Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hui Kawaihau

When Kalākaua ascended to the throne in 1874, he named his youngest brother, William P Leleiōhoku, the heir apparent.

Leleiōhoku was educated at Saint Alban's College (forerunner to ʻIolani School.)  An accomplished musician, he founded several choral societies. One of them was called Hui Kawaihau.

The Hui Kawaihau name was based on a nickname for an American missionary woman in town who preferred iced water ('Kawaihau') over some of the alcoholic libations the others were enjoying.

Leleiōhoku composed several songs, including, Adios Ke Aloha, Aloha No Wau I Ko Maka, Nani Wali Līhuʻe, Moani Ke Ala, Ke Kaʻupu, He Inoa No Kaʻiulani (a different song from the one with the same name by Liliʻuokalani), Nani Waipiʻo, Hole Waimea (this one was co-written with his singing club.)

He also wrote Kaua I Ka Huahuaʻi (Johnny Noble adapted most of the melody and kept most of the same lyrics of this one, and changed the spelling of the title, for his 1926 song Hawaiian War Chant (Taua I Ta Huahuaʻi.))

The Hui Kawaihau choral group had about fifteen members; it was more social than business.  When Leleiōhoku died in 1877, King Kalākaua reorganized the Hui into a business group.

Among the twelve hui charter organizers were some well-known names, including King Kalākaua; Governor Dominis, the King's brother-in-law; Colonel George W. Macfarlane; Captain James Makee; Col. Curtis P. ʻIaukea; Governor John M. Kapena of the Island of Oahu; J. S. Walker and C. H. Judd; and Koakanu, a high chief of Kōloa, on Kauaʻi.

Their first order of business was to sign on more members and contract for the cultivation of sugar cane on land in Kapaʻa, on Kauaʻi.

The twelve organizers signed up thirty-two resident members.  About the first of August, 1877, the members of the Hui - over twenty men, with about the same number of women and children - set out from Honolulu, on the steamer "Kilauea," on the voyage to their new home on Kauaʻi.

At the time, the districts of Hanalei and Līhuʻe shared a common boundary.  Kawaihau was set apart by the King, who gave that name to the property lying between the Wailua River and Moloaʻa Valley.  A bill was introduced into the legislature and the eastern end of Hanalei District was cut out and Kawaihau became the fifth district on the island of Kauaʻi.

About the time the Hui was started, Captain James Makee obtained a concession from the King to build a sugar mill at Kapaʻa and establish a plantation there.  He was the first manager of the Plantation, and had agreed with Kalākaua to grind in his mill all the cane grown by the Hui.

The contract with the Makee Sugar Company (under which each members of the Hui who came to Kauaʻi had signed separately with the plantation) required each of them to plant two hundred and forty acres of cane the first year, and they were to receive, in payment for their cane, two-fifths of the returns from the sale of the sugar obtained from it.

Each planter was required to plow his own portion of the tract and to buy his own seed-cane for planting.  A portion of the seed cane came from the neighboring Līhuʻe Plantation, ten miles to the south, and the balance they brought from Lāhainā.

Upon Makee's death in 1878, his son-in-law, Col. ZS Spalding took over management of the new sugar venture.  Spalding also started the neighboring Keālia Sugar Plantation.  In the 1880s, Spalding built the "Valley House," a Victorian-style wooden mansion, one of the finest on the island.

From 1877 to 1881, Hui Kawaihau was one of the leading entities on the eastern side of the Island of Kauaʻi, growing sugar at Kapahi, on the plateau lands above Kapaʻa.

As part of the infrastructure of the new plantation, the Makee Landing was built in Kapaʻa during the early years of the Makee Sugar Plantation.   Today, in place of the old Makee Landing, a breakwater is located on the north side of Mōʻīkeha Canal.

The Hui members all worked their share of the plantation - cultivating, irrigating and weeding the sugar cane under their supervision.  But they were all new to the business of growing cane - being mostly city men from Honolulu - all clerks and office men, etc.

The first crop was quite successful, netting the Hui over $17,000, from which was deducted the expense paid by the King for the Hui's transportation to Kauaʻi, and the preliminary operations there - about $5000, which left enough to pay the members nearly $500 apiece, after paying the expenses.

In spite of the successful opening of the enterprise, it soon encountered dark days.  For nearly four years, troubles were increasing.

Colonel Spalding advised them to sell out to the Plantation, and thus end all their troubles; but they would not agree.

By 1881, four years after the favorable opening of the Hui's plantation efforts, the members, disheartened and discouraged, had all drifted away, their property and leasehold rights, etc., passing into the hands of Colonel Spalding, the successor of Captain Makee as the head and principal owner of the Makee Sugar Company.

The Hui Kawaihau of Kauaʻi had passed into history.

In 1933, the Līhuʻe Plantation Co. purchased all of the outstanding Makee Sugar Co. stock and in the next year the mill was dismantled and combined with the Līhuʻe factory.

(Lots of information here from "The Hui Kawaihau" by Charles S Dole and The Friend, April, 1920.)  The image shows the Kawaihau District on the Island of Kauaʻi. In addition, I have added other images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.

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1 comment:

  1. Mahalo, I just happened to wander onto this site and I am very impressed with the information. I do research for the Cummings family and a major migration from Makawao to Kawaihau took place in 1890 predominantly to work for Spaulding at Kealia. My gr.Grandfather Jonah B Cummings and his brother Joseph had worked for Makee at Ulupalakua as did their sisters husband Henry Sheldon and all made for Kealia in 1890. I also had another maternal gr.Grandfather (Jose Vasques) who worked as a finish carpenter in Spaulding's home.This of course is a calculated assumption from stories I was told of Jose doing extensive work in the Managers residence.