Thelma Genevieve Parish, a.k.a. Sister Parish, was born in 1918. She descended from prominent families in the history of Hawai‘i, and shared generational ties to the ‘ili of Pu‘uloa in Honouliuli Ahupua‘a. She was educated as an anthropologist, and became a Catholic nun serving for 50 years as a teacher and school administrator with the Order of Sacred Hearts. Sister Parish was a lifelong student of history and until her passing in 2004, she was working on a manuscript of Hawaiian history. Unfortunately her work has been left incomplete.
Sister Parish’s knowledge of the Pu‘uloa-Honouliuli lands and larger District of ‘Ewa was rooted in her own family’s ties to the land, and she was recognized as an important resource for historical information on ‘Ewa. Her experiences and genealogy also connected with other places around O‘ahu, and the interview transcript below includes important information pertaining to the sacred lands of windward O‘ahu. One of the memories shared speaks of the Pohukaina cave complex, which in some accounts has an entrance near the area of the Waipahū spring.
Arrangements for the 1997 interview were facilitated with the assistance of Sister Parish’s lifelong friend, Kupuna Arline Eaton and was originally conducted as a part of the preservation planning process for the Haseko cultural preserves along the Honouliuli shoreline. Release was granted on August 29, 1997, though readers are asked not to cite block quotes from this interview for any other purposes.
A summary of the topics discussed with Sister Parish are below:
• The land has undergone traumatic changes. With the passing of the sugar plantations, development has been allowed to occur without reason.
• The Dowsett/Parish family home and ranching complex was based out of Kūpaka, near the Pu‘uloa coastline. The area was famed for many types of limu. Overharvesting and environmental change has caused much of the limu to disappear.
• Ka‘ahupāhau was known as the shark goddess of Pu‘uloa. People never feared sharks.
• It is important to speak traditional place names and to care for the history of the land. Understanding the history helps us to understand why and how places are sacred. There is a great deal of native lore from the ‘Ewa District. Sister discussed the name Waipahū as an example of how names are changed, and history lost.
• Shares her mana‘o on the significance of kapu (sacredness); management of resources as a way of traditional life; and the development of kuleana (responsibilities) for the land and resources in relationship to the pono (rights) which are being claimed in modern times.
• Pu‘uloa was famous for the ‘anae holo (traveling mullet), and the health of the Pu‘uloa fishery enriched the fisheries all around O‘ahu.
• Recalled that there are traditions of a class of Hawaiians known as the “dog people.” These people resided in the caves and caverns of the coral flatlands of Honouliuli.
• Caves, caverns, and skylights on the coral plains were used traditionally (though Sister Parish did not have personal knowledge of burial sites in the region); in some traditions, the ‘ulu was first planted on O‘ahu in the open skylights of the Honouliuli Plains.
Interviewee Thelma Genevieve Parish (TGP), with Arline Wainaha Pu‘ulei Brede-Eaton (AE)
Interviewer Kepā Maly (KM)
Date and time May 2, 1997, 1:10 p.m.
KM: Aloha and mahalo.
TGP: Aloha nō!
KM: Please, if you would share your full name, date of birth, and then if you would keep telling your story then.
TGP: I’m Thelma Genevieve Parish and I was born on May the 26th, 1918. So I’m somewhat antiquated [chuckles].
TGP: And I have known and taken a very vivid interest in my family, on both my father’s side, which was the Dowsett side. And my mother’s side which comes from the other side of the island in Waiāhole-Hakipu‘u. So my grandmother, Mary Kaohinani Dowsett-Parish built one of the first homes in Kaimukī, when it was a very new subdivision in Honolulu. And as a member of the Dowsett family, she had inherited acreage down here in the area that we now call ‘Ewa Beach. We never referred to the area as ‘Ewa Beach in my younger days. It was always Kūpaka [as pronounced].
KM: Kūpaka, and you heard that pronunciation?
TGP: Yes, Kūpaka. And whenever we children, on Friday afternoons, we’d get home from school, we had our little duffel bags all packed because we were going to go to Kūpaka, to spend the weekend. Now Kūpaka was part of the ahupua‘a of Pu‘uloa. And my great grandfather owned, and I have to use that word in quotation marks because it’s refuted, or questioned as to the direct ownership. But he did, in quotes, own from the entrance to Pearl Harbor all the way to approximately, Campbell High School, [where it is located] today.
And he used that area which was quite barren, he used that area primarily as his fattening paddocks. Because he was into ranching and he had a ranch at ‘Ulupalakua, on Maui, which he had acquired from the Makee family. And also, a ranch at Mikilua, which is below Lualualei. A part of the ahupua‘a of Lualualei, on the other side of the Wai‘anae mountain range, as it comes down to hit the sea on the southern coast. Then he also had a ranch in Leilehua. So these ranches were producing cattle and there were times when he would ship from Maui and would have to fatten the cattle before they could be slaughtered.
KM: Do you remember what the grazing material was then, down here, that made a good fattening ground?
TGP: I guess the kiawe beans.
KM: So just the kiawe beans?
TGP: Kiawe beans and the haole koa.
KM: Hmm. Was that the predominant growth throughout the Kūpaka-Pu‘uloa, even into here, the Honouliuli area?
TGP: Yes. Oh yes. It was primarily kiawe, the algarroba, and pā-nini, the klu [or kolū] bushes and the cactus, the haole koa, lots of it.
KM: This is from your memories as a child, or even pre…?
TGP: No, my memories as a child and it must have been a little more dense probably, previous to my knowing Kūpaka. However, the pasturage seems unlikely in our terms today, because it’s not meadow-like, but was just virgin country and the pipi, the cattle were turned loose. And then there were divisions so that you had one paddock following another paddock, following another paddock. So when we left Honouliuli, we were coming through the tail end of the cane lands, then we’d come to a gate, we’d have to stop and get out. My father was very persnickety about his Model T-Ford, so it wasn’t to be scratched [chuckles], and so we had to break or hack-hack at the branches of the kiawe trees that had grown over the road after our last visit. And we’d come down, and I’d have to jump out of the car again, and open the next gate, wait until he’d gone through and close that gate. I think we had to do that three or four times.
KM: Hmm. So from Honouliuli boundary, with Pu‘uloa, coming in?
KM: And was your roadway…?
TGP: Coral, one lane [chuckles].
KM: Uh-hmm. Were the gates, was it wire, uwea fencing? Or was it pā pōhaku [stone walls], some, do you remember?
TGP: Mostly wire fencing. Primarily the barbed wire. Not the fancy squared off kinds of fencing, barbed wire. And strung from one kiawe wood post to the next kiawe wood post, to the next, and on down. And the gates were swung from larger posts, embedded in the coral. And the gate swung only in one direction, and you had to park and then drive through, wait and then close the gate, and then go on to the next gate. My grandmother’s property was always… sort of located by the height of the windmill. She had the only windmill in the area and it was a landmark.
KM: You know, on the old map that we were looking at earlier?
KM: Alexander’s 1873 map, Register Map number 618, we see [opening the map]… See the watering hole here? [pointing to sites identified on the map] In fact, see, this says “stone wall” coming in by the salt works?
KM: Was Kūpaka the area of your houses, and was it on the shore also, or…?
TGP: Kūpaka is now, as I knew it then, is now Parish Drive.
KM: Ahh, okay, that’s good to know.
TGP: And so we referred to that whole area… the area we went through, before reaching my grandmother’s country home, was that of Mitsuyasu.
AE: Yes, that’s right.
TGP: We had a charcoal area.
KM: Oh kiawe charcoal.
TGP: A charcoal burning establishment.
AE: What year did they come down here?
TGP: Mitsuyasu must have been here before 1925. I know, I found my grandmother’s records, and she built her home in ’25.
AE: So they had to come around that time.
TGP: And they must have been… Mitsuyasu could have been here before that.
KM: So your house area… [pointing to the locations on the map] if the salt works were up here, and this is a walled enclosure, and there are some small houses indicated here.
KM: But your grandmother’s place was down, you think, on this end?
