Sacred Texts  Pacific  Index  Previous  Next 



The Honolulu Aquarium is located in Kapiolani Park on the famous Waikiki Beach, about five miles from the centre of the city. From 600 to 1,000 fish, covering some 200 varieties of remarkable form and bewildering color, are on exhibition here, forming one of the finest collections in the world.

This Aquarium was built in 1904 by Mr. and Mrs. Chas. M. Cooke on land donated for the purpose by Mr. Jas. B. Castle brother-in-law to Mr. Westervelt, the author, and is stocked and maintained by the Honolulu Rapid Transit Company. The plant has cost over $20,000, and is being added to and improved from time to time. The color plates included in this volume show only a few of these wonderful fish.


Mr. Chas. R. Bishop, who founded the Bishop Museum, died in California early in 1915, having just passed his ninety-third birthday. He was born in Glens Falls, N.Y., and sailed around Cape Horn to Hawaii in the early days before steamship communication.

His wife, Berenice Pauahi, was a very high chiefess descended from the royal line of Kamehameha the Great. To her Kamehameha V. offered the throne, and on her refusal to espouse him remained a bachelor and died without heir. Mrs. Pauahi Bishop bequeathed her vast estate and fortune to found the schools for Hawaiian boys and girls, known as the Kamehameha Schools, Honolulu, and near these Mr. Bishop founded the Bishop Museum; which contains all the

{p. 264}

magnificent feather-cloaks, helmets, calabashes, etc., handed down from generation to generation through the royal line of the Kamehamehas and inherited by Mrs. Bishop. This has been greatly increased by other gifts and purchases and now forms the finest museum in the world, of relies of the Polynesian race.


"The history of Hawaii can be traced only through the ancient meles, poems without rhyme or metre, but strictly accented, often several hundred lines in length, handed down orally from one generation to another. The mele included all forms of poetical composition intended for chanting. They are usually divided into four groups, as the religious chants, prayers, and prophecies; the inoas, or name songs composed at birth of a chief recounting heroic deeds of his ancestors; the kanikaus, or dirges for the dead; the ipos, or love songs.--All the modern songs are love songs.--

The cadencing consisted of a prolonged trilling or fluctuating movement called i-i, in which the voice went up and down in an interval less than a half-tone. This was used extensively in the oli (a songful expression of joy, or a humorous narrative), which was even more lyric than the mele.


The modern hula is not the hula of ancient time. The hula combined pantomime, poetry, music, and the dance. It was enacted in honor of the goddess Laka and furnished entertainment for the chiefs and their retinues. It included the mysteries of Polynesian mythology and the history of the nation. It was given by trained and paid performers, as it was a difficult accomplishment and required long and rigid training in both song and dance.

Hulas varied in dignity and rank, and the character was influenced by the musical instruments used, which were as follows: the ipu, a drum made of two large pear-shaped gourds of unequal size, joined together at the smaller ends,

{p. 265}

in which a hole was made to increase the resonance; the pahu, a drum made of coconut wood and covered with shark skin on its upper end, originally used in the heiaus and on rare occasions in the halau; the puniu used with the pahu, a small drum made from a coconut shell and fish skin, which was strapped to the thigh and played with a thong of braided fibres; the uli uli, a small gourd filled with seeds; the puili, bamboo sticks splintered into fine divisions at one end and giving a rustling sound like wind; the laau, two pieces of resonant wood; the ili ili, two pebbles used like castanets; the ukeke, something like a jew's-harp--the strings being plucked with ribs of grass; the conch shell, or trumpet; the pua, a small gourd; and the ohe, or nose flute.

The ukelele, a small guitar having only four strings, now used was introduced in the time of Kalakaua and is modern. It affords, however, an effective accompaniment for the deep, rich quality of the Hawaiian voices.

The halau was a flat-topped open structure covered usually with coconut leaves specially erected for the performance of the hula and to which leis and awa were brought as emblems of light-heartedness and joy. In every halau there was a bower of green leaves which were supposed to be the abode of the presiding deity. The devotees of the hula worshipped many gods, but the goddess Laka was the patron to whom special prayers and offerings were made."

(Excerpt from an article by Helen G. Cadwell.--Thrum's Annual, 1916.)

Next: Polynesian Language