procreation, fertility.
Pohaku-o-Kane: stone-of-Kane pillar as fertility shrine

4. Symbolization of the god Kanaloa.

a. God of the sea.
octopus, as symbol of the eight-eyed, or eight-legged wind compass rayfish whale, propoise, whale ivory coral (with Kane)
b. Plant forms.
banana fiber, as used in cordage ('awe'awe, plantain).
uhaloa (Waltheria americana), with Kamapua'a/Lono
black 'awa ('awa hiwa), with Kane.
c. Other
sunlight and white color (with Kane)

To summarize the discussion of kinolau symbolism, although more thorough analysis is really needed, suffice it to say that a significant number are staple plants, or basic, necessary food plants: taro (Kane, Lono, Haloa); sweet potato (Lono); breadfruit (Ku, Haumea); cane (Kane). Another group are medicine and narcotic plants; 'uhaloa (Lono, Kanaloa); ti plant (Ku, Lono); kala (Lono); or fiber plants: coconut (Ku); banana plaintain (Kanaloa); fern down as stuffing for embalming the dead or for fire-making (Ku-pulupulu, Lono-makua). A very important group are hardwood plants and trees used in making weapons, implements, and in general building of houses, canoes, or carving of images, all forms of Ku. Others


are plants used in constructing parts of the temple, as fencing or thatching: lama (Lono); loulu palm (Ku).


This section discusses post-conversion Hawaiian conflict in native identity, or crisis in self and group esteem, reflecting positive or negative personality or Identity changes; or, the opposite, Hawaiian steadfastness in tradition with resiliency in adjusted or modified personality and identity change. As we contemplate the first Hawaiian "Christians", the names of several powerfully influential people come into view, including Henry 'Opukahaia and David Halo. Henry 'Opukahaia, or Obookiah, was a young boy when war took the lives of his parents and baby brother and made him a captive in the household of his captors. He endured the stay until other men threw his aunt off a cliff into the sea. He stole away on a ship with Captain Brintnall "from New York." In 'Opukahaia's own words he tells what it was like to feel abandoned in the society of the 1790's:

At death of my parents...I was with them; I saw them killed with a bayonet—and with them my little brother, not more than two or three months old. So that I was left alone without father and mother in this wilderness world. Poor boy, thought I within myself, after they were gone, are there any father or mother of mine at home that I may go and find them at home? No, poor boy am I. And while I was at play with other children—after we had made an end of playing, they return to their parents—but I was returned into tears;—for I have no home, neither father nor mother. I was now brought away from my home to strange place and thought of nothing more but want of father or mother, and to cry day and night.
While I was with my uncle, for some time I began to think about leaving that country to go to some other part of the world. I did not care where I shall go to. I thought to myself if I should get away, and go to some other country, probably, I may find some comfort, more than to live there without father and mother...
...the captain made some inquiry to see if we were willing to come to America; and soon I made a motion with my head that I was willing to go. This man was very agreeable, and his kindness much delighted my heart, as if I was his own son, and he was my own father. Thus I still continue thankful for his kindness toward me.
...As soon as my uncle heard that I was going to leave him, he shut me up in a room, for he was not willing to let me go. While I was in the room, my old grandmother coming in asked me what was my notion of leaving them, and go with people whom I know not. I told her it is better for me to go than to stay there. She said if I should leave then I shall not see them any more. I told her that I shall come back in a few months, if I live. Her eyes were filled with tears. She said I was a very foolish boy. 8/

This moving personal account written in fluent English by a native Hawaiian scholar while in New England training to return as a missionary to the Hawaiian people, tells a certain truth about the character of the Hawaiian people at the time of European contact. When 'Opukahaia


died in 1818, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions sent the First Company instead, men like Hiram Bingham, Asa Thurston, and Elisha Loomis. He was converted completely to Christianity and by the time of death had mastered English and Latin, common arithmetic, geometry, and was learning Hebrew. Because of the strength and fervor of 'Opukahaia's determination to bring Christianity to Hawaii, the mission felt obliged to undertake forming the First Company and sent it out in 'Opukahaia's place. One of 'Opukahaia's letters frames this frustrated commitment:

I hope the Lord will send the Gospel to the Heathen land where the words of the Savior never yet had been. Poor people worship the wood, and stone, and shark, and almost everything [as] their gods; the Bible is not there, and heaven and hell they do not know about it. I yet in this country and no father and no mother. But God is friend if I will do his will, and not my own will. 9/

David Malo, born in 1793, commenced his studies for Christian ministry at 30 years of age. He spent the previous 30 years immersed in ancient culture preparing for the priesthood. Converted in 1823 in Lahaina, he began writing the Mo'olelo Hawaii (Hawaiian Antiquities), a historical description of ancient mores, after 1831, in the company of other illustrious Hawaiian peers at Lahainaluna Seminary. Before his death in 1853, Malo finished other writings that have been lost. Had he not written the Mo'olelo Hawaii, all that has been included about ancient religion in this Report would never have been available. Although converted, Malo still accepted the task of writing about the past he had come to reject.

Malo cannot be fully appreciated, however, by reading his written work without assessing his lifetime as a period of immense cultural upheaval:

1) The conquest of Oahu by Kamehameha in 1795 (Malo was two years old);
2) The ceding of Kaua'i to Kamehameha by Kaumuali'i in 1810 (Malo was seventeen);
3) The death of Kamehameha I in 1819 and overthrow of the kapu system in the same year (Malo was twenty-six);
4) The arrival of the First Company of American missionaries in 1820 (Malo was twenty-seven);
5) The conversion of Malo at Lahaina in 1823 (Malo was thirty); William Ellis arrived in Hawaii with Tahitian converts who spoke fluent English;
6) Malo entered Lahainaluna Seminary in 1831 (he was thirty-eight when he commenced his studies); 10/ [See footnote for explanation of curriculum at Lahainaluna Seminary.]
7) The first printing press at Lahainaluna Seminary published the first Hawaiian language newspaper, Ka Lama Hawai'i (The Hawaiian Torch) in 1834 (Malo was forty-one);
8) The Hawaiian Magna Carta, or Declaration of Rights, was promulgated by Kamehameha III in 1839 (Malo was forty-six);
9) The first constitution setting up a constitutional monarchy was promulgated by Kamehameha III in 1840 (Malo was forty-seven );
10) The first partitioning of land in the Great Mahele took place in 1848 (Malo was fifty-five);
11) The Kuleana Act of 1850 gave the maka'ainana title in fee to land (Malo was fifty-seven);
12) Kamehameha III died in 1854; Malo was already dead in 1853 at the age of 60.

The list of critical events does not include the difficulties experienced by the fledgling kingdom with foreign nations between 1793 and 1853. During this period Kamehameha III witnessed the civil war on Kaua'i in 1824 (death of Liholiho in England); the struggle between the clergy of Protestant (American) and Catholic (French) missions, until 1839, when freedom of religion became a constitutional guarantee; the Lord George Paulet episode in 1843 by which the king temporarily ceded the government to Britain; restoration of sovereignty to the Hawaiian monarchy by Admiral Thomas in 1843; and the smallpox epidemic, 1853.

It would seem then that in 1853-1854 two great Hawaiian representatives of the post-conversion period of immense change in Hawaiian life and society died: David Malo and Kauikeaouli (Kamehameha III). Their attitudes were interesting contrasts. Malo, destined for the Hawaiian priesthood, followed that career out by switching allegiance in the midstream of life away from the Hawaiian akua to the Akua Mana Loa, Jehovah of the Old Testament and the "Perfect Spirit" (akua Hemolele), or "Father: (Makua) of the New Testament." By the end of his life he had become too disillusioned by the knowledge that foreigners would be arriving in such sufficiently larger numbers to eventually overwhelm Hawaiians:

Malo was one of that class to whom the prophetic vision of the oncoming tide of invasion--

peaceful though it was to be—that was destined to overflow his native land and supplant in a measure its indigenous population was acutely painful and not to be contemplated with any degree of philosophic calm; and this in spite of the fact that he fully recognized the immense physical, moral and intellectual benefits that had accrued and were still further to accrue to him and his people from the coming of that man to his shores. And this sentiment, which was like a division of councils in his nature, controlled many of his actions during his life, and decided the place of his burial after death. 11/

In order to escape the "tide of invasion," Malo requested burial atop Mount Ball high above Lahainaluna Seminary.

