Kalili, Gustave Kaleohano

Ke‘alohilani Serrao


Photo: courtesy of Kalehua Lima

Gustave Kaleohano Kalili.


‘O Kaleohano Kalili ko‘u kupunakāne kualua
‘O Ka‘ulamealani Kauwe ko‘u kupunahine kualua
Noho pū lāua a hānau ‘ia ‘o Ka‘ehuana‘ole Kalili
‘O Joseph Serrao ko‘u kupunakāne kuakahi
‘O Ka‘ehuana‘ole Kalili ko‘u kupunahine kuakahi
Noho pū lāua a hānau ‘ia ‘o Uluhane Serrao
‘O Uluhane Serrao ko‘u kupunakāne
‘O Marjorie Char ko‘u kupunahine
Noho pū lāua a hānau ‘ia ‘o Uluhane Serrao
‘O Uluhane Serrao ko‘u makuakāne
‘O Tina Correa ko‘u makuahine
Noho pū lāua a hānau ‘ia ‘o Ke‘alohilani, ‘o Ka‘ehuana‘ole, ‘o Alema, a ‘o Ka‘ulamealani
‘O wau ‘o Ke‘alohilani Tara Eliga Serrao ka hiapo
E ola ka hāloa o ku‘u ‘ohana

Gustave Kaleohano Kalili, my kupunakāne kualua, was also known as Gus Kaleohano or just Kaleohano by the old Hawaiians of Lā‘ie. He was born on December 24, 1883 in Lā‘ie, O‘ahu, to Kalili Nahuina and Kalelaina Kaleohano.

As I stated earlier, Kaleohano was born and raised in Lā‘ie by his father Kalili Nahuina, who was born in Kohala, Hawai‘i, and his mother Kalelaina Kaleohano, who was born in Waihe‘e, Maui. Notice that his father’s first name was Kalili and his surname was Nahuina – he dropped his surname in later years.  Kaleohano and his brothers and sisters were raised in Lā‘ie under the Christian principles and doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He later married Caroline Ka‘ulamealani Kauwe in 1903.

While living in Lā‘ie, Kaleohano supported his family as most Hawaiian Mormon families did back then. He was given land by the church on which to work and support his family, but there were rules stating that if you were living on Church property, you weren’t allowed to go outside and work. He had seven taro patches to live on, but this wasn’t enough for Kaleohano, he wanted more, so he went to work part time for the Kahuku Plantation. He also later worked for the City and County of Honolulu as a road overseer.

While working as a road overseer, he also had people working on his little plantation. He even owned a little plantation store in Lā‘ie. But like I said before, working outside of Lā‘ie was against the rules set up by the Church, therefore a leader in the Church at the time used his authority to take the land away from Kaleohano.

From 1909 to 1910, he served as a police officer under Sheriff William Jarrett. He felt that this job was more respectable even though the pay was lower.  He eared $50 a month, while as a road overseer, he earned $52 a month.  He later was also hired as the road overseer for the Ko‘olau district and earned $75 a month. Later in life he worked as a carpenter, which lead to an accident while unloading timbers from the trucks. Because of his injury, he was unable to return to work until 1924, when he began working as a foreman for the Refuse and Street Cleaning Department, making $124 a month. But again, he got injured and ended up retiring with disability. You can see how important work and supporting his family was to Kaleohano. I would also like to mention that even though he only received a fourth-grade education, one would think that he had a higher education.

As I stated earlier, Kaleohano married Ka‘ulamealani Kauwe, a full-Hawaiian. Because he was also pure Hawaiian, their children were of pure Hawaiian ancestry. His marriage was the last in his line to be of pure Hawaiian extraction. Kaleohano and Ka‘ulamealani had five sons and four daughters, but all of his sons died before they were three months of age. Kaleohano’s family was an example of a partially dying race. His eldest and second daughters married men of full Portuguese descent, his third married a Filipino, and his youngest married a man who was Hawaiian-French-Irish.

In an essay written by Josephine Keolakawai Serrao, a granddaughter of Kaleohano, she said that Kaleohano was an ambitious Hawaiian. She also said, "He keeps encouraging the younger generation, especially the Hawaiians, to try and get ahead."