Kapule-Kahele, Moana Kapapakeali‘ioka‘alokai "Mona" (Part 3)

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.


MK:      And then of course my father’s side... And Kalokuokamaile, before when they had that revolution going on in Ka‘ū, and then there was a king there, Kū‘ahu‘ula.

KM:      ‘Ae.

MK:      He had a son Kahelemauna, I think. And then Kahelemauna had a daughter Kaupī. And then Kaupī was his only daughter, so when the time that revolution went on, he brought her to Kalani‘ōpu‘u’s court to be kept there. So at that time Kamehameha was there as a young man. So when he saw her he fell in love with her. So he got her pregnant. When he got her pregnant, the father found out, so after the war he had to let her go back. And the war was pau already. So when Kamehameha found out that she went back... Well anyway, first, her father didn’t want Kamehameha to know where she was, so he mated her out to one commoner by the name of Pōhaku.

KM:      Hmm.

MK:      In Ka‘ū. And this man somehow after she gave birth. When she gave birth, Kamehameha sent his trusted servant, that was Hoapili and his wife to go over there and get that baby. Whether boy or girl bring it back. So, somehow he got word that she gave birth. So he went. When they went they got the baby, brought it back and let him know and he told them to go to Ho‘olehua, Hōlualoa Beach, it’s a secluded place and that’s where they brought this girl up.

KM:      For real, oh!

MK:      Uh-hmm. And that was Luhikau.

KM:      Luhikau.

MK:      Because at that time they were searching out all the royal, even if they have ‘em with a commoner or whatever, but in this case was royal so they went hunting for theirs. They know that Kaupī had a baby, ‘cause she was pregnant when she went back. They know. But where the baby went nobody knows, but that’s where this girl was brought up. And then as she grew up the government changed each time. Well Kamehameha was getting wild and all that. But he kept her secluded all the time never wanted anything to happen. So that’s where she grew up, and then somehow the palace government started to come out and look for the royal people and all that, and what they should have and all that so this man Palau, he used to be in the palace, too. Him and another man I forgot his name, Hawaiian. And so when he came out and then that’s when the King gave him [Palau] the ahupua‘a.

KM:      Hmm.

MK:      When he met this Luhikau, he wanted to marry her. So they were mated, and his name was Timoteo Palau. So when they were mated that’s how he was given that ahupua‘a.

KM:      ‘Ae. This Kahauloa section, yeah?

MK:      Yes.

KM:      Kahauloa iki I think.

MK:      Right. Go all the way up past Maunalei. I forgot the name of one more place, way up, that’s the center.

KM:      ‘Ae.

MK:      It’s right below Mauna Loa. I forgot the name. But until there. They call that the center of the island. So, okay then they lived and then she had children and one of the girls married Auko‘o. That’s the one taught me the lomilomi great-great grandpa. And all the ho‘oponopono and all that. And then from him came my grandma’s grandma Kahinu, and then from Kahinu comes my grandma that one there [pointing to picture].

KM:      ‘Ae.

MK:      Right over here that’s one picture I have there. That’s my mother’s mother. Then come my mother then me.

KM:      And where was Kalokuokamaile in that?

MK:      Okay. Kalokuokamaile, when Kaupī was mated to Pōhaku, he was the child.

KM:      Ahh.

MK:      In other words he and Luhikau would be half-sister and brother, see.

KM:      That’s correct but Luhikau was actually Kamehameha and Kaupī’s?

MK:      Yes.

KM:      Ohh. Interesting.

MK:      And then although she was older than her husband, he still took her, because that was the promise. That’s why he was given the land, see, because of her. So, in the Bishop Museum he had Luhikau as his mother, and I had to correct that.

KM:      Ohh because actually it would be his half-sister.

MK:      They sent me back the report that I had to prove how. Oh boy, I said, wow I got to search out everything so I went down and did it.

KM:      Oh good, wonderful!

MK:      Then that’s how it got to him, so his father Pōhaku, was the one that put the bell in Kāhikolu Church, the beginning. But when they had the bell up and everything, he must have stepped on the wrong board, he fell.

KM:      ‘Auwē!

MK:      And when he fell his body was all broken up. So those days the Hawaiians know how to do lā‘au kahea.

KM:      Lā‘au kahea, ohh.

MK:      That’s what they did.

KM:      Ohh.

