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Serial Kaʻao Published as Books

Cover Image: Masthead of Ka Nupepa Kuokoa published on April 11, 1863.

Aloha Nūhou Monday!

The Hawaiian newspapers ran lengthy kaʻao, both native and foreign, as serial columns. These entertaining stories would attract readers to subscribing to the papers so that they could be amongst the first to find out what the latest installment of the kaʻao would reveal.

kaʻao. nvt. Legend, tale, novel, romance, usually fanciful; fiction; tell a fanciful tale. hoʻo.kaʻao. To tell tales; story telling. (PCP t(a,e)kao.)1

The Kaʻao of Lāʻieikawai by S. N. Haleole ran in Ka Nupepa Kuokoa from November 29, 1862 to April 4, 1863. It was the first “book-length” literary work by a Hawaiian published in book form. The story was translated into English by Martha Warren Beckwith in 1918 under the title, “The Hawaiian Romance of Laieikawai.”

The following is the advertisement announcing that the publication was ready for purchase.

Image: “Buke Hawaii Hou!” Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, April 11, 1863, p. 3.


E. Pluribus Unum.



Precious One of Paliuli

The Woman of the Twilight

This famous story was published as a book, and it was bound, and it is ready for sale at

The Book Shop

Of the Publisher, Here in Honolulu.

The Cost

$1 for a single Book.

Everyone may receive one who lives on

Maui, Hawaiʻi and Kauaʻi,

If they send the cost of this book in a letter to the Printer, they will receive the book on the returning ship.


Printer of the Kuokoa.

(Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, 9/5/1863, p. 3)

1From Pukui and Elbert, Hawaiian Dictionary, University of Hawaii Press, 1986.

Image: Opening column of the story, “Ka Moolelo o Laieikawai,” Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, November 29, 1862, p. 1.

Image: Title page of Ke Kaao o Laieikawai: Ka Hiwahiwa o Paliuli, Kawahineokaliula. Written from among the Old Moolelo of Hawaii nei by S. N. Haleole. Honolulu, Oahu: Henry M. Whitney, the publisher of the Kuokoa, 1863. Bishop Museum Archives. SP 210543.

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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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