Kapule-Kahele, Moana Kapapakeali‘ioka‘alokai "Mona" (Part 2)

Kepā Maly -- August 5, 2002 at Kīloa


Moana Kapapakeali‘ioka‘alokai "Mona" Kapule-Kahele, (Aunty Mona), was born at Kapahukapu (Kahauloa-Nāpo‘opo‘o), South Kona, in 1921. As a child, she was raised by her grandparents and brought up in a household where Hawaiian language and cultural practices were the way of life.

The following is an excerpt from He Wahi Mo‘olelo no nā Ke‘ei ma Kona Hema, a collection of traditions, historical accounts and kama‘āina recollections of Ke‘ei, South Kona, Hawai‘i. It is used with the permission of Kepā Maly, Cultural Historian and Resources Specialist.

The excerpt has been edited by Ka‘iwakīloumoku for typographical errors only; the orthography is presented exactly as it is found in He Wahi Mo‘olelo no nā Ke‘ei ma Kona Hema.


Moana Kapapakeali‘ioka‘alokai "Mona" Kapule-Kahele, (Aunty Mona), was born at Kapahukapu (Kahauloa-Nāpo‘opo‘o), South Kona, in 1921. As a child, she was raised by her grandparents and brought up in a household where Hawaiian language and cultural practices were the way of life. Kupuna Kahele is known throughout Kona (and Hawai‘i) for her knowledge of the Hawaiian language, native traditions, and practices. During the interviews (cited in this study), Kupuna Kahele shared detailed accounts of travel along the traditional ala hele (trails) and historic Alanui Aupuni of the Hōnaunau-Nāpo‘opo‘o-Keauhou region, practices associated with collection of resources from sea to mountain, and traditions of place names and land use. As a youth, her family and others of the region still maintained upland agricultural fields where kalo (taro) and other plants were grown in the shelter of the forests. At Maunalei (Kahauloa), there were two springs which the families relied upon for water and for their crops and drinking source.  They also kept fields of sweet potatoes and crops on the kula (middle lands) and near their shore residence. Fishing and agriculture were their mainstays.

Kupuna Kahele’s genealogy (under the names of Kalokuokamaile, Palau, Kapule, and Ka‘ilikini) ties her to the lands of the Nāpo‘opo‘o-Ke‘ei region and other locations in Kona. For nearly 60 years, Kupuna Kahele walked the trails of Kona. She believes that respect and care for the land is the responsibility of all who travel the trails and touch the land and sea. She encourages continued use of the native trails, but believes that such use must be educated. People need to understand the sacred nature of the landscape to the Hawaiian people and travel with respect.

During each of the interviews in which Kupuna Kahele participated, she shared detailed accounts of place name origins and historical sites of Ke‘ei, Kahauloa, and the larger Kealakekua-Nāpo‘opo‘o region. Kupuna Kahele granted her release of the interviews on December 5, 2002.

KM:      You know did your tūtū, like tūtū Ka‘ula them, did they have māla‘ai ma uka also or they stayed ma kai?

MK:      No. They just stayed ma kai.

KM:      They stayed ma kai.

MK:      He was always ma kai. He was the head Deacon and the oldest Deacon of Kāhikolu.

KM:      Ahh.

MK:      Him and my grandfather Kalokuokamaile.

KM:      Kalokuokamaile, yes.

MK:      Both of them.

KM:      You know your tūtū Kalokuokamaile wrote in the Hawaiian newspapers a lot.

MK:      Yes.

KM:      Did you hear?

MK:      Ka Hoku.

KM:      ‘Ae, Ka Hoku o Hawai‘i.

MK:      Hmm.

KM:      Did you hear, did you know that he used a pen name, you know sometimes rather than using the real name.

MK:      Right, right.

KM:      They use a pen name. Do you remember hearing him called Palikapuokeōua?

MK:      Uh-hmm.

KM:      That was, and just like tūtū Kaua when they wrote in the newspaper.

MK:      They never write what the names they have now.

KM:      Yes, that’s right. He was Ka‘ehukaiopalemanō.

MK:      That’s right.

KM:      [chuckling] Interesting, yeah?

MK:      And then I had one cousin that was named with the last part of Palemanō.

KM:      Ahh.

MK:      [thinking] He just died not very long ago, he had a Japanese wife, his wife died first, Lawrence.

KM:      Oh Lawrence, Pānui right? Grace?

MK:      Grace. And then the oldest brother, Louie, just died about one year ago.

KM:      Hā‘ule? Aloha nō.

MK:      And the youngest one I think was Jonathan, no that’s a nephew.