MK:      So he was known as... well, the only thing they couldn’t do was to straighten him up. So he was known as the hunchback of Nāpo‘opo‘o.

KM:      ‘Ae, kuapu‘u.

MK:      Yes, Pōhaku kuapu‘u.

KM:      Hmm.

MK:      And that was Kalokuokamaile’s father. Then I don’t know what happened after that, but I only know that he was taken to Honolulu and educated there. Part of the royalties I don’t know which one. So he became one of the early teachers, and Malo when they opened Lahainaluna.

KM:      ‘Ae.

MK:      And he was there until they abolished the language and everything, take the culture away, and all. So that’s when he came home.

KM:      Came home.

MK:      Then although he knew English little bit because he was sent to the Royal School, so he knew some. So when he came back then he couldn’t teach anymore... That’s where most of the Nāpo‘opo‘o men were educated.

KM:      Lāhaina?

MK:      Yes. Until everything had stopped and then they all came home. And then my father’s brother, his hānai brother that’s Kamaile’s mother’s own brother, and being he was the only son, he was sent to Kamehameha School.

KM:      Ahh.

MK:      And Kamehameha School had just opened.

KM:      Yes.

MK:      He was one of the first students who was at that school.

KM:      And his name?

MK:      Hmm... [thinking] his name was Isaac Kualau.

KM:      Kualau?

MK:      Yes. He was named after his father, Keli‘ihelepule, I think, something like that.

KM:      Keli‘ihelepule.

MK:      That was his name. And then he went to school over there. Then he graduated and the week that he supposed to get on the ship and come home, they had the flu epidemic over there. So when the ship came in the captain came to the house and called my grandfather. So he went out, and all of a sudden they heard him yelling and crying and punching the stone wall and oh whatnot. My grandma ran outside she said, "What’s wrong?" And then he said he got to go Honolulu. She said, "Why?" "Because the boy died." Oh that was it. So he went. And then when my father was, that’s how he didn’t want my father to go to Kamehameha School. He said, "No." And then my father ran away, he got on the ship to work on the ship, and I think that time was Kilauea, I think, the ship at that time. And when the ship came into Nāpo‘opo‘o, outside, my grandfather was out there with the canoe waiting. Oh boy!

KM:      Give him good scoldings?

MK:      Yes. My grandfather climbed on the ship he went to see the captain. "I’m taking my boy home." And ever since that time my father never went to Honolulu until Kamaile’s mother had called him, and that’s when their mother, my grandma was real sick.

KM:      Yes.

MK:      I was taking care of her over...

KM:      ...Aloha. You mentioned Nāpo‘opo‘o, is it just one specific place? Because see they have ahupua‘a, yeah, Kīloa, Waipuna‘ula, the Kalamakumu, Kalamakōwali like that, and ‘Ililoa. But no more ahupua‘a by the name of Nāpo‘opo‘o. Is it a region or what?

MK:      It’s the whole thing.

KM:      It’s the whole... so it’s like a regional name?

MK:      Yes.

KM:      Ohh.

MK:      Because Nāpo‘opo‘o just like a dented bowl or something.

KM:      ‘Ae.

MK:      The story goes back they had that two ponds that were there. See, the first time there was these two young kids that had come, nobody knew where they came from. But they wanted water, no more water. People were drinking sea water. And so they thought that they would convert themselves into two ponds. So one went into where the bay is and one went almost to where Ke‘ei is, all that section Kahauloa and all.

KM:      ‘Ae.

MK:      And they changed themselves into ponds, two ponds. When they did that the people had water to drink. It was going on so good and the ali‘i were going in there. Finally, the ali‘i got greedy, so they were killing the people, even little children, only for drinking the water. They wanted the water all for themselves. One morning they got up, nothing was there no more water, nothing. What happened was, one, the boy went to the ocean that’s why we have the brackish water. The sister went to the mountains and there we get Wailapa. So that’s Maunalei right down to Hōnaunau mauka.

KM:      ‘Ae, Wailapa I’ve seen that old name on some of the testimonies.

MK:      Yes. And that’s just like the basins down there.

KM:      ‘Ae. So little poho po‘opo‘o wai.

MK:      With all this mountain sides so they say Nāpo‘opo‘o, that’s a dent.

KM:      Uh-hmm. So it really covers this area sort of from the bay Kealakekua section, over here you know.

MK:      Yes. It goes as far as Kahauloa.

KM:      Ah, Kahauloa.

