Connecting with History
While you’re staying home, Hawaiian Mission Houses brings its programming to you. Bookmark this page and check back daily for a new way to learn and have fun with history.
Today’s huaʻōlelo o ka lā is ka moena, meaning mat or resting place. It is dervied from the word meaning to sleep or lie down which is “moe”. Before the Western style bed was introduced, Hawaiians usually slept on moena lau hala (pandanus leaf mats), and actually preferred these over the missionary beds. Kaʻahumanu was known to sleep on a stack of at least 30 mats.
There are many different words for types of moena, showcasing how intricate and detailed the Hawaiian language is in differentiating things. There are moena kumunuʻa which are sleeping mats that were thicker at one end to be used as a pillow, moena ʻāneʻeneʻe which were smaller mats that were carried around and used to sit on, moena makapepe which had medium sized wefts, and moena makaliʻi which had small, narrow sized wefts, just to name a few.
Now and Then
Partners in Change
March 26, is Prince Kūhiō Day
Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole was born on March 26, 1871 to David Kahalepouli Piʻikoi and Victoria Kinoiki Kekaulike. He is descended from Kaumualiʻi, the last independent King of Kauaʻi. Under King Kalākaua, he was appointed to the royal cabinet administering the Department of the Interior. After the 1893 Overthrow, he participated in the 1895 counter-revolution and was sentenced to a year in prison. He served his full prison term. He was elected to be the congressional delegate for the Territory of Hawaiʻi in 1902 and began his service as delegate in 1903, serving until his death in 1922. In 1903, he reorganized the Royal Order of Kamehameha I and was founder of the first Hawaiian Civic Club. In 1919, he introduced the first Hawaiʻi Statehood Act. He served on the first Hawaiian Homes Commission created by the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1921. He died January 7, 1922. He is buried at Mauna ʻAla, the Royal Mausoleum in Nuʻuanu.
At Home Activities
“Lucky We Live in Hawaiʻi”
“Lucky We Live Hawaiʻi” is a saying we hear often living in our beautiful Aina (land). Inspire a love for the written word by creating an illustrated nature poetry book with your child. Poetry excites the imagination, taking us on journeys to other times and places. Let your child’s imagination take them away by encouraging your child to write poetry inspired by nature in their own backyard.
Women’s Right to Vote
Did you know that this year in 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women’s constitutional right to vote? Let’s celebrate this milestone for democracy and equal rights. Have fun finding the key words in our 19th Amendment word search.
Role Models of Perseverance
In honor of celebrating 100 years of the 19th Amendment, Cemetery Pupu Theatre is bringing history to life with, “Woman’s Triumph: Celebrating 100 years of 19th Amendment”. Think of a great woman role model and try this activity at home — Role Models of Perseverance.
Electric light bulbs weren’t available until the late 1800’s. The missionaries arrived in Hawai’i in 1820. What do you think they used for light at night? If you said candles, you are correct! Making candles was an important chore for missionary children. Learn how to make your own hand-dipped candles.
Make a Cereal Box House
In December of 1820, the missionaries received a pre-cut house from New England, known as ‘The Frame House’, which served as the mission’s center. The building still stands in downtown Honolulu across the street from the Kawaiaha’o Church, and is the oldest wood frame structure still standing in Hawaiian Islands. Reflecting on the oldest home in Hawaiʻi, this week’s design challenge is “Make a Cereal Box House”. This fun project made with recycled materials can be created with family and friends.
Design challenge: Making a Boat
Hawaii’s first people arrived in double-hulled, voyaging canoes, which they sailed over vast expanses of the Pacific Ocean. The Missionaries also sailed over 18,000 miles to arrive at Kailua Kona on the Big Island in April of 1820. Boats play a major role in Hawaiian history and are just as important today. Be a part of our “Design Challenge: Making a Boat” When you have accomplished the task take a short video or picture of your child’s boat floating to share with us!
Please send video or picture to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let us know if it is okay to post to social media or our website.
