John A. Cummins :
Waialuai, North Shore, Oahu, 1875.
John A. Cummins : Hawaiian Hospitality, Oahu, 1875.
as told to James W.Girvin. Sunday
Advertiser, August 21, 1904, pages 5-6.
Reprinted in Girvin, James W. : The Master
or Life in the Cane Fields of Hawaii
Press of the Hawaiian Gazette Co., Honolulu,1910.
Introduction Composed by James W. Girvin, but based on the
recollections of John A. Cummins, "one of the last of the Hawaiian Chiefs", the
article was initially printed over two pages under the title Hawaiian
Hospitality in the Sunday Advertiser, published by Honolulu's Pacific Commercial Advertiser, in August,
It was reprinted in Girvin's The Master Planter
in 1910, four years after he drowned in Honolulu harbour..
The text and format of is reproduced from from the book of
At the end of 1875 Cummins was charged with organising at tour
of Oahu forthe
Queen Emma, wife of the
late King Kamehameha IV.
The tour was a great success and featured fishing sports, the forced opening of a lagoon
called Pue-wai, and towing an outrigger canoe withhorses at speed parallel to
There was swimming,
high jumping, diving at the Kaliuwaa
waterfalls, and at Waialua, on the
north shore, every
surfboard in the vicinity was in use, and there were
some rare actors amongst this mass of people, who
hailed from all parts of the island.
In the year 1906, Mr. James W. Girvin was
Librarian for the Hawaiian Gazette Company.
Through my connection with the same company, I became well
acquainted with Mr. Girvin, and he unfolded to me, at divers
times, a mind stored brimful of useful knowledge.
The press work upon the book was well under way at the time
of Mr. Girvin's accidental death from drowning on the 11th
of December, 1906.
Of course, the work came to a sudden standstill then.
Later it was decided to publish the book, following Mr.
Girvin's known ideas in regard to it as closely as
possible-and a large package of proofsheets and manuscript,
just as Mr. Girvin had left it, was entrusted to me for
disentanglement and completion.
I found the closing words had not been written, or if
written were not found, so I have supplied them.
The hero of the story is a composite character, exemplifying
the sterling worth of the pioneers to Hawaii, who made of it
the most advanced cane sugar producing country in the world.
Mr. Girvin made the story of "The Master Planter" the
vehicle for conveying to the public a great fund of useful
information that he had gathered in many years of keen
LEVERETT H. MESICK.
They galloped across the plains to Waikiki and watched the
natives disporting in the sea.
To sit under a hau tree and watch the king and his people
riding the surf on boards or in canoes was one of the
Surely, of all aquatic sports, this must be the one which
afforded the greatest amusement.
The dexterity with which they handled their surf-boards, and
fearlessness with which they rode waves that threatened
certain destruction, was a most fascinating sight to a
XVII HAWAIIAN HOSPITALITY AND
CUSTOMS-PAGEANTRY OF A ROYAL
THE ISLAND OF OAHU.
HERE the author takes the liberty of inserting a chapter
which has appeared in the Commercial Advertiser, and which,
although written by himself, was said to be the best pen
picture of Hawaiian hospitality and customs which has
appeared in print.
The edition was soon exhausted, there being many demands for
it to send abroad.
Editior Advertiser: --- hand you herewith a description of a
tour around the Island of Oahu as told to me by my friend,
the lion, John A. Cummins (one of the last of the Hawaiian Chiefs), which I am sure will be of
interest to many of your old-time subscribers, and also will
show the malihinis how the Hawaiians
Yours truly, JAS. W. Girvin.
On October 10th, 1875, I received a letter
from Her Majesty Queen Emma, stating that she wished to see
As I had opposed her election and she knew I had been very
instrumental in securing the election of H. M. Kalakaua, on
at her house I was agreeably surprised at the pleasant
reception she gave me.
However, her husband, the late King Kamehameha IV, and I had
been schoolmates and intimate friends, and during his reign
I frequently entertained him at Waimanalo, and on more than
one occasion I had the opportunity of doing some kindness
for Her Majesty.
She made no mention of the past opposition to her, but asked
me to accompany her on a tour around the Island of Oahu.
Being familiar with the sports of the Hawaiians and somewhat
posted in Hawaiian mythology and occult mysteries, as well
as being an adept at fishing and the preparation of the
foods of the people, I knew I could make her tour a pleasant
At that time I had considerable resources at command, being
the konohiki, or lord of Waimanalo, and owner of hundreds of
horses and cattle.
The Queen asked me to fix a date convenient to me for the
beginning of the grand tour, and requested me to take charge
of all the details of the procession.
I decided that Guy Fawkes' Day, the 5th of November, should
be the day of leaving Honolulu.
Notices were put in the papers and also posters sent to
prominent parties in different parts of the island, fixing
dates at which the cavalcade would arrive, and I endeavored
to meet all those arrangements.
At Kuliouou we were entertained at luncheon by Mr. and Mrs.
We got away from there at 1 p.m. and rode down across the
plains of Kaea, Kamehame, and along the paved way to the
foot of Makapuu.
As the procession wended its way onward every three
hundred yards an arch bearing a motto in the Hawaiian
language presented itself, welcoming Her Majesty to the
No two of these mottos were alike, and some were from the
ancient hidden tongue known only to the chiefs.
These letters were constructed of combustibles and burned
until the whole cavalcade reached my home-place, "Mauna
Rose," a distance of four miles. Waimanalo.
After breakfast, on the first day, all parties proceeded to
amuse themselves in such manner as life in the country
afforded. Probably half of the party went to the mountains
to gather maile, awapuhi, ohawai, palapalai and hala fruit
to make leis for the
The other half remained at home; and I prepared some rare
It was a great day with the fishermen, who excel in that
part of the island.