MK:      And then it stops Kahauloa Beach.

KM:      ‘Ae.

MK:      Yes. From there it stops.

KM:      And then Ke‘eiis over by itself?

MK:      Yes. And then Kahauloa...[thinking] Haleola, because had a heiau up there before.

KM:      Ahh. On the point at Kahauloa?

MK:      Not to far. That’s where Wilcox house is standing, right on that heiau.

KM:      And you said that that’s Haleola?

MK:      Haleola.

KM:      ‘O ia ka inoa o ka heiau?

MK:      Yes. Because why they call that Haleola, when the people go without potatoes like that nothing grow down there they would go over there, and being over there, and then when they go back, the potatoes start growing.

KM:      Ahh.

MK:      So that’s how, that was the beach people’s heiau that.

KM:      Ho‘oulu ‘ai?

MK:      Yes.

KM:      Just like to cause the foods to grow, like that.

MK:      And Wilcox is the second owner of that place. The first owner couldn’t stay because somehow they said there were weird things going on.

KM:      [chuckling] Well... heiau.

MK:      Look at Wilikoki mā, they both sick.

KM:      Oh, aloha. So that’s out on Kahauloa Point area?

MK:      Yes. Right on top where the bay, the bay is down. And then right on top of that you can see where the cliff is. That’s where it used to be. And we go up along the beach way and all we never climb up there on top where the heiau is. We bypass that.

KM:      If this is Kahauloa Bay over here tūtū [looking at map], is it near so it’s on a bluff overlooking the bay or...?

MK:      Yes.

KM:      Here’s the bay, here’s Palau.

MK:      This is Palau side. [thinking] Is it from this side here... yes this side.

KM:      So on the southish side. There’s Kuheana’s kuleana and stuff over here.

MK:      Yes.

KM:      So Haleola. You know this name Kanele, that’s an old name too on this ‘āina they had a lot of ‘āina.

MK:      Yes, yes.

KM:      In fact you see here Kahauloa nui was to Kanele.

MK:      Kanele. That’s where the Keli‘inohomoku family comes in.

KM:      Ohh, I see.

MK:      That family is all the Kaneles.

KM:      Yes, okay.

MK:      But somehow when that other family came in, they lost out.

KM:      Lilo?

MK:      Yes. I think they only have one... oh I think the last piece is sold, Wilcox brought that and built the house for his caretaker. So it’s gone down there. In fact I think all the frontage because, on this side of where that place is have another Keli‘inohomoku but I think one of the daughters sold. I forgot the married name.

KM:      One of them married a Leslie.

MK:      Oh no that’s different.

KM:      Young one, younger?

MK:      [thinking] Moku, yes that’s the same family.

KM:      Keli‘inohomoku. That old man used to make medicine, Keli‘inohomoku, or something like that.

MK:      Ah, not too much, he did it only for his own. Only when they get hurt like that.

KM:      Good, mahalo it’s so nice to see you again.

MK:      And then all these areas have all different names.

KM:      Yes. All different kuleana. That’s what you were saying today, they call this what, Manini Beach Road, right?

MK:      Yes, sickening.

KM:      You said it’s really another name right? Kapahukapu?

MK:      Yes. Kapahukapu and that place that’s the main trail that runs. You come up past the church used to have the old school.

KM:      Yes, yes.

MK:      You pass the school.

KM:      Here’s the old school [looking on map].

MK:      And then go up.

KM:      To Kāhikolu, yeah?

MK:      Yes.

KM:      Here’s the old school. So the trail followed along and came right down, and here’s the road here.

MK:      Right. And that trail goes all the way up mauka.

KM:      ‘Ae. And I guess there was a place called Kepulu?

MK:      Yes.

KM:      Kepulu was just by the church section I think.

MK:      That’s where the church is, the old ground.

KM:      ‘Ae. The old ground yes.

MK:      The old ground. That’s where they had the war games.

KM:      Ahh.

MK:      War games and Kalani‘ōpu‘u lost his first battle there.

KM:      Ahh yes, yes.

MK:      That’s why they called that Kepulu, because when they started that... How I found out was when one tūtū man was talking about the place and this and that. So I told my grandma, "How come over here they call that name Kepulu, and we no more water over here." And that’s how come I got the story.

KM:      Pulu ke koko?

MK:      Yes. Tears and blood, that was what it was.

KM:      Yes, amazing! Oh again your memory is just so amazing!

