No Na Mea Hana E Pono Ai O Hawaii Nei / Concerning The Necessary Tools Of Hawaiʻi

You are here

No Na Mea Hana E Pono Ai O Hawaii Nei / Concerning The Necessary Tools Of Hawaiʻi

Here are the necessary tools of Hawai‘i in the olden days. When Captain Cooke had not yet arrived, called Lono here in Hawai‘i, before that time, they lived with the supplies that they searched for. Here are the things that they searched for in the past; the things necessary for living. The rock, that was the adze that was searched for in the past. It was the adze to cut down the canoe, large plants, wood for houses, statues, and small plants. It was their adze in the olden days. Here is another thing that they looked for in the past. Human bone was their fishhook, and the shell of the ‘Ea [Hawksbill turtle] was another of their fishhooks. It was what caught their fish. The implement used to grind the fishhook was the lava rock; it was their sharpener.

Their mirror was indeed a rock. It was ground until smooth and when women would peer inside, insert water or lick with the tongue, and look into it, there was a small reflection inside the rock when you peer in.

The digging sticks of the olden times were ule [ʻūlei], alahe‘e, māmane, uhiuhi, and kauila woods. These were the digging sticks of the people of Hawai‘i in the olden days.

The sail of their canoe in the olden days was a large, branching sail below and a smaller above. That sail was called a .

Their scissor was a shark tooth. It was the implement used to cut the hair of their heads. Their knife was bamboo. It was their instrument to cut fish, pig, and dog.

Their sewing needle was of fish bone, dog bone, bird bone and also human bones. That was their needle in the olden days.

Their war weapons were spears, rocks, spikes, fighting clubs, and slings. These were the weapons of the old times.  

Here is an amazing thing that they did. When a large piece of timber came ashore from the ocean, and the Chief heard that wood had landed, then the Chief went with the experts. Offerings were made and sacrificed to the God and it was then free of taboo. And then they searched for iron within this log. Nails and metal pieces would be found and then saved to be used as adzes. If the chief heard someone had an iron adze, he would demand it and it would become property of the chief. These are the tools of these lands in that time, and the things necessary for the people of old.

Here are the things that were previously found here in Hawai‘i, when Captain Cooke arrived in Hawai‘i. The modern adze was highly desired by the people in that time. So people traded five pigs for one nail, because of their great desire for the adze. And after...


Here are the things the maka‘āinana [commoners] already had at that time. They had sharp adzes, carving adzes, knives, scissors, mirrors, garlands, clothes, and handkerchiefs. These are the things they already had. Therefore, they have deserted the old things and have searched for the modern tools foreigners had brought here to Hawai‘i. So there were many great things recently acquired here in these lands. When Kamehameha died, the kingdom passed into the possession of Liholiho...



(click image for original Hawaiian text)

Ka Lama Hawaiʻi, April 4, 1834
, Book: 1, Number: 8, Page: 4