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Ka Nekina

Cover Image: Masthead of Ka Nupepa Kuokoa published on January 25, 1923.

Aloha Nūhou Monday!

There is a boastful ʻōlelo noʻeau—

Ka iki ʻulu kēia o Kanekina e kōkē ai nā pine.

This is the little bowling ball of Kanekina that knocks down the pins.

A boast: This fellow may be small but he is powerful.

Selection no. 1400 from Mary Kawena Pukui’s ʻŌlelo Noʻeau: Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings, © 1983 by Bishop Museum.

The saying is also seen as:

Image: “Haina Nane,” Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, January 25, 1923, p. 4

The little bowling ball at Ka Nekina
That knocks down the pins
Striking here, there, and beyond,
The bowling alley trembles.

(Kuokoa, 1/25/1923, p. 4)

For years I wondered if Kanekina maybe was a place in China. But it seems that “Kanekina” or “Ka Nekina” is the Hawaiianized form of “The Nation” or “The National.” The establishment was owned by Joseph Booth and located at the southern corner of Nuʻuanu and Hotel Streets in the mid-1800s.

The National House was first run by James F. Lewis, but soon thereafter it is curiously under the management of William Wond.

Image: “National House,” The Sandwich Island News, November 4, 1847, p. 4

Image: “National House,” The Sandwich Island News, January 13, 1848, p. 4

This explains the sudden switch!

Image: “$500 Reward!” The Polynesian, January 1, 1848, p. 44

Image: National Hotel and Billiard Saloon: A Panoramic View of the City of Honolulu, Oahu, Sandwich Islands. Drawn by Paul Emmert and Lithography by Britton & Rey, San Francisco, 1854, Bishop Museum Archives, SCP 99517

Image sharing on social media is welcome. For all other uses please contact , Bishop Museum Archives, 2023.

With the death of Joseph Booth in 1868, the Nation becomes the Empire Saloon, owned by James Olds [Kimo Olo]. In 1895, after a quarter of a century goes by, people still refer to the establishment by the old name. I suppose I still often refer to HOMA as the Academy of Arts. Are there places you still call by a name from the past?

Image: Testa, F. J., Buke Mele Lahui, reprint, Hawaiian Historical Society, 2003.

Hale Inu Rama Emepaea
(Empire Saloon)

But familiar to us by its

old name, “The Nation”

(Ka Nekina)

Kimo Olo (James Olds) – – Owner

There you will find all types of liquids
refreshing to the throat, like

LIQUOR of all types, WINE, ALE, BEER

And so forth.

Don’t fail to recognize us, for you are
a kamaʻāina who is clearly known, and this is a
hospitable house for all at all hours.

You can find

Fresh Beer on Tap

There at all times.

From far away Europe comes our

Wine, Port, and Sherry

And it is the finest.

So too of the other spirits, they are

from the mainland.

Southern corner of Nuʻuanu and

Hotel Streets, Honolulu.

(Buke Mele Lahui, p. 120)

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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