KM:      Bill, William is Kaliko. He’s still in Honolulu.

MK:      Yes, Kaliko. I think he left here when he was a little boy.

KM:      Yes. Well, that’s why I was saying when we get together, ‘cause we’re talking story you know, Kamehameha Schools to try and gather information so that the children can understand. The students can understand about the land. So we’re going to try and have him come up and that’s why we would like you, Uncle Kaliko.

MK:      Uh-hmm.

KM:      Cousin Maile them, we come sit down just go sit down, talk story. I’ll pick you up, we can take you over. ‘Cause Nāinoa has a house out there now, Thompson.

MK :      Yes, yes he does.

KM :      So I figured maybe we could all get together, go just talk story down on the coast line there, you know.

MK :      Uh-hmm. Yes, because I went down there about a month ago at my aunty Margaret’s place and then one of the students who wanted to know more on the other side. They wanted to see where that point was.

KM :      Yes.

MK :      Because we were talking story about Spanish people.

KM :      ‘Ae.

MK :      And then so we went down that way although the road was rough, we only could go so much because my wheel chair cannot go too far.

KM :      ‘Ae.

MK :      So, I looked down all nice, that sand is still there like how it was.

KM :      You mean this section?

MK :      Where the bay is.

KM :      Yes, yes.

MK :      You know on the other ‘ao‘ao.

KM :      ‘Ae, ‘ae.

MK :      Used to have one radio station over there.

KM :      Yes, yes.

MK :      Long time ago. And then below that radio station had a house, that was the Hāili family.

KM :      ‘Ae, right over there?

MK :      They used to live there.

KM :      Hāili was right on this side?

MK :      Right, right.

KM :      Yes, yes.

MK :      And then [thinking] and across Kaua, and you go further down was Kimi, I only know as tūtū Kimi, he and his wife.

KM :      Uh-hmm.

MK :      And then I think they had one mo‘opuna with them, I forgot. Then the mo‘opuna was sent back to Honolulu or something. And then you keep going there was another family that was living there and that’s all. Nobody else.

KM :      Kukua was down there?

MK :      Kukua.

KM :      Kukua.

MK :      He’s way up.

KM :      Ahh.

MK :      This Kukua is from mauka Ke‘ei, middle Ke‘ei.

KM :      ‘Ae.

MK :      If you know Sarah Kahiwa or Walter Kahiwa?

KM :      ‘Ae, yes.

MK :      Walter Kahiwa.

KM :      Walter Kahiwa, Sarah Kaupiko.

MK :      Yes, his mama.

KM :      ‘Ae, the mama.

MK :      That’s a Kukua also.

KM :      Ohh, okay.

MK :      And they lived up, middle.

KM :      Middle section okay.

MK :      Then he was hānai by [thinking] one family from Kohala and that’s where she was brought up until she was going to normal school over there, and came out as a teacher.

KM :      ‘Ae... I saw uncle Walter a couple weeks ago at Miloli‘i.

MK :      Hmm.

KM :      So this map you’ll enjoy tūtū.

MK :      Oh boy!

KM :      You keep this one here with you.

MK :      Na‘u kēia?

KM :      ‘Ae, you keep this, and this one is a really neat map because it’s the earliest map of all Kahauloa, the ahupua‘a boundaries out to Hōnaunau.

MK :      Hmmm.

KM :      It was surveyed in 1875. Some spelling errors but you know as I’m preparing this little study for Kamehameha Schools…

MK :      Can I see it?

KM :      ... all the native testimony from the Māhele and all of the Boundary Commission testimonies so you see. [looking at map] Makai, and there’s Kahauloa you know the different areas.

MK :      Oh, this is our ahupua‘a.

KM :      ‘Ae.

MK :      We still have ‘um, here and there.

KM :      Yes. See Palau, that’s your tūtū, right?

MK :      Yes.

KM :      ‘Cause that’s your kūkū, right?

MK :      Right. He was the one that was given an ahupua‘a.

KM :      ‘Ae.

MK :      So because of all the families, and some of them never have land and all, so he looked how big the family and he gave them so much.

KM :      ‘Ae.

MK :      And he was the only one that did that. So these families, instead of take care the land, no they didn’t.

KM :      Ā lilo

MK :      They like go Honolulu, they hear about Honolulu, go, go, go, go ah, no more land.

KM :      Yes.

MK :      This is right below of [thinking] oh boy, that’s the main trail anyway over there.

KM :      ‘Ae it is. Upper Government Road section.

MK :      Right, uh-hmm.

