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Lahaina Water Rights, 1895

Cover Image: Masthead of Ka Nupepa Kuokoa published on December 28, 1895.

Aloha Nūhou Monday!

The fight to retain traditional water rights is not new. In 1894, Henry Dickenson, newly appointed Commissioner of Water Rights, heard a complaint against Kumuliilii (m) and 57 others over their water usage, filed by C. F. Horner and Paul R. Isenberg of the Pioneer Mill. Dickenson sides with the Pioneer Mill.

The following year, in 1895, the case brought by C. F. Horner and Paul R. Isenberg against Kumuliilii (m), Kalua Kanawaliwali (m), Kukue (m), Kukala (m), Ilaika (f), Kauahikaua (m), Wahinepio (f), Kahai (m), Kalua (m), Charles Liilii (m), Henry Hairama (m), D. Kahaulelio (m), Noa Kahaulelio (m), Keao (m), Kawahamana (f), Kaaeae (m), Kapili (m), Kahooneeaina (f), Piimoku (f), Kealo (m), Maikeike Ihihi (m), Kaleihoomio (m), Kahulikaa (m), Elia (m), Kulu (m), Kukue (m), Punihele (m), Kaminamina (f), A. Pali (m), Wili Aholo (boy), Mrs. Hattie Ayers (f), William White (m), Henry Smith (m), Kualau (f), Waihoioahu (m), Kanelawahine (m), Liliuokalani (f), Likua (m), Opunui (m), Palakiko (m), D. Kahaulelio (m), Kahoino (f), Hoohilahila (f), Joe Paniole (m), Rev. J. Waiamau (m), Uilama Hinau (m), Kahalepuna (f), Moku (m), Mrs. Sylva, Mrs. Espinda, J. Espinda (m), Mrs. Pratt of Honolulu, Kaloiele (m), Mrs. J. F. Brown of Honolulu, G. K. Halemano (m), S. Koko (m), J. F. Brown, M. Makalua, Kanekoa (m), and C. Ahwai to try and limit their water usage is heard by the Supreme Court.

Image: “Kela Hihia Hoopaapaa Wai o Lahaina Maui.” Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, December 28, 1895, p. 2

Trial Pertaining to the Dispute Over the Water of Lahaina, Maui.

On this past 11th, the Supreme Court published, through Judges Judd and Frear, the decision in the case of C. F. Horner and Paul R. Isenberg of the Pioneer Mill of Lahaina versus Kumuliilii and 57 others, who were found at great fault in the decision by Henry Dickenson, Esq., the Commissioner of Water Rights and Private Ways for the District of Lahaina. The summary of the decision goes as follows:

The lands which receive its water from Kauaʻula Stream are separated into two divisions. The first division is from Wainee to Pola Iki, with those two included as well. The second division are the lands at Puunau Iki to Waipaahao with those included as well. Within the First Division are the lands with these names: 1. Wainee and Pakala; 2. Wainee elua; 3. Wainee hookahi; 4. Mokuhinia; 5. Puaa Nui; 6. Puaa Iki and Waiokama; 7. Kooka; 8. Alio; 9. Kamani and Ilikahi; 10 Pola Nui; Pola Iki.

Within the Second Division, these are the lands: 1. Puunau Iki; 2. Puunau Nui; 3. Puunau and Kaulalo; 4. Halakaa; 5. Puehuehu Iki; 6. Puehuehu Nui; 7. Puehuehu Piliwale; 8. Makila; 9. Pahoa; 10. Puupapai; 11. Waipaahao.

These two large divisions received water consecutively for eleven days: one division in the day and the other division at night. When the eleven days were over, the water would enter at night for those that previously received it in the day, and so too for the places that received the water at night, they would receive it during the day. And it would thus go back and forth without stopping. Within each of those large divisions, each land within the large divisions has water rights for twelve hours, in the day, or perhaps at night, as per the revolving irrigation hours; in the order that their names are shown above.

The lands of Kauaula and Makila, above the head of the ʻauwai of Piʻilani, those lands would receive water anytime they wanted, without regard to the irrigation days. Kuia had water rights on the Kooka’s irrigation day, and likewise, Haleu on Puupapai’s irrigation day.

The entirety of Kauaula Stream could be fed into these ʻauwai, on the day or night set aside for the benefit of the land when it is there day or night for irrigation, as in the chart shown above. The amount of water fed into the ʻauwai is not per the desire of the plaintiff.

The mauka loʻi kalo are to be filled until their banks, then the head of the ʻauwai would be shut, with the remaining water in the ʻauwai flowing into the loʻi that was previously filled. That water is not to be made to fill the loʻi to be filled next. When these mauka loʻi are filled with water, and the ʻauwai is shut, then the flow of the water in the riverbed is to be continued, and the land of the name one below has the remainder of the day.

The agreement between the defendants to consolidate their water rights and to use it equally among the group, was allowed, but only if no other party is harmed.

The costs will be divided equally between the plaintiffs and the defendants.

W. A. Kinney for the plaintiff, and J. A. Magoon for the defendant.

(Kuokoa, 12/28/1895, p. 2)

Image: Pioneer Mill in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaiʻi. Bishop Museum Archives, SCN 25516

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

Image: Pioneer Mill in Lahaina, Maui, Hawaiʻi. Photo by Ray Jerome Baker, ca. 1915. Bishop Museum Archives, SP 220627

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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