How to Make Palaʻie
It’s harder than it looks. Palaʻie (loop and ball game) can be played just about anywhere if you have some space to swing it around. The implement is made of the coconut leaf midribs (handle), a braided rope and the coconut tree palm cloth (aʻa) (found at the base of the coconut leaves) formed into a ball slightly larger than the loop.
Here’s how to make your own at home!
Did you know that Hawaiian Ali’i donated food to the missionaries every other day for over 10 years during the 1820’s? Find examples of food that was shared and consumed by the missionaries and their Ali’i friends in this word search activity.
One of the many skills that Western Missionary women taught Native Hawaiians during the early 1800’s were the domestic arts. These included sewing, spinning wool, weaving and cross stitch. Learn how to cross stitch with simple video instructions.
“Then and Now”… Try this activity at home.
Image: N-F103, Drawing by James Chamberlain, ca. 1850, HMCS Library Negative Collection
Mike Smola, the Curator of Public Programs, explains what the area around the Honolulu Mission Station looked like about the year 1850. This model is inside the Chamberlain House Orientation Center at the Hawaiian Mission Houses site.
Jacob’s ladder toys have been around for at least a few hundred years and Missionary children enjoyed playing with these toys too. Here’s how to make your own Jacob’s Ladder toy at home
Recipe to try at home! Hardtack Pilot Crackers a historical staple food.
Hardtack Pilot Crackers
The traditional staple of early missionaries traveling by ship to new lands went by a variety of names—oyster crackers, pilot biscuits, pilot crackers, saloon pilots, ship bread, ship biscuit, sea bread, hardtack, and hard bread. The bakers of the time made biscuits as hard as possible, as the biscuits would soften and become more palatable with time due to exposure to humidity and other weather elements. Because it is hard and dry, hardtack (when properly stored and transported) will survive rough handling and temperature extremes.
Aboard the American Brig the Thaddeaus
Sailing in the Thaddeus, 14 missionaries (seven mission couples) and four Hawaiian men left Boston, funded by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. They arrived in Hawai’i after 164 days.
The above drawing is from the Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives by Samuel Ruggles on March 30, 1820 “A View of [Hawai’i] and its high Mountain [Mauna Kea]”…
How to do Styrofoam Printing with Kids
Not only were the people of the first company arriving in Hawaii 200 years ago this week, but so was the first printing press!
Yesterday’s printing press demonstration on Connecting with History showed how to use a historical printing press. But prints can be made of other things as well — including your own designs! Here’s a way to do printmaking at home with designs of your own creation. Get creative!
Ball and Cup Game Demonstration
Ball and Cup was a favorite childhood game among the missionary children 200 years ago and continues to be enjoyed to this day. See instructions on how to make your own Ball and Cup toy at home with these simple materials. Have Fun!
Missionaries kept all kinds of journals documenting their daily lives during their mission in the Sandwich Islands.
Activity: Now that you are learning at home, start a journal and document your daily life. What is your routine, what did you eat today, what activities did you do? How do you feel?
Why is keeping a journal important?
To record your own personal history for future historians and to give your perspective, or point of view, on the experiences of your life. These might become very important to future historians studying the time period in which we are living.
Learn ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi
ka hale pule
Today’s huaʻōlelo o ka lā is ka hale pule, meaning church or chapel. The word hale means house and pule means to pray, so ka hale pule literally means prayer house.
This photo, taken sometime before 1885, is of Kawaiahaʻo Church with it’s original steeple. Kawaiahaʻo Church was established in 1820, which makes it 200 years old, by the first company of missionaries that came to Hawaiʻi. The church was first named “Mission Church of Honolulu”, but was later renamed to Kawaiahaʻo Church in 1840 when it became more well known and popular.
The foundation for this coral church, which was comprised of 14,000 coral blocks that were mined from the reefs, was laid in 1839 and was finished in 1842.
It was at Kawaiahaʻo Church that Kauikeaouli uttered what is now Hawaiʻi’s motto, “Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻāina i ka pono”. And historically, the monarch would take their oath of office at the church. Kawaiahaʻo did and continues to play an important role in Hawaiʻi’s society.
Today’s huaʻōlelo o ka lā is ka paipala, meaning bible. The word paipala is derived from the English term. The Holy Bible is referred to as Ka Paipala Hemolele, the word hemolele meaning holy, or sometimes Ka Palapala Hemolele, palapala meaning document or manuscript.
