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New Caledonia, and more on Hoʻoulu Lāhui

Cover Image: Masthead of Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, April 19, 1879.

Aloha Nūhou Monday!

Dear Reader,

This week’s post honors New Caledonia which was the 8th nation to host and is scheduled to be the 14th nation to host the Festival of Pacific Arts & Culture.

Over the past few months, we have honored each of the previous FestPAC hosts with posts featuring those island nations and their connections to Hawaiʻi’s own history.

The Festival of Pacific Arts & Culture is the world’s largest celebration of Indigenous Pacific Islanders, bringing together artists, cultural practitioners, scholars, and officials from member nations of the Pacific Community (SPC). This traveling festival is held every four years and was first launched by the South Pacific Commission in 1972 to halt the erosion of traditional practices through ongoing cultural exchange.

Witnessing an alarming collapse of the native Hawaiian population, the kings of Hawaiʻi, from Kamehameha III Kauikeaouli to Kalākaua, undertook state-sponsored efforts to supplement the Hawaiian people with “cognate races” of “kindred stock.” In an 1855 speech to the legislature, Kamehameha IV Alexander Liholiho states, “A subject of deeper importance… is that of the decrease of our population. It is a subject, in comparison with which all others sink into insignificance.”1 To remedy this, His Majesty entertains the following consideration: “[perhaps] a class of persons more nearly assimilated with the Hawaiian race, could… be induced to settle on our shores. It does not seem improbable that a portion of the inhabitants of other Polynesian groups might be disposed to come here, were suitable efforts made to lead them to such a step. In a few days they would speak our language with ease; they would be acclimated almost before they left the ships that conveyed them hither; and they might bring with them their wives, whose fecundity is said to be much greater than that of Hawaiian females. Such immigrants, besides supplying the present demand for labor, would pave the way for a future population of native-born Hawaiians, between whom, and those of aboriginal parents, no distinguishable difference would exist.”2

Throughout the mid- to late-nineteenth century, several state-sanctioned expeditions were made to island groups within Oceania, with the intention of encouraging new settlers to Hawaiʻi. Referred to as “Kanaka” or “South Sea Islanders” at the time, these would-be Hawaiians came from islands across the Pacific—the Kanak people of New Caledonia were among those considered of a kindred race. In 1879, under the reign of Kalākaua, 90 Kanaks were successfully recruited by Captain George E. Gresley Jackson of the Stormbird3 to immigrate to Hawaiʻi.

1From the April 7, 1855 speech of King Kamehameha IV opening the Legislature.


3The name of this ship regularly appears as Storm Bird, Storm-Bird, as well as Stormbird.

Image: Noumea, New Caledonia. Photo by H. Dupry, ca. 1890s. Bishop Museum Archives. SP 222915

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

Image: “Nuhou Kuloko.” Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, April 19, 1879, p. 3


The Storm Bird — In a letter from New Caledonia, we have been informed of the ship’s impending return to Hawaiʻi with 90 laborers.

As we begin this 13th Festival of Pacific Arts & Culture, we acknowledge the absence of our cousins from New Caledonia. We at He Aupuni Palapala offer aloha and support to the Kanaks as they defend their right to self-determination.

Image: Men of New Caledonia. Bishop Museum Archives. SP 222914

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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