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March 2008

From the Editor...


Rochelle delaCruz

from the editor…


It was Uncle Danny Kaopuiki who put us in touch with Chris Mahelona, who then sent me the website for Ka Ohana O Kalaupapa along with a copy of the bill sponsored by U.S. Representative Mazie Hirono. (It passed shortly after we started working on this issue.) One look and I knew this was a story Northwest Hawai`i Times readers would want to read. Chris agreed to write it and send photos, and how fortunate we are to have the story from someone who is playing a major role in the Memorial. In an email, Chris wrote, “This kuleana has been a big part of my life for the last few years.  The Memorial will list every single person who was a part of this sad chapter in Hawai'i history. The few remaining patients are very special people.”

The one-hundred-year period when those with Hansen’s disease were exiled to that remote peninsula on Molokai is a tragic episode in Hawai`i’s story. Most of them died there in graves that can no longer be found, which renders them nameless. This worsens the tragedy, if that’s possible, especially when we know how important names are in Hawaiian culture. “It is said, names carry significant mana…” wrote Chris.

Then the inquiry arrived regarding the name Keākealaniwahine which was forwarded to Roy Alameida. A week later, he emailed what his research uncovered and even though it was not planned, there was an immediate connection to Kalaupapa. In the article Chris said, “In ancient Hawai`i, a person’s name was one of his most precious possessions.” Roy’s reply about Keākealaniwahine confirmed exactly that point, connecting it directly to the mission of a Memorial at Kalaupapa.

This paper comes together because of our love for Hawai`i. These stories that tell about the significance of names in the Hawaiian tradition help us hold on to values that are an important part of our islands.


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