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Cleaning Graves

Cover Image: Masthead of Ka Nepepa Kuokoa published on May 28, 1915.

Aloha, Dear Reader,

Today’s post looks at past Memorial Days (known as Lā Kau Pua and Lā Lū Pua) in Hawaiʻi nei. The announcements requesting help to clean cemeteries appeared often in the newspapers. Who cares for our graves today?

Image: National Memorial Cemetery, Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. Photo by Tai Sing Loo, 1955. Bishop Museum Archives. SP 222902.

Image: “HOOLAHA HOOMAEMAE PA ILINA.,” Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, April 28, 1922, p. 8.


With this is being printed orders to all those who have a plot in Kalaepōhaku Cemetery [aka Puʻuokamaliʻi Cemetery], to go immediately and clean their graves, for Memorial Day is near at hand. Those who do not heed these orders will lose their plots to this cemetery.

DANIEL K. MAUNAKEA [Daniel K. Maunakea],
Cemetery Supervisor.

(Kuokoa, 4/28/1922, p. 8)

Image: “MA KE KAUOHA.,” Kuokoa Home Rula, May 21, 1909, p. 3.


Those who have a plot at Puʻu o Hawaiʻi Cemetery, come at once on Monday, May 17, to clean your cemetery plots. And whitewash and clean beyond the wire fences for ten feet; for the grand lā lū pua is approaching.

Supervisor, J. K. MAUNAKEA [John K. Maunakea],
Kūnāwai, May 13, 1909.

(Kuokoa Home Rula, 5/13/1909, p. 3)

Image: “Oiai ke hookokoke mai nei…,” Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, April 26, 1923, p. 8.

Being that Lā Kau Pua is approaching, for those with plots at the Pauoa Cemetery; it is desired that they come and clean that graveyard, during this time.

(Kuokoa, 4/26/1923, p. 8)

Image: Kawaiahaʻo Church, gate on Kawaiahaʻo Street, Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. Photo by John M. Whitenack, ca. 1915. Bishop Museum Archives. SP 203784.

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Image: “O ka poe he mau pa ko lakou…,” Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, April 27, 1917, p. 4.

To the people who have plots at the Kawaiahaʻo Church cemetery, it is desired that they show up at the meeting of that aforementioned church’s cemetery committee, at half past seven o’clock, Friday, May 11, at Kawaiahaʻo, and it is desired that they clean the cemetery for the coming Lā Kau Pua.

(Kuokoa, 4/27/1917, p. 5)

Image: “Ua makemakeia ka poe apau…,” Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, May 21, 1920, p. 4.

Everyone who has a plot at Puea Cemetery, come together at the aforementioned Puea Cemetery, at 9 o’clock in the morning of Lā Kau Pua, that being Monday, May 31, to discuss matters intimately related to the well-being of the previously mentioned cemetery.

(Kuokoa, 5/21/1920, p. 4)

This post is part of He Aupuni Palapala: Preserving and Digitizing the Hawaiian Language Newspapers, a partnership between Bishop Museum and Awaiaulu with assistance from Kamehameha Schools. Mahalo nui loa to Hawaii Tourism Authority for their support. Learn more about this project here.

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