Missionary at East Maui Female Seminary and Mauna Olu
Turner, Charlotte L. (b. Apr.8, 1853-d. Sept.2, 1933)
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Being the Most Complete Historical Account of the Ancient Capital and
Present day Seaport ever Published
By Charlotte L Turner
LOOKING backward to a ago what was the picture to those wdio first arrived in from other lands? It was that of small village stretching for miles a level sandy coast. The stately coconut palms had found their home there. It is supposed that the natives brought and planted the seeds their wanderings from the southern seas, or islands, There too could be seen broad, spreading breadfruit trees, the bananas, and guavas, rows of sugar cane, here and there a fish pond, and on sides dry vegetation. Hawaiian life, in its most primitive state. The many thatched homes of the people, added to the picturesqueness of the scene.
Probably there is no portion of our Valley Isle, around which gathers much of historic value as Lahaina. It was the former capital and favorite residence of kings and chiefs. Even the great warrior, Kamehameha the Great, spent some of his time there. In 1796 he consecrated numerous heiaus (or heathen temples) with the usual rites and human sacrifices. Others may be mentioned. Kaahumanu the favorite queen of Kamehameha I, her birthplace being in Hana Maui. Keopuolani, wife of Kamehameha I, though born in Wailuku, was a resident of Lahaina. Her mother’s family had long governed Maui.
It is of interest to know what the word Lahaina means and how it came to be called this I will give in full Mr Pogue’s article on this subject.
Hawaiian tradition tells us that the first human residents of these islands came from Kahiki. Whether by word Kahiki it is meant they came from Tahiti of the Society Islands, is a question, inasmuch as the word Kahiki was used in early days anything foreign, as for instance the Hawaiians said plover migrated to Kahiki to have their young; Irish potatoes are called uala-Kahiki or foreign potatoes; pineapples are called hala-Kahiki or foreign pandanus or screwpine, the pineapple having somewhat a similar leaf to the pandanus. Assuming then that the word Kahiki was used as a general expression for any foreign country, we can better understand the word Lahaina. The first human came to Maui from Kahiki through the channel between Lanai and Kahoolawe, landing somewhere between Launiupoko and Kekaa. Many years later they named the channel Ke-ala-i-kahiki, meaning the road, lane, or trail to, not from, Kahiki. After landing at or near Lahaina, these immigrants made many voyages from time to time to what to them were foreign lands or Kahiki. and telling the beauties and advantages of Maui in general, and the locality from which they came, in other words, “Advertised Lands.” They always left from, and returned to, Lahaina, passing out through the above named channel but not always returning by that channel. When returning they always brought with them immigrants, goods, etc.
One day the king, or chief, called his people together to counsel as to a name for the land of their adoption. Finally the council decided to call their new home Lahaina (La-ha-aina) because from there the land was advertised (hoo-laha-ia-ka-aina) which by contracting the phrase would spell Lahaina. Laha-aina two words which if further contracted would spell Lahaina the present name.
The population of the district of Lahaina in the very early days was mostly spread out between Kekaa and Kahakuloa. There was one king or chief who governed all the land between Uku-me-ha-me and Honokahau. This king lived at or near Kekaa in the locality of Kaanapali. He was known as the chief of the “Red Feet” because the people of this place had red feet discolored by the red dust of that region. In the valley of Ka-u-wa-ula there was a settlement of farmers, so one day this chief of the Red Feet and his subjects visited the valley of Ka-u-wa-ula, starting in the forenoon from Kaanapali, passing through the present town of Lahaina, then only a hamlet, unnamed (there were no names in those days). He started up from Lau-niu-poko for the valley of Ka-u-wa-ula a little after noon. When half way there it was early afternoon, the hottest part of the day. The heat was even worse that afternoon than usual. The chief stopped beside a large rock and wiping the perspiration from his brow exclaimed, Kau-keia-ka-la-hai-na.” “What a hot day”, which to make one word of two spells Lahaina.
From WF Pogue
June 7 1920