When the missionaries came to Hawaiʻi, they wanted to translate the bible into ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, to teach Hawaiians about religion. Before doing so, the missionaries had to develop a written language because ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi was strictly oral.
To translate the bible, 4 missionaries and 5 aliʻi had to work together. This group consisted of Hiram Bingham, Asa Thurston, William Richards, Artemas Bishop, John Adams Kuakini, Ulumaheihei Hoapili, Kēlou Kamakau, Ioane Papa ʻĪʻī, and Davida Malo.
Kauikeaouli Kaleiopapa Kuakamanolani Mahinalani Kalaninuiwaiakua Keaweaweʻulaokalani was the 3rd Kamehameha to rule over Hawaiʻi. He was born in 1814 and many believe that his name, Kauikeaouli, translates to “placed in the dark clouds”. When the missionaries came in 1820, the young prince was one of the first children to be educated by them, learning the English language. In 1825, Kauikeaouli was proclaimed mōʻī (monarch) of Hawaiʻi, following the death of Liholiho. Since he was only 10 years old at the time, Kaʻahumanu was chosen as the kuhina nui (regent) for him.
During his later years as mōʻī, he believed that education was the most important thing for the kingdom with all the changes happening around them. He proclaimed, “My kingdom shall be a kingdom of learning.” With this, missionary teachers started schools teaching the people to read and write in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi. In 1839, he established the Chief’s Children’s School to prepare future leaders to rule a kingdom that included Hawaiians and foreigners.
Todays huaʻōlelo o ka lā is kilika, meaning silk. As you can tell, the English word, silk, was “Hawaiianized” and became kilika. Another more literal translation of silk is “lole pāheʻe”, meaning slippery or smooth clothes.
In the upstairs Judd bedroom of the 1821 Frame House sits a bolt of black silk. The moʻolelo, story, behind that has to do with Kaʻahumanu and this missionary women. It was before the grand opening of Kawaiahaʻo church and Kaʻahumanu gave the missionary women this beautifully colored silk to make her and themselves dresses to wear to the event. However, these missionaries didn’t usually wear any type of gaudy looking clothes, and turned her down. Kaʻahumanu came back with this black silk, and the women made their dresses. To this day, ka ʻAhahui Kaʻahumanu (Kaʻahumanu Society) members still wear these black dresses.
ka hale waihona puke
The term “hale waihona puke” is translated to be “library”, if we break down this phrase we get “hale” which means house or building, “waihona” which is a depository, and “puke” which are books. So literally, we get the translation, “a building where books are stored”.
At the Hawaiian Mission Houses there is a vast library where people can do research on various things like genealogies and missionary life in the 1820s and onward. During this time, people can search through our online library to look through photographs, aliʻi letters, and many more!
The word hānai has many different meanings; to adopt, feed, raise, and caretaker. The practice of hānai in traditional Hawaiʻi was a very common thing. A child would be raised with someone who their parents entrusted, sometimes it was because this person could provide more for the child in terms of knowledge.
When Laura Judd, wife of Gerrit P. Judd, was giving birth, Kīnaʻu, who was Kuhina Nui at the time, came into the room asking to hānai their child; because the Judd’s were not accustomed to this practice, they declined. Despite this, Kīnaʻu and Laura became good friends afterwards.
When the first company of missionaries sailed to Hawaiʻi, it took them 164 days, or about 5 months, to go from New England to Kailua-Kona on Hawaiʻi Island, which is approximately 13,000 miles. Because this huakaʻi took place before the creation of the Panama Canal, these missionaries had to sail around the southern most tip of South America. With today’s technology, a flight from Boston to Hawaiʻi is about 12-14 hours.
In 1843, Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea (Sovereignty Restoration Day), was established by Kamehameha III, Kauikeaouli. This was after the Paulet Affair, which was a temporary occupation of Hawaiʻi by Great Britain led by Captain George Paulet.