Quantities of fish of many kinds were caught.
Amongst these were honu or turtle, ula, opihi, okala, uhu,
Ipalani, hee, ohua, manini, kumu and others.
Fisherman Malokea, and his large gang of men and women with
sweeping nets caught lots of moi, sandfish, akule, and
others, the sweepers covering a distance of
five miles of beach from Muliwaiolena to Puukiloia.
Her Majesty and most of the party had a sea-bath and
witnessed sports on the water before returning to Mauna
In the meantime I had a gang of men at work preparing to
open the bar at the mouth of Puha river.
This bar or dam had accumulated for some years and much
water was backed up.
I had seen this opened on a former occasion, and the sports
of the natives in swimming the raging waters, and determined
Her Majesty and party a view of this ancient sport.
To this end I had a gang of men cut and carry away much of
the embankment so that but little would be required to bring
down the flood.
An opening of 20 feet or more having been made in the dam
the water rushed out at the rate of 30 knots or more.
The bore or surge caused was very high, and only two men and
two women dared to play on this water-surf, called Pue-wai.
One strong man of fine form went across and back holding up
the tip end of his malo.
This was the grand sport of the day and was the subject of
comment by all who witnessed it.
Her Majesty presented each of these four with $100 and four
pair of red blankets.
"Hee-Pue-Wai" was a bye-word for several (lays thereafter.
Kamealoha had two large thatch houses and a large school
house at his command for sleeping quarters, and had erected
an immense lanai for the luau.
He was a well-to-do citizen, and as gen
erous and hospitable as any whom we met on the grand tour.
At night the torches burned and the hula went on, and
joviality and free intercourse was the rule.
We left there [Punaluu] on Wednesday morning, intending to
make Lane's place at Hauula that night, and had forwarded
much of our provisions and paraphernalia there.
When about to start from Punaluu one of the principal
natives, Keaunui, invited the Queen to take a surf-ride in
his two and one-half fathom [15ft
- 4.5m] canoe.
He was a very large and fine-looking man, and had a great
He had about fifty fathoms of small line and two horses, the
intention being to pull the canoe just inside the breakers,
parallel with the beach for a distance of four miles.
The beach terminated at his house, where he had prepared a
fine luau for the Queen and party.
Her Majesty declined to go in the canoe with Keaunui, but
said she would go with me, having more confidence in my care
of her. We got out of the buggy and I purchased 125 fathoms
of line at a Chinese store, and one of my boys took the
kinks out of it.
I had it made fast close to the fore outrigger of the canoe
so that it forced the canoe out about 100 fathoms.
I had nothing on but a malo and broad-rimmed straw hat.
The Queen left her shoes and stockings and got into the
canoe and sat down, holding firmly by the out-rigger.
The beach was crowded with people to witness the great sight
of a Queen taking a perilous ride in the surf.
I had two good horses at the end of the long rope and gave
the canoe a strong shove out to sea and jumped in at the
same time. The horses went full speed along the beach.
I turned my paddle up and kept the canoe out the full length
of the rope, and the speed must have been thirty knots.
Then I played with the Queen, dipping the out-rigger into
the sea, which threw the spray over us, causing a rainbow to
those on the beach.
The Chinese left their rice fields to see this great
In the canoe the Queen only was visible.
We had the rushing of the surf and the speed of the horses
to propel us, and flew through the water.
Her Majesty enjoyed the perilous surf ride, although she was
wet through and through when we landed at Keaunui's house.
Eight strapping kanakas lifted the canoe and both of us out
of the sea and carried us up to the house at Kallaka,
Koolauloa. Although Kealunti had his feast ready, we had to
go up to Kaliuwaa waterfalls to bathe and get the brine off
and change our clothing.
The natives carried both the Queen and myself to Kaliuwaa.
Kekela, the Queen's
mother, remained at Kapaka until our return.
This waterfall is also one of the historical points on the
Island of Oahu, about which many legends are told.
After swimming, high jumping, diving and other sports in
which the large crowd joined in the beautiful pool there,
refreshing drinks were passed around amidst great hilarity.
The pool is about fifty feet across, very cold and quite
Four days in Waialua seemed to me to be too much, but it did
not seem that way to the people, as they appeared to enjoy
themselves very much.
Every meal was crowded with them.
Bathing parties were in the sea at all times, as were
fishing coteries, while others were visiting the uplands.
It was curious to me to note that I had no trouble with this
army of friends, but they were well disciplined and polite.
Assuredly Waialua never saw such a sight before and never
Every surfboard in the vicinity was in use, and there were
some rare actors amongst this mass of people, who hailed
from all parts of the island.
After the luau [at
Her Highness Keelikolani's house, Moanalua] we
resumed our march towards town, the Queen on
"Kekonikauaikanahele" and I on "Taiehu," which was a most
beautiful white horse with red spots the size of a dime.
Her Majesty and the horse were covered with leis of lehua
and pilkaki, and every one of the seven or eight hundred
were likewise bedecked with leis.
We led the procession, followed by the whole cavalcade,
along King street, up Richards and along Beretania to Her
All dismounted and bade Her Majesty farewell, and I took my
men home to Waimanalo, having been fifteen days on the
merriest, wildest jaunt of my life.
I am sure I have neglected to tell much of the fun that went
on at each resting place, but the whole was an Hawaiian
holiday according to the ancient custom of enjoyment, and it
is unlikely that such could ever be repeated.
James W. Girvin
Girvin, James W. 1844-1906. The
Master Planter; or Life in the Cane
Fields of Hawaii
Press of the Hawaiian Gazette Co., Honolulu,1910.