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"Ku-ka Ku-Ka"
Talk Story time with Mama Lily

In our house we have many old photos of people that mama Lily asked me to place in our display case. Many of the photos have been damaged so I do my best to clean them up. I asked mama who are these people. She went on to tell me about the old Kalakaua House up mauka. Mama told me that she had been looking for a picture of the old Kalakaua house and was unable to locate one and then one day a friend came by and gave her a copy of the photo in a frame. It now sits in our display case.


The Old Kalakaua House

Kalakaua House up mauka

This is a picture of the old Kalakaua house in Kahaluu mauka. My godfather whom I always referred to as Kuku man or grandpa was the land overseer for King Kalakaua and his sister, queen in waiting, Liliaokalani. Kuku man would travel all over the Hawaiian Islands with King Kalakaua to oversee his properties.

When my daughter Lily Jr. was a child she recalls visiting the house and how beautiful the front of the house was with wonderful flowers and plants. The back of the house however always seemed a mystery. It had two gigantic mango trees on either side of the yard with an open space in the middle. It's a mystery as to why nothing ever grew there and it always seemed a little cold.

The house and the property was given to him (my hanai grandfather Charles Kaiaike) as payment for his services. As a child, I spent alot of time there with Kuku man Charles and my hanai grandmother Lily Makuahini whom I am named after.

When Kuku man Charles died, the furniture went to my mother and I was given all the photographs in the house (such as the one pictured below with Kuku man and a young woman). The house and the property was given to Tutu Lily who then married John Desong. When Tutu Lily passed away, the land transferred to kuku man John.

Kuku man Charles with LilioakalaniWhat is interesting and tragic is that tutu lady did not know how to read or write in English, so when she had to sign something she would simply mark the signature space with an "X". When tutu lady passed away, grandpa John started receiving tax notices that the property belonged to someone else. It is reported that they have signed documentation (most of which they would not show my mother) signed by tutu lady transferring the property to them.

As a young woman, I recall seeing one of these so called legal documents with her full name signed in the signature space. Since she could not read or write...I wonder who actually signed her name.

While I have many good memories, this is a tragic example of how some of the Hawaiian lands were stolen from the Hawaiian people....

During the time of Kuku man Charles, my mother Mary A. Haanio was his secretary. Since money was hard to come by, Kuku man Charles paid mom by giving her land. The land was sectioned and called apana #1 (which is where the old Kalakaua house stood) and apana #2 where some of my ohana live.

While the property known to my ohana as apana #1 is gone, I still have many good memories and photos of a time long gone.

Lily Makuahine Namakaokai Haanio Kong







Mama Lily and Lily Jr.

Interview for "Aha'i Olelo Ola
(Hawaiian Language TV) Dec. 2010

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