The saying “Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻāina i ka pono” was said by Kauikeaouli during a flag ceremony that was held where Thomas Square is today. This celebration became one of the first national holidays of the Hawaiian Kingdom.
ke kuhina nui
The term “kuhina nui” is most often translated as “prime minister”, or “premier”, but according to Kuykendall, the position carried much more power. Essentially, the kuhina nui ruled alongside the Mōʻī (monarch). Kaʻahumanu was the first person to hold this title and she ruled alongside Liholiho, to whom she was appointed to as personal guardian by Kamehameha I. During her co-reign, she and Keōpuōlani influenced Liholiho to break the ʻai kapu, thus abolishing the kapu system. When the missionaries arrived in 1820, she embraced the religion and learned to read and write. Then in 1825, she set forth laws for observing the Sabbath day, and prohibiting the selling and drinking alcohol.
ke paʻi palapala
When the missionaries first came to Hawaiʻi, they had brought the Rampage printing press with them. It remained idle for two years as they learned ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi and began to develop a written alphabet. Finally on January 7, 1822, the press was run for the very first time. In attendance were Rev. Hiram Bingham, Aliʻi Keʻeaumoku of Maui, Elisha Loomis, and a few ship captains. The first document they printed was a Hawaiian and English language primer.
This photo is of a printing office in Honolulu, found in the Hawaiʻi Mission Houses library collection.
Todays word is ʻekalakia meaning church, as an organization, while hale pule is the term for the building. This word is derived from the Greek word “ekklesia” meaning “a called-out assembly or congregation”. Similarly, ʻekalakia is usually pronounced as ʻekalasia.
This photo is of Kawaiahaʻo church in 1936.
Hāhā pōʻele ka pāpaʻi o Kou
This ʻōlelo noʻeau (proverbial saying), “hāhā pōʻele ka pāpaʻi o Kou” translates to “the crabs of Kou are groped for in the dark”. Kou was the traditional name for Kawaiahaʻo, the home of the mission houses. Aliʻi (chiefs) had gaming houses here and would play things like kilu, kōnane, and ʻulumaika until very late and it was too dark to see anything so they would have to grope around to find their companions.
This photo is of the Chamberlain House on the Hawaiʻi Mission Houses site.
When the missionaries first arrived in Hawaiʻi they were gifted lots of food from the aliʻi (chiefs). They were given things like kalo, fish, meat, and fresh fruits and vegetables. They also sent to the ABCFM asking for other foods they were more accustomed to like flour, molasses, coffee, cheese, and spirits.
I ka wā kahiko (in the old times), these islands were churning out tons of food to feed the ever growing population. In fact, the island of Oʻahu was called “ʻāina momona”, or the “land fat with food.” This was because there were about 114 loko iʻa (fish ponds) here out of the approximate 200 in all of Hawaiʻi. These 114 loko iʻa were able to produce 300 to 500 pounds of fish per acre per year. On Oʻahu there were also loʻi kalo (irrigated terrace for growing taro) covering about 78% of the land. All of this food production made for this beautiful ʻāina momona, sustaining a population of over one million people.
When foreigners first came to Hawaiʻi aboard their large ships, Hawaiians had never seen such things before; they thought these foreign ships were floating islands. The Hawaiian word for island is moku, thus they called these ships moku as well.
This etching, which is a part of the Hawaiian Mission Houses Library collection, was done by John Kelly in 1932. Kelly was born in California and worked for the San Francisco Examiner as a graphic artist. In 1923, he came to Hawaiʻi with his family and was commissioned to draw out a new housing development on Oʻahu.
In January 1822, the printing press that the missionaries brought to Hawaiʻi was used for the first time. A small group of aliʻi, missionaries, and merchants were in attendance, including Reverend Bingham and Chief Keʻeaumoku of Maui. The pīʻāpā was the first thing to be printed and was used to teach reading and writing. This primer became so popular that over 2,000 copies were printed within 6 months.
Hui aku nā maka i Kou
The area we know as downtown Honolulu was traditionally called Kou. This area was known to have many gaming houses of the aliʻi (chiefs) where they would play games like kōnane and ʻulu maika. Makaʻāinana (commoners) and aliʻi alike would come together to relax and socialize.