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What can you find in the Hawaiian language newspaper archive? Moʻolelo/ʻAtikala Nūpepa

Moʻolelo nūpepa or ʻatikala nūpepa are newspaper articles. Not all moʻolelo nūpepa were limited to reporting current events or news. Many of these ʻatikala were first hand accounts of places, historical or current events. Moʻolelo nūpepa also included editorial and opinion pieces.

One of the earliest ʻatikala nūpepa concerning Molokaʻi was written by a haole missionary named Harvey Rexford Hitchock, who had been living on Molokaʻi for 3 years and founded the first church on island, but had yet to explore the entire island. He wrote in to the newspress, Ke Kumu Hawaii, in 1836 from Kaluaʻaha to describe a tour he took around the island.

The first stop was Hālawa.

  1. Hitchcock describes the deep valley, tall cliffs, and two waterfalls that fall into a perfect pool where many come to swim.

  2. The stream that flows from the waterfalls goes all the way to the sea and fills the loʻi kalo. He claims that the kalo of Hālawa is famed across the island and he is astounded at how many loʻi there are.

  3. 500 people are estimated to live in Hālawa and Hitchcock claims that the majority of them are literate.

The next stop is Wailau.

  1. Wailau is described as a rich green valley with a long river going inland.

  2. The ʻāina is especially fruitful and lots of food crops and wauke are growing in the area.

  3. Because Wailau is so far from Kaluaʻaha, where the mission was established, Hitchcock reports that some of the people living there have yet to take up the Christian faith.

The next stop is Pelekunu.

  1. Hitchcock describes the cliff at Pelekunu and how the top is hidden in the clouds. He states he gets scared just looking up at it, as it must stand over 3,000 feet. He is told that the name of the cliff is Keakuakaʻapōhaku.

  2. Hitchcock experienced the big surf outside of Pelekunu and feared he would die from a huge wave crashing into their canoe.

The tour continues and Hitchcock reports on several astonishing places and features on Molokaʻi including sea caves and famed hills before returning to Kaluaʻaha.

First-hand accounts like this in Hawaiian language resources provide insight into the nature of the ʻāina before undergoing the immense changes we see today. By investigating Hawaiian language resources, we can rewrite our history and discover so much about our past.

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