KM: [marking location on map] Towards the end of the stone wall here?
KM: Ahh. And Mitsuyasu was doing the kiln…
KM: Yes. Was down in Pu‘uloa also. As a lease from your grandmother, do you think?
TGP: No… well, he could have had a lease, from what we called then, “The Dowsett Company.” Because the Dowsett Company, consisted of the heirs of my great grandfather, James Isaac Dowsett. His businesses were incorporated into what we knew as the Dowsett Company. Now, the Dowsett Company then, had control of the area from Fort Weaver, which was given to the United States, from the lands that my grandmother and grandfather owned. So it was [chuckles]… it was taken back. My guess is that my [great] grandfather acquired these lands primarily because the Ali‘i, or the Kingdom needed money, he would advance money, or give them what they needed as they approached him and then he was repaid in land. And so we don’t know the exactness of the titles, the land titles for the areas that we considered to have been his.
KM: Uh-hmm. As we look at the Pu‘uloa area here, you see the ahupua‘a boundary line that comes up, the fishponds, fisheries, the salt works, and if we come out towards One‘ula, do you have recollections of some of the resources? Or were there families out here and things as well?
TGP: It was… my guess is, that there were few… it was very, very unpopulated. Not at all populated. And I often wondered where the Pu‘uloa salt works were. My guess was, as I was growing up and heard about them, that they were to the south of Fort Weaver. But I’d been told recently that there were more, up off the West Loch.
KM: That’s correct, yes.
TGP: And I do remember my family referring to West Loch as being grandpa’s as well. Not so much the water part, but the lands across from West Loch. So that would bring us right directly to One‘ula and a little bit further than Campbell High School.
KM: Yes. Was anyone still… what did you hear about the salt works, and was anyone still making salt when you were a child, anywhere out here?
TGP: That, I wouldn’t know. I’ve accumulated a good deal of additional knowledge through my own research, and so now, it’s hard for me to delineate and pinpoint what I knew as a child, and what I learned as an adult through research.
KM: Uh-hmm. [tape off, someone knocked on door; tape back on] We’re back on, you’d mentioned that you have researched a great deal, so this is clear in our interview. You of course, because of your love of and interest in the land, as a Hawaiian and as a… Well, you’ve traveled quite a bit as well. In your understanding, was the salt works, did it play an important part in the history of this land?
TGP: Yes it did. In fact the salt works were the focal point of the ownership, of my great grandfather’s ownership. E. B. Scott, in his Saga of the Sandwich Islands mentions it, and he’s quoting from someone else, that the salt works were a very prominent part of the economy and the early industrialization enterprises.
KM: Sure, so was the salt used for hides and the salting and preparation of meats and things?
TGP: My great-grandfather commercialized in salt, and sold it. According to research, a good deal of the salt that was produced on O‘ahu was sold to the fishing fleets that would come from Alaska and take it back to Alaska for the salting of the salmon.
KM: Ahh, interesting. When we were looking at this map a little earlier, it was also interesting to note that there was, what looks to be [marking on map], almost to be like a little kahe or weir or something that came in off of Pu‘uloa. Had you heard at all, about how water was gathered into the salt ponds? Did they dig holes and make…?
TGP: No, this part I have never been able to research in depth, simply because we haven’t had access to maps of this vintage. But this map seems to indicate, and I would say, in common sense, it would tell us that they had to bring the salt water in from the lower end, or away from the entrance to Pearl Harbor simply because the outer shoreline is too high. And they wouldn’t have been able to flood the salt ponds from the south shore. But, bringing it in from the east shoreline, and into the salt pans, seems much more sensible.
KM: [copies of Register Map 618, were given to kūpuna Thelma and Arline] Looking at the map, it was interesting to see that it looks like there was this little channel or estuary like that fed into the area of the salt works.
TGP: Uh-hmm. I don’t believe that anything remains today of the salt works.
KM: Hmm, yes, even many these fishponds along here have been destroyed. May I ask, if you’ve heard, because one of the things that I’ll send to you, that I think you’ll be very interested in… As I was going through the original Māhele texts, I found… and see the problem is, because the kuleana weren’t awarded, they weren’t recorded in the final Indices, and that why people don’t think that any land was claimed in Pu‘uloa. But I found a list of about 12 or 15 individuals who in the Native Register of claims, claimed ‘āina along this area of Pu‘uloa. But by the time the Native Testimonies for awards came up, all of these individuals relinquished their claims here and moved in, particularly, a lot of them moved into the Waikele-Waipi‘o area, you know Loko ‘Eo.
TGP: Ahh the Waipi‘o area.
KM: Which I thought, was really interesting. Did you hear of any early families living anywhere out here at all, as a child?
TGP: Never. The only other habitation, if I can call it as such, was my cousin’s country home, and she was the daughter of Samuel Dowsett. And Sam Dowsett had an old country home down in this area. And then beyond to the west of my grandmother’s holdings was where the holdings of my grand uncle Alika, that’s Alexander Cartwright Dowsett. And his old home was visible from the beach area outside my grandmother’s home. So those were the only two homes I know of, other than Mitsuyasu who was further beyond.
KM: Uh-hmm. So coming out towards One‘ula, like that, or even to Kualaka‘i, did you hear…?
TGP: No, not that far. We weren’t, no. I doubt… even now, in picking up some of the research, nothing seems to resemble anything that I had known as a child. It’s all… well, this was all just wild country, all along the shoreline.
KM: Yes. Were there cattle then, all throughout your Pu‘uloa lands, as you’d said, because they were using it as…?
KM: How about into the One‘ula, or below the sugar fields and out towards even Lae Loa (Barber’s Point), was someone running cattle out there also, that you recall?
TGP: I would say that it was a good possibility; however, you can’t overstock the area. The area hadn’t much to offer in the first place.
TGP: And so they’d probably move the cattle, pipi, for the pasturage, and keep rotating. But, maybe the present names, like we have the name Pā Pipi Road [cattle corral], which seems to indicate that that was used for pipi.
TGP: But it’s really hard to determine just… well, it’s hard for me to determine how much of this area was being utilized, and where. I asked Arline frequently what she remembers of her father and grandfather’s experiences and she as a little girl coming down to what we knew of as Kūpaka, every weekend.
AE: But, you know, the cattle were around in this area too [pointing to the One‘ula area of the map], but like you said, I’m just assuming that your grandfather owned that property because Papa had to bring the cattle down in this area.
KM: Hmm, even into Honouliuli.
TGP: Probably round ‘um up and move them…
AE: Yes, move them, every weekend, he’d move them to different places.
TGP: Let the pasture come back.
KM: Was there a relationship between Dowsett and Campbell at all, that you ever heard of? Honouliuli was Campbell, eh?
TGP: Part of Campbell’s.
KM: And I imagine, that if your grandpa, or father them, on the Dowsett side, were going to use the land, they may have come to some agreement?
TGP: Well, maybe it was just like the old west, you just used what was not blocked off [chuckles].
KM: Hmm. But, it’s obvious, in your description of coming in here, going through three or four gates…
KM: That there were obvious pā ‘uwea, the wire fences or kinds of things like that.
TGP: Uh-hmm, yes.
TGP: And there was a definite scheduling.
KM: Hmm, rotating eh?
TGP: Rotating and scheduling. I don’t know where grandpa Dowsett’s slaughterhouse was, the old Hawaii Meat Company.
AE: Yeah, he had a slaughterhouse, the Hawaii Meat Company, that was part of his.
TGP: Wasn’t that up in… [thinking]?
AE: Up near Middle Street. You know where the bus depot is?
TGP: That’s a continuation of Pu‘uloa. Because, they weren’t able to haul these pipi anywhere, they had to drive them. So the slaughterhouse had to be at a convenient distance.
KM: Yes. As a child, do you remember, were there good areas for limu, like līpoa or, or fish like ‘ō‘io…
TGP: Oh! ‘Ewa, Kūpaka was noted for its limu. The limu banks would pile up as high as three feet along the shoreline.
