Online links to ‘Ōpūkaha‘ia – Henry Obookiah publications

Hawaiian-Language versions of Memoirs of Henry Obookiah

This Hawaiian-Language biography of ‘Ōpūkaha‘ia appeared in the Kuokoa nupepa (newspaper) from September, 1865 through March, 1866. The Rev. S. W. Papaula, pastor of the Kahikolu Church overlooking Kealakekua Bay wrote the translation of the Memoirs of Henry Obookiah – A Native of the Sandwich Islands, published in 1818, edited and written by Edwin Welles Dwight that year following ‘Ōpūkaha‘ia’s death in February, 1818.

Kūpuna responded to Rev. Papaula’s nupepa translation by offering new information about the life of  ‘Ōpūkaha‘ia. Henry’s birth year was revised to 1787 from “about 1792” as noted in the Memoirs. The Battle of Kaipalaoa (August 1796 at Hilo, Kamehameha’s last battle) was named as the conflict which resulted in the killing of his parents who had fled from the battle. ‘Ōpūkaha‘ia’s mother was named as Kamohoula, kin to Kamehameha.

Moolelo 1787

Excerpt from “Moolelo O Heneri Opukahaia” that gives his birthdate as 1787.

Rev. Papaula rewrote his Hawaiian-language version for a run of 2,000 copies of Ka Moolelo O Heneri Opukahaia. The slim book was printed by the American Tract Society in Nu Yoka (New York) and published in 1867 for readers in Hawai‘i.

Lua (traditional Hawaiian martial art) expert and Hawaiiana scholar Charles W. Kenn translated Moolelo O Heneri Opukahaia back into English. His translation ran in the Paradise of the Pacific magazine published in Honolulu in the wartime months of August 1942-January 1943. Kenn planned to write a biography of ‘Ōpūkaha‘ia, inspired while a student at the University of Hawai‘i in the 1920s; he never published the book.

 Memoirs of Henry Obookiah – A Native of Owhyee

The 1819 version of the Memoirs of Henry Obookiah – A Native of Owhyee is available at Unlike the original paper edition of this book sermons by Lyman Beecher and others tied to the death of Henry are not included in this downloadable version.


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