KM :      And this is the makai Alanui Aupuni that goes all the way out to Ki‘ilae and beyond like that.

MK :      Uh-hmm.

KM :      So I have all of the testimonies.

MK :      My goodness.

KM :      From the kama‘āina in the 1870s about the ‘āina that goes with this, so as soon as I finish up that report I’ll send this over to you too.

MK :      Uh-hmm. Even down the beach we still have the shares down there yet.

KM :      Good yes. Well that’s why...

MK :      The rest of the families they want to travel and lilo...

KM :      ‘Ae.

MK :      Their parents wanted to go so they went and then after that they come back and shake up the families.

KM :      [chuckling]

MK :      That’s what they’re doing to me.

KM :      Aloha.

MK :      I’m the last, and I have a sister, too, only she and I more. And our section is okay nobody could touch that, but right around us is all Bishop. And they tried to... you know in the beginning they tried, but they couldn’t get, because we wouldn’t give in.

KM :      Yes. I think that’s important because the land, you know, that’s your connection to your past, right, your kūpuna?

MK :      Yes. My mother had a bigger share in there because her sisters gave up, they didn’t want to live, they don’t want farm life. Then her brothers, they all went away to work and all that. So, they never tried to think about it, so left only my mother. She was the one that upheld until she got sick and then she called me. "Your turn." I said, "Okay." So now I got my girl over there.

KM :      ‘Ae. Good, that’s wonderful.

MK :      I’m up here, I cannot keep all that...

KM :      ‘Ae... When we spoke before...

MK :      Uh-hmm.

KM :      You shared such important things about place names, as we were looking at the maps. Like if this is the boundary Kahauloa [looking at map].

MK :      Uh-hmm.

KM :      And Kāneahuea right here.

MK :      Yes.

KM :      They call it Kāneahuea is the name of this place here. This comes into Kahauloa.

MK :      Uh-hmm.

KM :      Here’s you folks, Palau, Kalua where you were talking about your tūtū.

MK :      Yes all gone already. They sold the land. Either they sold it or was taken away from them.

KM :      Yes. Well I see there’s construction stuff going on over there now. I guess your cousin Maile mā live right in here Kualau section like that?

MK :      Yes.

KM :      And see here’s Kalua’s other part of the ‘āina right there.

MK :      Uh-hmm. That’s a different Kalua this one, they’re related, but far.

KM :      I see.

MK :      This one is different, that’s a different Kalua.

KM :      Yes. And like Howard Ackerman?

MK :      Yes, that’s the one.

KM :      Over here.

MK :      Uh-hmm.

KM :      Would be over here. Where Desha’s house was basically I think would be around here before.

MK :      Right.

KM :      Were there place names? I was remembering you know...

MK :      Keku... [looking at map]

KM :      Kekukui.

MK :      [thinking] Was there a Kekukui down here?

KM :      But see this is old Māhele land, that was 1848. Maybe Kekukui pau by the time you know.

MK :      Uh-hmm.

KM :      This is...

MK :      Kekuapuhi.

KM :      Kekuapuhi.

MK :      Yes, this one.

KM :      You know tūtū when were talking once before, you had mentioned some place names but I wasn’t able to mark it on a map. Did you tell me about a place name Piele or something?

MK :      Piele... [thinking] You know where the Hikiau heiau is?

KM :      Yes. [opens Register Map No. 1595]

MK :      Okay you keep coming and then... Piele, Piele, Kiloa.

KM :      Ahh.

MK :      And [thinking] oh boy something... [thinking] and then the pier.

KM :      ‘Ae, here’s the pier.

MK :      Yes.

KM :      So Piele was near the boundary?

MK :      Piele. Yes near the boundary of... in fact it’s part of the boundary where the prison was.

KM :      Ahh, okay I see.

MK :      And why they call that Piele because way up they had potato fields.

KM :      ‘Ae.

MK :      And then the Hawaiians used to live up there, the commoners, maka‘āinana.

KM :      ‘Ae.

MK :      So they are the ones that do all the work and the ‘ulu and all, they plant all that.

KM :      ‘Ae.

MK :      But when they had the ali‘i’s fighting and all that, so they found one cave up there. And they hid in the cave. So while up there, they were using the potatoes for food.

KM :      Hmm.

MK :      And after the war when they went down and then Kalani‘ōpu‘u look at them they looked you know real good.

KM :      Healthy, yeah?

MK :      Yes. Better than the beach people. Because the beach people looked so lean, helpless, and no more food and all that. So, he asked them, "how did they live, how can they be so..." like that.

KM :      Uh-hmm.