KM: Along the area fronting here [pointing to the ocean shore fronting Kūpaka]. So there is a papa, a reef flats or something?
AE: Oh yes.
TGP: Yes, but it’s not visible.
KM: Oh submerged?
TGP: Yes, in fact, you’d think there was no reef area because there is no line of breakers. But the limu was extremely plentiful [said with emphasis].
KM: So there was good limu; all kinds, or a particular variety?
TGP: All kinds.
TGP: And the manauea was particularly important.
KM: So manauea. Was there wāwae‘iole?
AE: Yes, limu kohu.
AE: There’s still plenty when you go to Barber’s Point, because nobody goes in. They don’t have access. I just got some limu kohu, Mary went to make some.
KM: So was that a popular occurrence, friends and family might come down to gather limu or fish when you were young children?
TGP: Occasionally, it was almost untouched, as we knew it.
KM: And you said it was a much as three feet thick?
TGP: Three feet above the sand level.
TGP: And beautiful white sand beaches in the Kūpaka area, what we would call Parish Drive now. That was all beautiful white sand beach. And then, noted for its limu and noted for its cat’s eyes, those little shells, the little door that flaps, opens up.
KM: Yes, on the cone-type shell.
AE: Sister, all of that Hailipō and all of that, that was all Dowsett land eh?
AE: Because they had the sign out there when they first opened up the subdivision.
TGP: Well, also too, my grandmother was able to acquire a good deal more property than her original acreage in Kūpaka. So the area now flanking Pā Pipi Road, at the end of Pā Pipi Road, was all hers.
KM: The makai end?
TGP: All her development. Ching was the developer in that area, and it was all in leasehold.
TGP: So that was an additional area that my grandmother had.
KM: Towards One‘ula?
TGP: Towards One‘ula, what we call Hau Bush now. Before you get into Hau Bush, at the cul-de-sac, at the end of Pūpū Road. But she had that additional area.
KM: Did you folks, aside from gathering limu, and perhaps some fishing out here, did you remember traveling down along the coast into the One‘ula area?
TGP: Not that far. It would be… see, the white sand beach ends, maybe two blocks, I’m estimating, two blocks beyond my grandmother’s place. And then, there was a coral shelf.
TGP: And the coral begins, and that coral shelf runs all the way down to One‘ula.
TGP: Before you begin to see some sandy beach areas again. And it was densely thick with wild [chuckles] vegetation, you just couldn’t go through it. The cattle could, but it wasn’t a place that we would be allowed to play. It was far too far away. And there was no purpose in anyone going down there. It was easier to go by boat, if we were going to go down the shoreline.
KM: Uh-hmm. Were there good fishing areas out here?
TGP: Lobsters. We had a Filipino yard man who would come periodically to clean up and all, and over the weekends, he would put on his tiny little goggles [gesturing single lenses over each eye], right up against his eyes, and his cotton gloves.
Then he’d go off with his big gunny sack and by the time he got back, the gunny sack was full of lobsters. All he had to do was reach into the lobster holes and pick them up. They were so plentiful.
TGP: Lots and lots of fish and lots of lobsters. And I don’t remember any sharks in the area. There was no reason for them to come in, there wasn’t any pollution of any sort that would attract them.
KM: So, you’ve mentioned sharks, and of course, Pu‘uloa is famed, “Alahula Pu‘uloa, he ala hele na Ka‘ahupāhau” [The trails of Pu‘uloa are those traveled by Ka‘ahupāhau]
KM: The shark goddess.
KM: Were there still stories at all being told?
TGP: Well yes, but that was into the Pearl Harbor area. I don’t know of sharks being a threat when we went swimming, and we were always on the beach, and into the water.
AE: Yeah. But like sister said, the growth is all dense in this area. Mekia, Major Kealaka‘i’s boy, he and I would come walk up, you know where it’s all rocky?
TGP: Uh-hmm, and you’d walk the shoreline.
AE: Yes the trails over here [pointing to the map in the area of One‘ula-Kualaka‘i].
TGP: That’s right you used the pipi trails to come up.
KM: So Major Kealaka‘i’s mo‘opuna?
AE: His son, we’d play together.
KM: His name was?
AE: Mekia was his name. He’s passed away already.
KM: Were they still talking… Now your father’s name was?
TGP: My father’s name was James Arthur Parish, and he was the son of Mary Kaohinani Dowsett-Parish, and her husband, Leonard Arthur Charles Parish. And my grandfather Leonard came from Wales in England. He came out as a young man and wooed my grandmother I suppose [chuckles].
KM: Now, you’d mentioned that some of your ‘ohana, was on this side, the Ragsdales of Hilo vicinity?
TGP: Yes, this was Annie Green Ragsdale was the wife of James Isaac Dowsett. And James Isaac Dowsett was the first Caucasian child born in Honolulu, that was of non-missionary stock. And his father and mother… his father was Captain Samuel Dowsett, and his mother was Mary Bishop Dowsett. And Captain Samuel Dowsett had resigned his commission in the British Navy and had gone to Australia and married Mary Bishop. He bought a boat and was leaving Australia, and his first child was born on Melville Island. So she was called Deborah Melville Dowsett, and that was the first of grandpa Dowsett’s generation. And then they came up here, intending to go on to the northwest United States, but instead, they came into Honolulu and never left. And so my grandpa Dowsett was born then, in Honolulu.
KM: Ohh. And your mother’s name?
TGP: My mother’s name was Libby Peck. She was from the other side of the island of O‘ahu, Windward O‘ahu. She was Libby Peck-Parish. She married the oldest boy of Mary Kaohinani Dowsett-Parish, my father, who was James Arthur Parish. My mother hailed from the windward side, where she was hānai to the kahu, the kahuna nui who was in charge of all the sacred lands from Lae-o-ka-‘oi‘o in Kualoa, all the way along through to Waikāne, Waikāne-Waiāhole.
KM: So this hānai papa, grandfather…
TGP: Was the kahuna nui of that whole area. And that area has a good deal of history to it, a great deal of history.
KM: Hmm. May I ask, because you’d mentioned that mama’s, I guess maiden name was Peck?
KM: What was the Hawaiian line that comes into here?
TGP: Mother’s mother was Hattie Mi‘i-Peck. And Mi‘i was the family name of my grandmother’s people, from Hakipu‘u. And that would be my grandmother’s parents, they passed away when the children were quite young, so they were divided up among other members of the family and were raised by others. And so my grandmother, my mother’s mother was hānai, or raised by Ka-uku Kalā. And Ka-uku Kalā was the kahuna nui of the sacred lands [in the period ranging from around 1860 to 1890]. And his wife was Ka‘akau-a-lani, and she was very, very petite. But, they lived in Waikāne, and raised my mother as a god-send so to speak. Simply because it was “a la mode” at that time to have a hapa haole child, a hapa haole mo‘opuna. And Ka-uku Kalā wanted, by all means to have a hapa haole hānai [chuckles].
KM: [laughs] “A la mode.”
AE: Cute yeah.
TGP: [chuckles] And so my grandmother, obligingly had an affair with this haole who was in love with her, but with whom she wanted nothing to do, and so to satisfy the hānai parents, she had an affair with this haole from Great Britain, and I, to this day, don’t know his name. My mother was never able to find out, but he was a British businessman who came in and out of the islands, and somewhat kept tabs of mom as she was growing up, but never approached her, never spoke to her. So We don’t really know who my mother’s father was. But then after venturing with the second love of her life, who was my grandmother’s He‘eia boyfriend, who was pure Hawaiian, she had another son by him, who became, my mother’s half-brother. And then the third person she married, married, question mark, was Solomon Peck. And Solomon Peck was the youngest brother of the three Peck brothers, who had come from Germany and settled here. There was Uncle Eli Peck, and then my grandfather who was Solomon, and uncle [thinking], oh, we always referred to him as the Hilo uncle. He was manager of the bank, must have been Bishop Bank in Hilo. So those were the three Peck brothers.
