Na Naia Ma Kahana / The Dolphins at Kahana

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Na Naia Ma Kahana / The Dolphins at Kahana

Here is something surprising that took place here in Kahana on Friday, the 14th of December, 1837.  I went to Ka‘a‘awa at 10 o‘clock. I stayed there until late afternoon, around 3 o‘clock. I was returning from Ka‘a‘awa until I reached Makaua.  The men, women and children weren’t there.  I asked, “Only a few old ladies are home? Where are all of your people?”  “They have all gone down to look at the fish.”  I inquired further, “What kind of fish?”  They responded, “Dolphins.”  Then my feet sped down to Pu‘uomahia where I watched the canoes, and all the people, grabbing at the dolphins in the ocean.  Men, women and children were grabbing the dolphins; a strong man would get 12 dolphins, a weaker man, 8 dolphins, a very weak man, 4 dolphins, a strong woman, 6 dolphins, a weaker woman, 3 dolphins, and a very weak woman, 1 dolphin, a strong child, 4 dolphins, a weaker child, 2 dolphins, and a very weak child, 1 dolphin.

Here is where they were grabbed: the snout, the dorsal fin, and the pectoral fins, those are the places where those very large fishes were grasped. Some were 7 feet long, some 6 feet in length, and up to 3 feet around at the widest point.  Here is the count of these dolphins, there were 206 that were killed.  The people ate the meat.  Another benefit of these fish is oil.  Pots, jars, and bamboo containers were filled, these are the lamps that we are currently burning.  The people chopped the dolphins up until they were exhausted. Dogs came and ate, and pigs came and ate.  The sea, the mouths of the 3 streams and the nearby open areas were filled with the stench.  That is my description for everyone.

By me, NAILI  


(click image for original Hawaiian text)

Ke Kumu Hawaii, March 28, 1838
, Book: 3, Number: 22, Page: 87