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Kauaʻula, the Powerful Wind of Lahaina

Cover Image: Masthead of Ke Au Okoa published on May 30, 1867.

In 1867, a description of Lahaina appears in the newspaper Ke Au Okoa, submitted by a writer(s) who simply identify as C & K of Lahaina. This lengthy description covers topics from the establishment of Lahainaluna Seminary, to the uniquely beautiful moon of Lahaina, to how the kamaʻāina of Lahaina are “aloha ʻāina.” The article also includes an animated description of the Kauaʻula, the powerful wind of Lahaina, shown here below:

Image: C. & K.“No Lahaina.” Ke Au Okoa, May 30, 1867, p. 4, excerpt.

Lahaina is a land of very strong winds. At times, it is a place of terribly destructive winds, but this is not a regular occurrence. This is a wind that does not blow all the time. It just blew once a year, for three or four days, and then died down; but these days, several years go by before it blows. This wind, the Kauaʻula, blows from directly above Kauaʻula Valley. The wind begins blowing and for three or four days it roars in the uplands, and then exits seaward. The roaring is heard from above like the crashing of the sea against the base of a cliff. When it blows, it is something truly terrifying—houses topple, coconut trees snap, all the breadfruit trees are hewn into pieces, and banana stalks are all pushed down by this angry wind. It has no friend to calm it down; it is an ʻaumakua that heeds no prayers. While that wind blows, the light of the sun is blocked by the dust from the wind, and Lānaʻi, Molokaʻi, and Kahoʻolawe are obscured and cannot be seen. The sky turns reddish with the dust. Sleeping areas are turned red as well. The mesh of mats are not discernible, being covered by the dirt. And that makes Lahaina most extreme. That is not how it is in other places here in Hawaiʻi, and this is something that encourages us to have compassion for Lahaina, and it is something that the youths of Lahaina recall.

Image: Looking to the West Maui Mountains from Lahaina, Maui, Hawaiʻi. ca. 1910, Bishop Museum Archives. SP 220624

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

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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