KM: It’s so interesting. I’m sure you must have been hearing stories, like the value of fisheries, or relationships of land, like, as mama was hānai to Ka-uku Kalā [pauses]. These histories are so important, and that we remember land use and relationships…
TGP: Ka-uku Kalā was very fond of mama, extremely fond of mama, she was his punahele. And he wanted to expose her to everything she know about her culture, without really teaching her in any formal manner, the intricacies of the kahuna line, the priesthood. And so he exposed her to all that she be aware of without really informing her. And we found out years later that he bestowed upon her the priesthood. We weren’t ever sure of that, in fact, we hardly ever thought of it until we met her friend on the Big Island, who assured us that mama had received, had had this bestowed, the priesthood upon her. But she was never educated in the priesthood, temple trained or anything like that.
KM: ‘Ae. What was the sense, even here, and this is appropriate, coming back to Pu‘uloa, the relationship to the land, often the priesthood was associated with caring for, and calling upon the abundance, the growth, the proper rains so that the crops would grow. To call so that the abundance of the ocean, the limu or the fish, would come back. Was there a sense of…?
TGP: Caring, yes.
KM: In fact today, there is so much talk about “native rights,” and…
TGP: Yes, but they are caring things, in my estimation, a little too far. Because the maka‘āinana were never in possession of any “rights.” They kept within, or had to keep within their areas and if they were allowed to go into the sacred lands or into the oceans and all, it was only with permission. They knew their areas. They kept within their areas. And they didn’t, in my estimation, gather from here, there, and everywhere. They didn’t take liberties. I don’t think that their mode of life necessitated their going out of, or beyond their ahupua‘a, where they were born.
KM: ‘Ae. That makes sense, it falls in line with the writings of individuals like Kamakau or I‘i and others.
KM: You have rights of certain accesses within your own ahupua‘a.
KM: But, the responsibility was that if you gather, you care for…
KM: …the resources. Is that right?
TGP: Yes, oh yes, yes.
KM: And you didn’t go, “Ahh, look that limu is more ‘ono over in Honouliuli, so I’m going to leave Pu‘uloa now and take from Honouliuli.”
TGP: I don’t think that even entered their minds. This idea of gathering from here, there, or anywhere. And Ka-uku Kalā was a very, very famous fisherman. And he fished the waters from Mokoli‘i all the way beyond to Kāne‘ohe Bay.
KM: So he fished all in to the Mōkapu, Kāne‘ohe Bay, and into the other side as well?
TGP: No, no, not that far. He would go the distance that he could go alone in his canoe, beyond Mokoli‘i, into the deep water. And then the women gathered the limu and the shellfish and all from the area within their ahupua‘a, because actually, the ahupua‘a extended to the reef. But there was nothing of this transient gathering from here, there, and everywhere.
KM: Is this something that you remember hearing a little bit about also?
TGP: This idea of “gathering rights” sounds so extremely fictitious to me. I don’t know… I think it has come about through the need of the present entertainers to go beyond what would normally be available to them.
TGP: And now are declaring that they had rights to go anywhere.
KM: Hmm. It is very different. This is interesting, when you talk about Ka-uku Kalā, this kupuna and his fishing. Because he was kahuna nui…
KM: …and he cared for these sacred lands. Was Kualoa a special place traditionally?
TGP: Oh yes! The five ahupua‘a, from Ka-lae-o-ka-‘oi‘o all the way to Waiāhole, those five ahupua‘a are the sacred lands of O‘ahu. And they were Ka-uku Kalā’s domain, they were his responsibility. He was the kahuna nui of the sacred lands and that priesthood had come to him. Now Kualoa is, in my estimation, a fabricated name.
KM: ‘Oia [is that so]?
TGP: And I really wonder what its actual origin is [pauses to get something to drink]…
KM: So Ka-uku Kalā cared for those sacred lands, from Ka-lae-o-ka-‘oi‘o to Waiāhole, and the fisheries into the Kāne‘ohe Bay, up to Mōkapu. Did you ever hear anything about Mōkapu and the fisheries, or the lands there at all.
TGP: I’ve become interested in Mōkapu, simply because I’ve had to research Ko‘olau Poko. I was asked to conduct a Hawaiian Civic Clubs Tour of the windward side, and they told me they thought we should go from the Pali down to Mōkapu. And I said, “You’re not going to the sacred Lands?” And “Ohh!” I said, “Of course, you can’t go to windward O‘ahu via the Pali, without any kind of a tour having a beautiful climax at these sacred lands.” And so that’s how, I’ve come to research all of that Mōkapu area. And researched it simply because I had to know a little bit more than the people I was talking to [chuckles].
But I am bewildered at the amount of knowledge and no knowledge of Mōkapu. The group that seems to claim some kind of priesthood relationship with Mōkapu is the group that was headed by a Kahuna named Sam Lono, out of Ha‘ikū. And I know them, and I’ve been very nicely treated by them, and respected, but I just don’t know how… I can understand why they would pick Mōkapu as an important place, simply because the stories that center around Ulupa‘u. Of Kāne having selected that spot to have created the first man and first woman, however, like many, many, many of our Hawaiian stories, we must take them with a barrel of salt.
KM: ‘Ae. And the reason would be then, that this account of Kāne and the first man are perhaps…?
TGP: They probably originated long before the Hawaiians came here. And when the Hawaiians did reach areas, they remembered and then localized their stories.
KM: Ahh, so what you’re saying is that this legendary account, possibly, may not have been directly associated Mōkapu, Ulupa‘u, Kahakahakea, and…
TGP: Hawai‘i Loa.
KM: ‘Ae, Hawai‘i Loa. But that the names were carried and brought and then…?
KM: Attached to the areas. Have you heard, or what is your thought or consideration that some of these mo‘olelo, possibly ka‘ao have been influenced; just as the language is being influenced today, anglosized [from earlier comments by Aunty, regarding changes in the Hawaiian language today]. Is there a possibility that some of these mo‘olelo, ka‘ao bring in the Christian, some more recent beliefs or things…?
TGP: I don’t think that we have anything that is pure today. Anything that is purely Hawaiian. What we have today, are the mere remnants of vast, vast knowledge that came with the Polynesians at various eras and turns through their history, and became a part of what we now fictitiously call “Hawaiiana.” It became a part of Hawaiiana simply because Hawai‘i had to have a beginning.
KM: ‘Ae. You bring up such an interesting point [end Side A; begin Side B]… The fragments. Look at what John Papa I‘i’s title of his history was, I’ve gone through the Hawaiian-language newspaper and seen it. It was “Na Hunahuna Moolelo Hawaii,” The fragments of Hawaiian History.
KM: So even at his time, he saw that there was this great… and of course, in his time, they were watching thousands of the people die in short periods of time because of the diseases.
KM: Of course, that’s where Mōkapu comes in. Your hānai great grandfather…
TGP: Uh-hmm, Ka-uku Kalā.
KM: Yes Ka-uku Kalā was of a few survivors, particularly of a priestly line, it seems.
KM: This kahuna nui that cared for these sacred lands. And it’s obvious that it was important enough to his generation, even though so many transitions were occurring in the Hawaiian history, and the condition of the people, that it was still passed on to him. And he sought to at least expose your mother to these histories.
TGP: Yes. And he wanted his punahele to have acquired something his, however, he told, when asked by his friends, he told his friends very definitely, that he was not going to pass on the priesthood to any of his sons. And he had four sons. Simply because it would be too dangerous. They would never live up to all the protocol, all the kapu. They could never, in their style of life, as it had changed, they could never be faithful to every iota of the priestly does and don’ts, all the kapu. And so he had ‘oki the priesthood and he disposed of his gods. My mama was sitting up in her hau-tree tree house when Ka-uku Kalā took his gods, and she knew, just what he had done with them. But that was pau.
KM: Hmm. And mama them, were they living in Hakipu‘u at that time, or…?
TGP: Mama was still in Waikāne. See, Ka-uku Kalā’s home was at the end of Kamaka Lane. And Kamaka Lane is almost the division line between Waikāne and Hakipu‘u.
AE: The stories are so beautiful.