MK :      They look normal because that’s when they take all their whatever they plant down to the king.

KM :      Yes, yes.

MK :      Then they hear from maka‘āinana said because they stayed in the cave, and to be quiet, they lit the fire at night and cooked their potatoes. When the potatoes were done they take two stones, those big round stones. One flat and one round one and they just roll, no more sound. Although all pu‘upu‘u.

KM :      ‘Ae, ‘ae.

MK :      And so that’s what they lived on, on that, and even the ‘ulu they did the same thing. And even their lū‘au they can cook and the potato shoots and all that. They had food for themselves.

KM :      Uh-hmm.

MK :      So that’s why they named that place Piele.

KM :      So Piele ‘cause that’s a potato, sweet potato pudding or mash like, poi like, yeah?

MK :      Uh-hmm.

KM :      Ohh.

MK :      And that’s what the people were living on. So, he told them that they were wise but they hid because otherwise the enemy find them.

KM :      ‘Ae, yes. So you think this was Kalani‘ōpu‘u time?

MK :      Yes, that’s what we were told.

KM :      This map [Register Map No. 1595] shows the old pond, the fishpond by Hikiau that you were telling me about.

MK :      Yes.

KM :      Here’s the old prison before.

MK :      Yes, in the back.

KM :      Yes, in the back.

MK :      And old Greenwell said, "No such thing...!"

KM :      No, had, had.

MK :      Yes. Because the cement was still there you know when we were kids.

KM :      ‘Ae. Hmm.

MK :      And every time when we do something wrong our kūkū used to tell us, "Makamake ‘oukou hele mahope, me ke kepalō? Nunui ka maka, a ‘ula‘ula!" [chuckling]

KM :      [chuckling] ‘Ae. Well you know even with that, with Kealakekua, Heakekua, the beach area and stuff you know they talk about po‘e akua.

MK :      And that fishpond, Li‘iloa.

KM :      ‘Ae, Li‘iloa.

MK :      But they called that, Kalua‘ōpae.

KM :      Ah, Kalua‘ōpae.

MK :      Greenwell had that, I said, "No, that’s not the name." He said, "That is!" I said, "No. Because that fishpond belonged to Kalani‘ōpu‘u."

KM :      ‘Ae.

MK :      "And his kahuna was taking care of that fishpond. No tell me that because we grew up over there and we knew what it was." And in this fishpond the bottom, all with ‘alā stones, all different colors. All lined up underneath.

KM :      So it was just like paved?

MK :      Yes.

KM :      The bottom of the pond.

MK :      Before when we go swimming in the bay pau we jump in there, and that’s what we used to do. Play who can get more white or step, touch more red and all like that, you know. Because it’s kind of deep.

KM :      ‘Ae. Were there other springs out around along the shore near you folks. Did all the houses have little waterholes and things?

MK :      Well, where Kamaile is staying now.

KM :      Yes.

MK :      We had one hold there. But my grandfather’s brother-in-law who was a Japanese, and without his wife knowing, he went and built an out house on that.

KM :      ‘Auwē!

MK :      So, when my tūtū man went down from mauka here and he saw this house on top there, oh boy, he wanted to beat up his brother-in-law! But the brother-in-law took off, came up mauka. So he says, "Oh, because that’s the water he depended on."

KM :      Yes, yes.

MK :      And that’s where Gordon claimed that had all iwi and right up to where the tomb is and over there have one foundation. I say, "No, that’s not. Only the tomb kept." And then my grandfather had it sealed because every time the door opened somebody died.

KM :      Ah, aloha.

MK :      So he had it sealed. His mother was the last one to go in there, and then pau. That used to be, wait, we had [thinking] a high house, it was in the back of the back room. And that’s where the tomb is. And where that foundation is, that’s where the house was.

KM :      Ah.

MK :      And then used to have one ‘ōhai tree right mauka side of the house. And then my tūtū man had a horse over there, you know, the kind they sharpen the saw.

KM :      Yes, yes.

MK :      Yes, that’s where. You know, I never seen that and I never tell about that all my life I grew up. Until one night I had a dream about that place, and I couldn’t get over. You know if stayed in my mind until morning and I sketched it down. I have it in this picture book.

KM :      Oh wow, that’s wonderful!

MK :      I got it over there...

KM :      ... That’s wonderful. Good memory. All of you folks, like you described before, all along here out to Ke‘ei all pili?

MK :      All family.

KM :      All family.

MK :      Two sides, yeah. Was my mother’s side...

KM :      Well your Tūtū Kalokuokamaile was something, too.