MK:      Good thing I wrote it down, and thank you to my mother who saved it.

KM:      Yes. You told me the story yes, how wonderful.

MK:      Oh boy. She couldn’t get over it, she just cried and cried reading all that.

KM:      Yes... In the story, I’m going to bring you like the other mo‘olelo that I brought you with all the different things. There was, in 1908, Ka Hoku o Hawai‘i published a story called "Ka Make Ana o Kekuhaupio, ke Koa Kaulana o Kamehameha." And it says that Kekūhaupi‘o, he lived at Ke‘ei.

MK:      Yes. That we know.

KM:      He lived there and what had happened is he went to go bathe at a place called Waipiele.

MK:      And?

KM:      And what happens is someone came and with an ihe hau, a hau spear. You know, hau wood?

MK:      Uh-hmm.

KM:      So fake kind, jabbed at him and Kekūhaupi‘o didn’t think much of it and so he didn’t block it and it stabbed him and that’s how he died. But it said that he was bathing at a place not far from where he lived called Waipiele. And I was curious if you’d ever heard?

MK:      The only place that I know that they call that Waipiele is where they call Lelekawa.

KM:      Ahh.

MK:      That’s a big place.

KM:      Yes.

MK:      And Lelekawa is not far from the Machado’s. You got to pass that before you get to Machado.

KM:      Yes, okay. So right on the lae kahakai there?

MK:      Uh-hmm. This is Ke‘ei.

KM:      Oh, good, good.

MK:      I don’t know if Kaliko knows that but that’s what his grandfather told us.

KM:      Okay, okay.

MK:      Yes. But the story in the back of it...

KM:      Don’t know yes, yes.

MK:      Yes, I never heard that.

KM:      Okay. Well you’ll see the mo‘olelo.

MK:      But we know that he lived there.

KM:      You’ll see the mo‘olelo from Ka Hoku o Hawai‘i.

MK:      Hmm.

KM:      Very interesting.

MK:      Yes. Sometimes when I think back, I wish I kept all those papers.

KM:      Oh, yes! Wouldn’t it have been wonderful!

MK:      Had all kinds in there.

KM:      Yes. Nui ka mo‘olelo.

MK:      Yes.

KM:      Nanea wau i kēia mo‘olelo.

MK:      [chuckling]

KM:      You’ll enjoy these maps and this one too is really nice. This is Register Map 1595 for your ‘āina. It goes from basically Palikapuokeōua or Manuahi, over to Kahauloa-Ke‘ei boundary.

MK:      Hmm.

KM:      And what I’ll do is...

MK:      What I want, even now while I’m still living that’s what I’m trying to do. Get the right names on the places.

KM:      Yes.

MK:      Not what they have today.

KM:      That’s what’s so important about the mo‘olelo that you shared with me earlier that we put into that other study.

MK:      Yes.

KM:      You talk about you know so how Kealakekua came about Kūlou like you said today.

MK:      Uh-hmm.

KM:      Then the Spanish coming in you know, Kiei.

MK:      Yes.

KM:      It’s important to know these place names.

MK:      And today you hear different names. Sickening!

KM:      Oh yes. They’re kapulu.

MK:      Yes. Like where Kamaile is they have another name but I forgot it... [thinking] something, I forgot.

KM:      But, get pa‘akai, right?

MK:      Pōhakupa‘akai, because of those salt basins.

KM:      That’s right.

MK:      And you can still see them today.

KM:      Oh yeah?

MK:      Yes, if you go down there you can see them all different shapes.

KM:      So Kapahukapu then Pōhakupa‘akai?

MK:      No. Kapahukapu that’s the cove over there.

KM:      ‘Ae, okay.

MK:      Okay. And then comes Hāwala‘au.

KM:      Hāwala‘au.

MK:      Just a little awa when you pass that high house?

KM:      Yes, yes. Right below?

MK:      Okay. Then keep on coming, and that’s... [thinking] there’s another name that’s where Deshas live. I forget, I know the name but I’ll get it. And then Pōhakupa‘akai.

KM:      Ahh. You know by where the Deshas lived?

MK:      Where Kamaile lives and all.

KM:      Was there a lua wai or loko out on that flats out there?

MK:      There was a pond.

KM:      There was, yes.

MK:      There was a well and a kumu lauhala was there. And when the tidal wave came, lilo.

KM:      Ah, lilo.