KM: Yes. You’d mentioned that you took this group of people, the civic club, and you told them they had to “see the sacred lands also.”
KM: And earlier, you had said that you had a thought that perhaps the name Kualoa was something that…?
TGP: I have wondered about the origin of that name, because in some of the references the original name was Pali-kū. And Pali-kū has a close relationship with the priesthood, because there was the priesthood of Pali-kū, and not necessarily because of the escarpment or the cliffs, but simply because the priesthood was called Pali-kū. Now another possibility of this Kualoa name, is, in my thinking, “Akua-loa.” And very often, just as we have in Kealakekua, “akua” is abbreviated to “kua.” And Akualoa was the god that was carried in the Makahiki, the large, or long god. And the Makahiki rights occurred in that area.
KM: That was the culminating point, yeah.
TGP: That’s right. And Pohukaina, the great burial cave was entered from that end of the Kānehoalani range.
KM: Ahh, very interesting.
TGP: Sorry, we’re far away from Pu‘uloa [chuckling].
AE: I know, I told him, I said “She is so interesting.” She’s going to run another tour.
KM: Was Ka-uku Kalā, ’cause, you’d brought up the lineage, this priesthood of Pali-kū, was Ka-uku Kalā in your understanding perhaps the last formal kahu in that line?
TGP: Probably in… [thinking] I can say definitely, yes. [Aunty coughing, tape off and back on]
KM: We were just talking a little bit about some of the Akua-loa, Kualoa, some of that thought about the priesthood and it’s so interesting.
Of course we’re bouncing around a little bit, and I’m thinking that maybe as we talk, other thoughts will come to mind. And while the tape was off, we were just talking once again, a little bit about some of the native “rights” or “traditional rights” in gathering, and you said that you noticed that Kūpaka now, as an example, whereas before there was three feet thick beds of limu, now…?
TGP: Nothing. There’s… in fact, we’ve seen people walk the beach, or go along in the low tide on their tummies in the water, diving and plucking the very, very, tiniest of the limu growths.
KM: Hmm. So the old system of kapu, restricted seasons and gathering, and when you didn’t go out, had some intelligence to it eh?
TGP: It was the real means of conservation, they would have nothing, had they not had their kapus. And they knew that, and no one resented these kapus and no one attempted to sneak around them.
KM: Hmm, they were working within their own lands, the places their families were associated with, traditionally.
TGP: Uh-hmm. If they didn’t look after them, they had nothing. So they had to look after the resources and take care of them. And I don’t think that our Hawaiian people were unhappy under the kapu system. They were perfectly content, they didn’t know, they were not in a position to make comparisons. They didn’t know there was a better way. It was their way.
KM: Was it better [chuckles]?
TGP: Well, they didn’t… the point of comparison was eventually thrust upon them and they were taught and told that the old way was no good, and that they could no longer be the “pagans” that they were admitted to. Then they began to look to something else. But, I think that awareness was fostered and perhaps forced upon them. The awareness of, “Well, there’s something else besides what we know.”
KM: Well, I think this is an important point also, coming back to how your kūpuna lived. They lived on an island, within an ahupua‘a, and each island and ahupua‘a had its wealth of resources, but it was limited. So you learned how to manage and care for it.
KM: You take too much today, you starve tomorrow, it makes great sense. So today we see people come in to gather, even the smallest… pulling the rock, the limu, or take the last of the fish. And you’d mentioned the ula, the lobster that were out here and things, and of course there was this wealth of fishponds out here. Were you folks still gathering anae or awa, anything out in these areas? And did the cowboy’s families go traveling places that you heard of and gather fish or things like that?
TGP: Not… that would all be conjecture on my part. I would have to guess, simply because it didn’t ever, ever come into my range of experience, having other people in the area. You see, by the time I was growing up, Pearl Harbor was already established and the old Hawai‘i was long gone from the area.
KM: Yes. [speaking to aunty Arline] Aunty did you share that you couldn’t even take a canoe… Do you remember when you were a child, could you still go in here and canoe or boat or anything? Or had the closed down?
TGP: By the military.
AE: Uh-hmm. But I noticed, that they would allow the old… especially on your papa’s ranch, they would let them net fish.
TGP: Yeah, in the old days.
AE: And they allowed them to go.
KM: ‘Anae like that?
AE: Yeah. They’d go in there.
TGP: But then, Fort Weaver wasn’t built up as it is today.
AE: Oh no.
TGP: And you had access to the fishponds.
AE: ’Cause you had to in among the kiawe trees and come along Waipahū and on down Honouliuli, so in this area was like nobody.
KM: So, where the salt works was and like where your house was, everything is bulldozed and knocked down? Is that correct, there’s no walls or anything left of the salt works, that you know of?
TGP: I’ve often wondered in going through that area, where there salt works were located, and I think they were located somewhat in the vicinity of the firing ranges now. They have some practice ranges out there. And just studying the contour of the land and that’s probably where they were located, and probably inland from the shoreline in that general area. Which is the entrance of Fort Weaver. And probably extended over into what is now the park.
KM: Which park?
TGP: The ‘Ewa Beach Park.
AE: Pu‘uloa Park, they’ve put the name back to Pu‘uloa.
AE: We’re trying to get Kimo Pelekāne put back too.
TGP: [chuckles] Kimo Pelekāne.
AE: That’s her grandfather.
TGP: My great grandfather was known by the native as Kimo Pelekāne, and everyone called him Kimo Pelekāne. He knew Hawaiian as well as he knew English, and he was a member of the House of Lords, in the old legislature. He would caution the Hawaiians in their wanting to promulgate new laws, and record. “If you say it this way, be careful, because if you say it this way, it’s going to mean this to the po‘e haole. But if you say it this way, this is what you mean, so you say it this way. This is your intent.”
KM: Hmm. What is your sense, there are a few sites that appear to be ancient, or early Hawaiian sites.
KM: Some kahua hale, like, some pā, small enclosures.
KM: And at one place, and aunty Arline, I think you went there, there is a kahua [platform]…
KM: [pointing out the size] … elevated from this wall, where the door is, it’s at least this big [roughly 12 × 12], squared. So you have a sense of… and this may be another part of it, did the sugar company, when they did their work, were they in the practice of building up nice stone mounds, or…?
TGP: Oh, well, it all depends. When they would clear sugar land, rather than cart the rock away, they would pile them up, and plant around them, so you weren’t aware of those mounds of rock until the cane was cut or burned. Then you became aware of them. I remember this down in Kohala.
KM: Yes. Here, behind One‘ula, among the various sites, one of the places is a kahua, an elevated platform, that is about this big.
KM: In fact it’s mostly this coral, limestone-type of walls, you know. Do you remember hearing anyone talk about any old Hawaiian sites that had been mentioned, or that the cowboys, you know, spoke of?
TGP: I’d never been personally involved in any of the ancientness of ‘Ewa Beach. But, through my research, I can readily understand how it was. I don’t believe it was a heavily populated area because of the lack of fresh water. So it could have been an area of periodic habitation.
KM: ‘Ae, seasonal, coming down to…
AE: Like fishing.
TGP: Yes fishing.
AE: Spending time.
KM: Ahh, gather pa‘akai.
KM: Dry fish like that.
TGP: And at the proper seasons.
KM: ‘Ae. It’s interesting, and of course, the kūpuna were so na‘auao, how they were able to live off of the land. Even what we wouldn’t drink today, the wai kai…
TGP: Yes they could tolerate it.
AE: The brackish water.
TGP: They could tolerate the brackish water. I know that the area also, and this is from research, was famous for its “dog people” . You know, there was a caste, or a type of people, who had dog’s tails and this area was supposed to have been one of the areas that they inhabited. And they lived in the pits, underground.
KM: Ahh, and there are such things as hula ‘īlio, the dog chants and hula for the ‘īlio, like that.
KM: And my understanding is that the ‘īlio was a form of Kū, they were Kū associated. The cloud forms of the dog like that.