By contrast, Kauikeaouli, although king, never submitted to conversion to Christianity and never became a member of the established Protestant Church at Kawaiaha'o in Honolulu, although he attended services. What would Henry 'Opukahaia say if he had lived to be a bold instigator of such changes wrought by two living Hawaiian personalities, Hawaiian priest and ruling chief, after the 1819 overthrow of the kapu system that propelled them into changed roles of diminished authority and power? This is the background against which to evaluate the search today by Hawaiians for traditional values in the culture that got away from them.



In 1979, the Humanities Conference addressed these issues of concern and need among Hawaiians in a panel discussion on: "Can the Humanities Help the Search for Traditional Hawaiian Values?" Since then the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has become a reality, but at that time the community was groping for answers to some of these questions:

Do humanities scholars know what values motivated ancient Hawaiian society and to what extent they are now present in the contemporary Hawaiian society? Moreover, if they do know what they were and are, are such values proper for present-day Hawaiian society with its multi-ethnic composition? Or, rather, if they are worth recovering, should they be applied to present-day social aims to promote inter-ethnic understanding or to be strictly applied toward the Hawaiian Renaissance? If so, how shall they be applied and who shall determine the effective means of implementation?
Let us assume that traditional Hawaiian values are worth knowing by humanities scholars and worth recovering by both the general public and the Hawaiian people themselves. What questions would then be posed? If it should be assumed that the people of Hawaii and the Hawaiians in particular wish to recover certain traditional values, does this imply that they genuinely feel something of tremendous value has been lost to all of society that was formerly unique to the aboriginal group? What then do they wish to recover for the sake of all and also what, in more specific terms, ought to be recovered for the sake of the Hawaiian people? Whose responsibility would it then be to determine those differences in value choices and under what conditions? Would it be largely a question for an open society to contemplate or is it one in which the role of the Hawaiian group may assert priority in basic decision-making? If the latter, in what role would the humanities scholars then find themselves if they have not yet ascertained what their present state of actual knowledge of Hawaiian values is, and if it is sufficiently reliable enough when used to augment or to modify any determination effected chiefly through the means of political, rather than intellectual or economic process? 12/

Since the Humanities Conference of 1979, when these questions were first offered for consideration, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) has been mandated by the State Constitution, with full community support and legislative backing, precisely to give Hawaiians priority in decision-making on issues directly affecting their lives now and in the approaching future.

The need for research into the area of indigenous Hawaiian cultural values, including those of ethics and religion, has become a primary requirement in OHA's program for cultural recovery. Most Hawaiians are unsure of what the true, dependable, and trustworthy models are and if they are suited to their present needs and conditions, while some feel they need to be simply recognized, esteemed, and respected not just for what they are but who they are, the last living remnant of the original inhabitants of this place. What can others learn about cultural extinction as it


rapidly lunges forward in the wake of replacement by values inimical, in many ways, to those of extended families in large kind groups? What can silent temples be made to reveal of Hawaiian knowledge if probed, and probed with understanding? What values, if any, exist there for Hawaiians to realize how their families and ancestors of old fared under kind or ruthless power figures?

The issue of Kaho'olawe looms large in the minds of young and old alike, but the issue remains a divisive polarization of opinion between young Hawaiians who wish the Navy to stop bombing long enough to allow them to set up religious practices in accordance with present law, and older Hawaiians who see no need to recover it from the United States Navy. Common ground or agreement between them may be found, perhaps, in the realization of scientific interest and curiosity about existing archaeological sites on that island.

OHA states in its 1982 report the view that: "The Hawaiian religion was the first aspect of our culture to be suppressed. It is today the least understood dimension of the culture. As we shed light on religious and ceremonial practices, we will choose more freely how we live our lives."

There is no doubt in anyone's mind that much can be gained in combing recorded but untranslated Hawaiian documents for history on such sites that have been wasting away through neglect, due to lack of funds to study them more fully. The value, especially for young Hawaiian people, in involving themselves in careful, patient study as such is that it generates enthusiasm for authentic history. 13/


From all appearances the OHA cultural plan under the State of Hawaii for implementation of action gather, record, and to make available information desired by the Hawaiian community about traditional values a religion and ethics, or rites and ceremonies, seems to be on solid ground.

