Preserving Kona's Stories

Maile's Meanderings

Congratulations to Daifukuji on its 100th Anniversary!

For Kona’s fast growing Japanese immigrant population, Daifukuji was a welcome glimpse of home.  How comforting it must have been to see that high peaked roof and an altar gleaming with golden lotus blossoms, to hear the notes of the temple gong ringing in the air and to breathe the familiar scent of incense once more.

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Isabella and Martha on the Path Less Traveled

Author Isabella Bird said it best back in 1873 when she wrote a letter to her sister Henrietta trapped in somber Scotland: “It is a joyous green; a glory!” Isabella happened to be riding across the lower reaches of Mauna Kea at the time, but her observation is as spot on now for Kona as it was then for Hamakua. “Whenever I look up from my writing, I ask , Was there ever such a green? Was there ever such sunshine? Was there ever such an atmosphere? And Nature – for I have no other companion, and wish for none – answers,’ No’.”

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Soldiers and the Little Grass Shack in Kealakekua

In 1933, Kealakekua Bay was the setting for the annual Fourth of July canoe races. Eager spectators gathered at Napo`opo`o Beach, in those days a wide expanse of silky sand, to cheer their favorite teams to victory. During the festivities, a new song written in honor of the occasion was sung for the first time in public. As unfamiliar lyrics rang out over the water, smiling hula dancers swished to and fro, laughing as they imitated swimming fishes and eating two-finger poi with their nimble fingers.

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Honaunau ~ Refuge for Man and Beast

Surrounded by a moat of naked lava, Honaunau's emerald green coconut crowns now stood out for miles. Enthusiastic young park rangers supervised the dismantling of the core of great `Ale`ale`a heiau on the point. With my intrepid mother once again, we crept up wooden ladders and teetered on rickety temporary bridges set up for visitors to peer into the heart of the temple. I was happy when the rocks were put back in place because that structure was and is for me the epitome of a heiau, a classic beauty of the pure Hawaiian type.

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The Sweet Life ~ Donkey Delivery

In 1917 the U.S. Congress approved the 18th Amendment to the Constitution which banned the import, export, manufacture, sale and transportation of alcohol. When the new law went into effect in January of 1920, if Kona police had caught sight of Hayata delivering sake up and down Mamalahoa Road, they would have arrested him. The profitable importation of Masamune sake from Japan was deemed a crime, much to Dr. Hayashi's chagrin.

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Hikiau Heiau ~ Written in Stone

If you have never visited Henry Opukahaia’s grave, I would suggest you do. Young Henry grew up in the shadow of Hikiau, destined for the priesthood if his uncle had his way. Determined to choose his own path, at the age of sixteen year he dove into the waters of Kealakekua Bay and swam out to Captain Caleb Brintnall’s ship the Triumph and hitched a ride to New Haven, Connecticut.

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Dr. Thomas Jaggar and `Ohiki (Sand Crab)

Dr. Thomas Augustus Jaggar loved living on an island wracked, ripped, quivered and quaked by volcanoes. He pulled up his roots, firmly twisted into New England’s academic bedrock, and came to Hawaii to learn about volcanoes in nature’s laboratory. He was consumed by a desire to witness, understand, record and predict earthquakes and lava flows like no one else before him (and maybe even since).

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Pulehua

Within the stone walls enclosing Pulehua homestead were all the trappings of mauka life: butter house, saddle house and small blacksmith shop, cowboy house, house for the cook, koa kitchen and screened pantry to keep out rats, main house, vegetable and flower gardens, and, of course, that all important necessity, a hale li`ili`i (outhouse).

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