TGP: These were actually people and they evidently… I was reading about their having been very, very ferocious warriors. So they would join the ranks of the chiefs in battle and then they were seen in some of the… seen by people who had the fortune or misfortune of viewing the ‘oi‘o, the night marchers. And they were seen participating in the night march.
KM: Is Pu‘uloa a place that’s known for night marchers?
TGP: I don’t know, but I would certainly assume so.
KM: As a child, you never remembered hearing the huaka‘i pō come by, personally?
TGP: My mother, out at Niu. See, my parents moved from Kaimukī to Niu when I was 12 years old, and mama would hear the night marchers come down Hawai‘i Loa Ridge, which is very understandable. And then they would go along, right in front of the house. She got up and watched them, she wasn’t maka‘u. But it isn’t… the huaka‘i pō is something we just grew up with. We weren’t frightened by it, there was no maka‘u, it was just part and parcel of what we understood to be, the old folk’s way.
AE: Sometimes the parents would scare you too, they’d tell you “Don’t go over there.”
TGP: Uh-hmm. And my mom would tell stories of having seen the akua lele, the fire balls, and they’d run down the beach, wondering where it was going to land.
[pause – someone comes to the door]
KM: What is your sense of this land, and then preservation of what’s left of the Hawaiian sites, and care for these places, and the proposed development that they are looking at with Haseko? Do you have a…?
TGP: I find… well, my personal reaction is that I don’t believe the type of development that Haseko has in mind, is necessary. I don’t see a point in it. They were able to acquire acreage, to put in a marina [pauses] which, in my mind, doesn’t have… it has neither beginning… neither head nor tail. Why a marina? Why in ‘Ewa? Why this tremendous undertaking at a tremendous risk, because we don’t know, as people have warned us, whether or not the aquifer would be disturbed or the drainage of the underground waters would occur. But I just don’t see the reason for it, a good solid necessity in back of the Haseko move, I don’t see it. I can understand the housing, but not roof to roof as we see here today. And I can understand the preservation of the beach area, and a low-style condominiums along the beach. But I really question the marina and the dynamiting of the shoreline.
KM: Hmm. Were the ocean resources important then, and do they remain important to the people, you think?
TGP: I don’t think people really look to the resources as resources anymore. If they enjoy the beach, it’s because it’s available. If they go down to One‘ula, it’s primarily to fish. You don’t see them in groups in any large numbers there, other than to picnic.
KM: Hmm. The community has changed drastically hasn’t it? After your time as a child, it sounds like there was no one out.
TGP: That’s right.
KM: One‘ula, no one out here.
TGP: That’s right.
KM: When did the plantation housing and the village come up. Do you recall now?
TGP: ‘Ewa Village was the last plantation area of this whole locale, and ‘Ewa Plantation was very much in the works, and they had their extensive cane fields, through Honouliuli and all the way around, along Farrington Highway, almost to Nānākuli. The cane lands and all, that was all kō. The changes have been tantamount, but they’ve come about primarily with the closing down of sugar.
KM: So as the sugar closed down, there was a need to make money in other ways and vast development was done? Like Ko‘olina, or any of these housing developments? You’d mentioned, roof to roof.
KM: And of course as the population changed, I guess there’s not that sense of aloha.
TGP: But you don’t really know which is the horse and which is the cart, which is before the other. Was it the closing down of the plantation that caused the overextended development? Or was the overextended development a part foreseen, and therefore, the plantations were closed down? Which came first? It’s hard really to know, because private enterprise being what it is, the labor unions… Actually the advent of the labor unions was the beginning of the end of plantation life.
KM: Hmm. You had mentioned earlier, you are, of the old part Hawaiian resident of the Pu‘uloa-Honouliuli area, you are really amongst the last of the old timers that was here as a child.
TGP: I don’t know of anybody else, who’s older than I am, and who still resides here. And if there are people older than me, they came here after I had lived here.
KM: Hmm, that’s right. You folks have had a generational tie to this land also.
KM: Is it important to care for traditional Hawaiian sites?
TGP: Yes, very. Very important. But it is also as important to care for as it is to know the history and probably, if possible, how they came to be, and what their significance is in the area. And this is what Arline keeps insisting upon.
KM: Yes, yes.
TGP: We know that there are sites, and we are beginning to understand why. I mean, these pits that are gold mines for the fossil findings and for the bones.
KM: Yes, Well, you also brought up, that interesting story that there were a po‘e ‘īlio, you know, people that were of the dog clan.
KM: Just like they have pueo, manō, and there were these ‘īlio, people that were associated with the dog-like clan.
KM: And you have read, or heard that they lived within these pits?
TGP: Yes. Now the actual evidence of this information is hard to come by, it’s here and there. It’s scattered. Now Mary Kawena Pukui did a collection of stories of this area, and she’s quoted extensively in Elspeth Sterling and Catherine Summers’s Sites of O‘ahu . And from that one volume, you can begin to deduct how much was known at the time, and how extensive the lore was for this area. There’s a great deal of lore associated with this area of ‘Ewa.
KM: Hmm. While you were still young, it appears that you were not hearing a great deal of the lore though.
KM: How about of the shark gods, or things like that?
TGP: I can’t say that my father’s side of the family, my haole side of the family, knew anything about it. I really don’t believe they did. Perhaps great-grandpa Dowsett knew, because he was a student, and very astute type of person, and it could have been so well know, as not to have been something to seek after. It was just part and parcel of the place.
KM: ‘Ae. Did you ever hear a story by chance, of a relationship between the Pu‘uloa fishery, and this comes back to where your Ka-uku Kalā was, and the fish migrating say between Pu‘uloa and…?
TGP: Oh, the mullet, yes. I know by research that that happens, and that it was extensive and it was seasonal, it happened every year. And I do know from my mother’s telling, that there was an underground access for the mullet from Kahana Bay to Mōli‘i Fishpond.
KM: ‘Ae, so you heard of that Huilua Pond and the cave underneath?
TGP: Uh-hmm. And mama was taken into Pohukaina, into, and she has described the interior to me. But I don’t usually divulge what she has told me, simply because I don’t know how it is going to be understood.
TGP: It might sound a little far-fetched. And yet in my mind, it’s perfectly logical.
KM: Of course.
TGP: And I do know that Ka-uku Kalā possessed the special mana of the kahuna nui, because mom said that when he took her into the cave, they had to leave their horses at a distance and walk—this was at Ka-lae-o-ka-‘oi‘o—and walk towards the towering cliff at the northern point of what we know as Kānehoalani Range.
TGP: And then they went into a very, very narrow ravine, very narrow, and he picks up a stone, he knocks three times on the wall and the entrance appeared. And she was so astounded, she just grabbed his hand, and wondered what was happening.
KM: Hmm. Out of curiosity, did mama by chance, share with you, how did they see inside? Did it… I’ve heard from other people, not of that Pohukaina, necessarily, but of other places, that when you ‘oli, or you pule, and it would illuminate so you could see. Did mama say how they saw inside?
TGP: She just sort of took it for granted, she could see, and she never expounded. I’ve often wondered, just how they could see. However, what she saw in there would necessitate the entrance of sunlight. So there was a visibility.
KM: ‘Ae. It interesting to see that there is a relationship shared between these fisheries here in Pu‘uloa and back to the windward side also. And then to hear about these caves, these subterranean accesses that may have existed, and perhaps still do.
KM: Did Ka-uku Kalā call on the fish, did mama say? You’d said that he was a fisherman, a chief fisherman for this fishery there.
TGP: Uh-hmm. I don’t know whether he called on the fish, but he had his shark, who led him to the fishing grounds. [smiling] Mom told a story of having begged him to take her out fishing with him, because he usually dropped her at the little bay on the outer side of Mokoli‘i to spend the day while he went off fishing. And this one time, she asked to go along and while they were paddling, he says, “Now whatever you see, you mustn’t be afraid.” So she wondered, “What had she to be afraid of?” And they were paddling along, her paddle was on the ama or outrigger side, and her paddle hit something. And she was in far too deep water to hit anything. So when she looked there, and she must have been about six years old, and when she looked over, she saw this shark who was swimming with the canoe on the outrigger side. The fin was very visible to her, so she kept edging away from that shark side. She’d rotate as they had to paddle so many strokes on one side and so many strokes on the other side, and she kept edging her way until finally, she capsized the canoe.