In the same direction one major private corporation, American Factor has begun to seriously consider building, within a live native Hawaiian village setting, a functioning heiau kilolani, or astronomical tempi than, among other things, will feature alignment to the celestial equator/ ecliptic coordinate system, which is known to have been used by ancient Hawaiian priests in computing the sidereal and tropical calendar.

In the same context, astrophysicists and geographers have been drawn to the Pacific, Hawaii included, to continue research into potential archaeoastronomic sites in the Oceanic and Southeast Asian area. Within the last few years, some of this work has reached publication. 14/

Along these lines of inquiry, local, national, and international interest in the Pacific archaeo- and ethno-astronomy may perhaps grow, with concomitant interest in the aboriginal religious institutions that raised, as in Hawaii, temples to celestial and spiritual understanding. On never knows how much human progress there is in this mustard seed of genuine hope.

*/ NOTE: These recommendations are reproduced directly from Professor Johnson's paper, and do not necessarily refect the views of the Native Hawaiians Study Commission. (See "Conclusions and Recommendations," above.)




1/ David Malo, Hawaiian Antiquities (Moolelo Hawaii) (Honolulu: Bernice P. Bishop Museum, Special Publication 2, 1951), Second Edition, translated by Dr. Nathaniel b. Emerson (1898), p. 82.

2/ Urey Lisianski, Voyage Round the World in the Years 1803, 1804, 1805, and 1806, Bibliotheca Australiana No. 42 (New York: Da Capo Press, 1968), pp. 84, 87, 120, and 127.

3/ See Rubellite K. Johnson, Kumulipo, Hawaiian Hymn of Creation, Volume I (Honolulu: Topgallant Publishing Co., Ltd., 1981); pp. 145- 14 to 145-19 of this volume were included in Professor Johnson's paper and are appended to this Report, in the Appendix containing the written comments received by the Native Hawaiians Study Commission.

4/ Malo, p. 82.

5/ Mary Kawena Pukui and Samuel H. Elbert, Hawaiian Dictionary (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1971), p. 9.

6/ See A. I. Kroeber, Anthropology: Culture Patterns and Processes (New York: First Harbinger books, 1963). Pages 211-213 were included in Professor Johnson's paper and are appended to this Report, in the Appendix containing the written comments received by the Native Hawaiians Study Commission, as pages 145-21 to 145-22.

7/ Malo, p. 81.

8/ Henry Opukahaia, Memoirs of Henry Obookiah, A Native of Owhyhee, and a Member of the Foreign Mission School; Who Died at Cornwall, Connecticut February 17, 1818, Aged 26 Years, edited by Edwin Dwight (Honolulu: Published on the 150th Anniversary of his death, 1968), p. 7.

9/ Ibid., p. 28, Letter from Andover, dated December 15, 1812.

10/ The following paragraphs of Professor Johnson's paper appeared in her original paper at this point in text:

It is important here to realize what the curriculum was like at Lahainaluna Seminary between 1831 and 1850. The curriculum included the "hard" sciences and higher mathematics (geometry, trigonometry, navigation), geography (Biblical and world), anatomy, grammar in Hawaiian and English, and not purely religious subjects. The texts used were produced in Hawaiian at the school by translating from English and other language texts, but it is the calibre of the Hawaiian technical texts that astound present-day scientists. Evaluation of the Anahonua (Land Surveying) text in Hawaiian, as written by the Rev. Ephraim Clark, has been evaluated by Dr. E. Dixon Stroup, oceanographer (Hawaii Institute of Geophysics, University of Hawaii). Below is a facsimile of his evaluation:

The Manual of Navigation is the last major division of Ke Anahonua, published in Hawaiian at Lahainaluna in 1834. It is the most technically advanced section in a book which begins with the basic definitions of geometry ("point," "line," and "plane"). The methods described include both dead reckoning and celestial navigation
as used by western navigators in the 1830's (and, in fact, into the early 1900's). While there is no input of Polynesian navigation, a lot is revealed about the surprisingly high academic level of instruction at Lahainaluna in these early days. It is clear from the text, and in many illustrative navigational problems and exercises, that the students were required to have ability in the following areas:
Basic geography (world wide).
Astronomical concepts (orbits and relative distances of moon, sun, planets, and fixed stars; the thin atmosphere of earth in empty space,- curvature of the earth and its effect on the horizon; refraction of light, etc.).
Worldwide time and its relation to the earth's rotation.
Use of a sextant (at least in principle) and drawing instruments (in practice).
Abstract concepts, such as comparison of real observations with those which might be made by a hypothetical observer at the center of the Earth.
Use of mathematical tables of various sorts (familiarity with log tables) and the use of logarithms in working numerical problems—(Note: This was introduced with no explanation in the text). Trigonometry and the use of tables of trig functions. Use of a log-scale ruler (like a slide rule without the slide) in working problems. Working out of quite complex problems, involving many steps. (As an example, the following quote is part of the instructions for working up Lunar Observations:
"From Table XIV, extract the logarithm equal to the parallax and it is written in two columns. Write down the cosecant of the Lunar altitude below the second (column), and the cosecant of the solar altitude under the first, and the sine of the corrected distance under the first, and the tangent of the corrected distance under the second. Add these two columns (discarding the interval 20), then look for the logarithms in Table XIV, where the two arcs are written. If the first arc is greater than the second, subtract the excess from the corrected distance; however, if the second arc is greater than the first, add the excess to the corrected distance; and if the corrected distance is greater than 90° then subtract the sum of the two arcs from the corrected distance; this the true distance.")

Comments of the Translation: My main reaction is admiration for the way that they were able so successfully to put pretty heavy technical material into Hawaiian, along with numerical examples. This is a Manual, not just a simplified introduction to the subject. I know I would have a hard time trying to put a lot of this across in English, to college freshmen today!

It's also clear that they had a high opinion of the ability of their students, or they wouldn't have taken (what must have been) the very great trouble of printing all this complex stuff, with numerical tables and examples of computations. (Setting the type by hand—wow!)

The text is also an excellent illustration of the general principle that, for translation of technical material, the translator had better


have some technical background in the area, besides knowledge of Hawaiian. Would someone not a navigator or cartographer know that "na hakina meridiana" should translate as "meridional parts" and nothing else? Or that "alanuihonua" should be "ecliptic?" Or "hina "dip?" "Holo liilaumania," "plane sailing?" The text is full of these; a translator unfamiliar with the English terminology would make a botch of it no matter how hard he tried. With such background, the Hawaiian reads with remarkable ease. (E. Dixon Stroup, Manuscript translation of the Manual of Navigation in Ke Anahonua, section entitled Ke Kumu o Ka Holoholomoku (the principles of sailing in ships or navigation) (Lahainaluna: Press of the High School, 1834), pp. 83-122; in Rubellite K. Johnson, "The Contribution of Lahainaluna to Educational Excellence," Keynote Address on the occasion of the Sesquicentenniel Celebration of the founding of Lahainaluna Seminary in Hawaii in 1831 (presented May 23, 1981).

11/ Dr. Nathaniel B. Emerson, in Malo, p. xiii.

12/ Rubellite K. Johnson, "Can the Humanities Help the Search for traditional Hawaiian Values," Hawaii Committee for the Humanities Newsletter (May, 1979), pp. 1-7; in Cultural Pluralism and the Humanities, Proceedings of the 1979 Humanities Conference, panel entitled: "The Hawaiian Renaissance and the Humanities" (Honolulu: Chaminade University, April 14, 1979).

13/ See two pieces appended to this Report in the Appendix containing the written comments received by the Native Hawaiians Study Commission: au article on the study of Ku'ilioloa Heiau, by young students (Hawaii Coastal Zone News, Vol. 4, No. 10 (February, 1980)); and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs' program for Hawaiian religion (First Draft, 1982).

14/ See, Armando Da Silva and Rubellite K. Johnson, "Ahu a 'Umi Heiau, a Native Hawaiian Astronomical and Directional Register," in Ethnoastronomy and Archaeoastronomy in the American Tropics, edited by Anthony F. Aveni and Gary Urton, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 385 (May 14, 1982): pp. 313-331. This study appears in the Appendix of this Report.

Personal tools