KM: Oh my!
TGP: All Ka-uku Kalā did was to grab her by the hair and throw her on the shark, and she passed out. And when she came to, she was on Kualoa beach and she had to walk all the way home to Waikāne.
TGP: So, we do know that he had his shark, and he was an ‘aumakua, a family ‘aumakua.
KM: ‘Ae. Did he drive the fish?
TGP: It would lead him to the fishing spots. And then, mom had another very interesting experience as a little child. One day, she was at this little bay on the outside of Mokoli‘i and it was noon and hot, so she decided she was going to go dog paddle in the water. So she goes out and was on her toes in the ocean when she feels something in back of her. And all of the sudden, she was sitting on something. And the honu, a turtle had come in and lifted her up and seated her, and then took her for a ride in the bay, made the circuit of the little place several times, and then it eventually took her all the way around Mokoli‘i and back to the bay. And that honu befriended her for her lifetime. As long as she went back to Waikāne, the honu would come, and knew just exactly when to expect her. And when she arrived at Kamaka Lane, at Ka-uku Kalā’s home, they would see the honu making his way up the embankment, which was quite a steep embankment, up to greet her. She’d say “Yes, I’m coming tomorrow.” She’d promise, and the honu would turn around, and then she went swimming with her honu, the next day.
KM: Kūpaianaha! It’s so wondrous, this relationship, you know. Out of curiosity, you were a Nun for 50 years.
KM: Was mama brought up, also in association with the church? Did you choose the Catholic Church as yours? And how do you… as a Hawaiian of today, and you’ve lived, you know…?
KM: …nearly 80 years. And you grow up with these stories and understanding this deep relationship between nature and the environment…
TGP: But there is no conflict. There is absolutely no conflict between what is Hawaiian and what is non-Hawaiian, in me. Absolutely no conflict, and no… I don’t demarcate in any way, between the Hawaiianess of my life and the non-Hawaiianess. So having become a Sister of the Sacred Hearts was just what I wanted to do after my graduation from the University of Hawai‘i, with an anthropology degree. [chuckles] The Mother Superior asked me, “What are you going to do with anthropology if you’re going to be a sister?” And I said, “Well suppose I don’t make it as a Sister, I have something to fall back on.” But that’s how, I’ve always been interested in Hawaiiana, and in anthropology. Peter Buck was still alive in those days, and the anthropology department was brand new, and I had a reading knowledge of French so I did a lot of my research work in reading materials that were available at the Academy of Arts, in French. And the people in the department would come in and listen to my book reports, simply because they didn’t know French. So there’s no [pauses], in me there is absolutely no one part Hawaiian, one part, no Hawaiian. It’s all blended.
KM: Uh-hmm. And the relationship between people and the creation, is compatible, whether it’s in the Hawaiian or…?
TGP: Yes. Now people will ask me, “Do you believe in Pele, Madam Pele?” And I say, “Well, I don’t disbelieve.”
KM: Yes, uh-hmm, it’s a part of God’s creation.
TGP: It’s a part of what we’ve always known and will always revere.
KM: Out of curiosity, and we were speaking earlier about Mōkapu, and that St. Katherine’s had been built there around January of 1843. And there is a picture, I tried to get a copy of it this morning, because I wanted to show you. But there was a Dr. Arning that was here in the 1880s, and he has a picture of the ruins of St. Katherine’s Church on Mōkapu.
TGP: Yes, you can’t see anything now, it’s all grown over.
KM: No, it’s all gone. One of the things that’s happened is that at Mōkapu, and this, what I’m leading into is, what is your sense then, as a Hawaiian, and as a person intertwining all of these skills, resources, knowledge, and spirituality? What is your sense of the burials? The rights of burials to the land, and Mōkapu of course, you mentioned Buck, you probably knew Kenneth Emory…
KM: Going into anthropology. And you were an early Hawaiian in anthropology. Because there still aren’t many Hawaiians in the field. What was the sense of burials and place, and returning, and do you recall anything about Mōkapu burials, by chance?
TGP: I really got into detail in Mōkapu burials, in planning for this tour, which was fairly recent. I’ve known about the Mōkapu burials for a long time. I just can’t understand why so much had to be done to these burials, just for the sake of giving people at the university a taste of archaeological pursuit. I just can’t see it. What did they expect to accomplish? And now, as they look back, there was nothing gained from it. Most of the positions of the remains were in positions that they’d already known about. They didn’t find anything new. They didn’t find any new artifacts. [chuckles] They didn’t find artifacts of any great extent. It was [sigh in exasperation], it was in my mind, as I look back at it, it was nonsensical to have ever done that.
KM: So Hawaiians in their burial customs and practices, what do you think then? As you’d said, nonsensical, this thing about Mōkapu and stuff. Should they just originally be left in the ground, where they came from? And did you hear stories, in fact here at Pu‘uloa, with all the these lua yeah? Did you ever hear stories about burial out here?
TGP: [shaking head]
KM: No. Interesting eh.
TGP: I don’t think this area was a long time area of habitation, although the legends would say to the contrary, because this is where the ‘ulu was brought. But I just don’t know how to interpret it…
TGP/KM: [brief discussions regarding transposition of place names in some historical texts]
KM: …There are obvious remnants of remains. You know the salt works were important, and in the earlier days where the kāheka, the natural salt beds.
KM: And like aunty Arline was saying when we’d met previously, there was this area where the ponds are back here, and the old house sites and wetlands [in the vicinity of Sites 3201, 3202, and 3205]. Water was such an important resources, and we were wondering about salt works, or making there. If the people didn’t live down here permanently, where did they live? Where were the people coming from that made use of these resources out here?
TGP: As I sort of surmise now, I think the large areas of habitation were Waikele and then down through the lower part of what we call Waipahū. Now Waipahū is not a proper name. It’s neither an area or an ahupua‘a, it’s just a gushing well.
KM: Ahh, yes, Wai-pahū, one site eh.
AE: That’s right.
KM: [looking at Register Map 618] See where it says “Church” here?
KM: This is in Honouliuli, right on the edge. There was all this taro land up here yeah?
KM: Do you think that that’s where the main people were living?
TGP: These taro lands of Honouliuli supplied the chiefs primarily. There weren’t any other taro lands, that I know of.
AE: Not over there.
TGP: And that’s why now, if the taro was here, the people were living not too far away from their taro lands. They had to work them, and the chiefly compound, at Waikele was conveniently close. Then, you also have Waipi‘o with its ponds.
TGP: So I would say that the main area of population circled the West Loch.
KM: ‘Ae. That’s interesting, and probably…?
TGP: Probably during seasons, they would come camp over here. They would have to bring their fresh water. Their tolerance of salt water could not extend for too long. [chuckles] You can’t do that for lengths of time.
KM: And of course, it’s also very likely that before the cattle deforested a great deal of area here, that the water table into these lua meki, these pits and things, may have been, possibly, different also, There may have been a little more fresh water with good native ground cover, not like kiawe and stuff.
TGP: Well, the kiawe came in, in the 1820s.
KM: Yeah, real early.
AE: They brought it in.
KM: Now, if the people then possibly were coming down here and fishing seasonally and then going back, this sounds like a practice, I think Aunty Arline, was saying that… Like the work that Tūtū Kawena did, Eli Williamson, as a child yeah, she would come down to Kualaka‘i…
KM: Seasonally, families were coming down and fishing, yeah.
KM: That was still happening.
AE: That was.
TGP: And it was a practice that was, I think, what you would call “Statewide.” You know the Kona area on the Big Island, ‘Anaeho‘omalu, all the way to Kalāhuipua‘a, and then even further towards Kohala.
KM: Oh yes, and to Ka‘ūpūlehu and Kekaha also.
TGP: Uh-hmm. But the people from Anahulu came down and spent portions of the year at the shore.
KM: Yes, like Alapa‘i mā.
TGP: Right. And they had their shelters in these caves and they would bring only what was necessary and they would always take back their partially crystallized kai and finish making their salt mauka. So it was done, these seasonal treks to other areas.
KM: So that’s what you visualize as being the practice here?
TGP: Yes, rather than a permanent settlement of any sort here. I’ve never heard of… I think the permanency, the settlement was in the Waikele area. There are more legends related to that area.
KM: ‘Ae. It’s so interesting.
KM: This has been a rich kūkā kama‘ilio, talking story here about a variety of things. As a child, what are your fond recollections of this place? What are some of the activities that stand out?
TGP: I loved my grandmother. I was the oldest grandchild, and “Ama” was the name I gave her…
[end Side B, Tape 1; begin Side A, Tape 2]
TGP: [continues discussing her grandmother and her relationship to the Parkers]
… grandmother, Mary Parish.
KM: And what was her relationship to the Parkers?
TGP: She was the sister of Tootsie, or Elizabeth Jane Dowsett-Parker, who later married Knight, and then later married Woods. But as Parker’s wife, she gave birth to Thelma Parker, her first and only child. Who in turn, became the mother of Richard Smart.
AE: That’s so interesting.
TGP: So my grandmother and Richard’s grandmother are sisters, and so Richard and I are third cousins. And my father and Thelma Parker were in love with one another, and had they not been first cousins, they would probably have married [chuckles].
KM: [chuckling] it didn’t stop a lot of people.
TGP: Yes, but I think Aunty Tootsie had more to say about that [laughing].
KM: Ahh. So, you loved coming down here?
TGP: Yes. And Ama would go to Kamuela almost every year, with Aunt Tootsie when Aunt Tootsie would come from her home in Los Gatos, and spend time on Parker Ranch. And then Ama would come back to us here with the lauhala hats that she would purchase at Do Ching Store in Kamuela, and then she would line them. I had the blue lining, a bandanna, and my brother had the red lining. And so we always had our lauhala hats when we were playing on the beach. We didn’t dare go without a hat, it was “Where’s your hat? Go get your hat.” [chuckles] I think, I our lauhala hats and our sausage bag ‘eke, were really what I remember most about Kūpaka [chuckling].
KM: Hmm. Were there any Hawaiian, permanent residents, cowboys, down here at all, or was the ranch pretty much pau?
TGP: I don’t remember anyone living here, any of that.
KM: So papa them would come down weekends?
KM: So basically, the ranching operation itself, didn’t require a big labor force, there weren’t a bunch of paniolo?
TGP: No, no, no.
KM: How do you say the word “paniolo,” or “paniola”?
TGP: No, this skeleton crew, I’m going through some letters that I have.
AE: No, not too many.
TGP: No. Now, these letters were written between my grandmother and my great grandfather, when my grandfather acquired Ulupalakua Ranch on Maui. And my grandmother and her husband, Leonard Parish went up to run the ranch for my great grandfather. And the letters indicate just how… well, all the goings on at Ulupalakua and again here at Kūpaka on Pu‘uloa. And they always refer to the area as Pu‘uloa in the letters. And they refer to James Dowsett Jr. as recuperating here.
AE: So we’re not sure yeah, from what.
TGP: And I know it was in the area, but I don’t know where. Probably, and if get together…
AE: [pointing to the Pu‘uloa houses marked on the map] Probably those houses down there.
KM: There’s little houses indicated down here, in amongst these walled enclosures.
TGP: Oh, uh-hmm.
KM: You’ll see it better on your map. But, it’s very interesting.
TGP: There was nothing mauka?
KM: Well, there were, but see, this map is 1873, so it doesn’t reflect what occurred a little later, you know?
KM: You know, I just look at this land, the rich fisheries, you know that there had to be activity, even if it was people coming across occasionally.
KM: And still, the Honouliuli taro farmers were still active at that time.
AE: You know, sister, I can’t remember the name, but I’ll find out, somebody told me that there was a ranch right across here, right next to the shopping center. They gave me the name of the family, but I don’t recognize it.
AE: I’ll find out for sure from Amber.
KM: That [looking at the map] Robinson Ranch, was somewhere makai.
AE: I remember you’d said that.
KM: Where would you place us, where we’re sitting, on this map? If this is One‘ula, we’re just a little bit over here?
TGP: Yeah, Haseko takes in this area.
KM: Yeah, it comes behind One‘ula.
KM: Did you remember ever hearing this name, “Kualaka‘i” or “Kualakai,” as a place name here?
AE: That’s where the lighthouse was.
TGP: [shaking head no]
KM: So you don’t remember hearing that name?
TGP: No. It was only Barber’s Point, ‘Ewa Village, and One‘ula, above use.
KM: Very interesting.
TGP: Mary Pukui came down in this area. She talks about those dogs.
AE: Her dog.
KM: And the huaka‘i eh.
KM: Oh, mahalo. Thank you so much for just being willing to talk story.
AE/TGP: [brief discussion of how place names are being mispronounced and improperly translated]
[tape off, then back on]
KM: [the aunties were talking about new place names in the ‘Ewa District, and how inappropriate they were, some not even of Hawaiian origins] … Haseko’s looking at place names. What do you feel about that? If they’re going to this development, shall they just name it whatever they like, “anywheres-ville” or try to use names that are…?
TGP: There’s no excuse for them not to research and find names applicable to the area. There’s no excuse for their not finding applicable names.
AE: I believe that they got Keone Nunes to come in and sit in, and talk to about that. Like Keone says, he doesn’t come from this area, and I know that Rubellite [Johnson] did the names in Kapolei, and I made mention of this, that if there was anything of… You know, because she does extensive research work. Somebody that knows, not just any old body, making a name for here. That’s what happened with that Gentry, they just… look at the names they have.
TGP: It reflects a good deal of the po‘e haole thinking.
KM: That’s back of all of this kind of development.
AE: [chuckles] She’s telling that, every time I hear her, I think “Oh oh, there’s sister now talking about the po‘e haole.”
KM: But you know, it’s true, if they were so in love with El Dorado and all this stuff, maybe they should go back and live there.
TGP: It’s so stupid! To have to put up with this nonsensical names.
AE: In fact, when we were going to the council for Haseko, and that fellow that helps with that development, that Japanese fellow from Gentry, he was there. And I asked him, “Where do you folks get your names from? Don’t you research? There are so many beautiful names, why?” And he said “We don’t do anything with it, there’s a department.” I said, “you’re in charge of these things, aren’t you interested in what’s going on?” Well, it ended up with giving us some money. But you know, the money didn’t have anything to do with it. We put it into the community foundation and all that, but still, you know. And I know that Haseko has lost quite a bit of money, millions of dollars.
TGP: Well, just these delays, every day costs something.
AE: They’re not shrewd or anything, they’re just losing the money.
KM: Ah-well, mahalo. Thank you, thank you so much.
TGP: You’re welcome.
KM: For being willing to talk story.
TGP: It’s been a pleasure.
KM: This mana‘o is very important, and I see it for broader things. I look forward to seeing you again. And if there is anything I can do to be of help, please let me know.
Following the interview, Sister Parish shared several other short historical recollections, among them was the tradition of Kahahana having his priest Ka‘ōpulupulu killed and the prophecy at Pu‘uloa:
Pu‘u kāhea in the Wai‘anae District is a very important place in the history of O‘ahu. It is where the chief Kahahana was when he ordered the death of the high priest Ka‘ōpulupulu and his son, Kahulupu‘e. At Nānākuli, Kahahana failed to acknowledge the calls of his priest, and it was from that area, that Ka‘ōpulupulu then instructed his son to run to the ocean, for their revenge would come from across the sea. Ka‘ōpulupulu was killed at Pu‘uloa. A short while after that, Kahahana himself was killed by his uncle Kahekili of Maui, who had turned him against the aged priest Ka‘ōpulupulu. Thus the prophecy was fulfilled.