Niʻihau Place Names

Hardback: $90.00
ISBN-13: 9780824895198
Published: October 2023
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Paperback: $40.00
ISBN-13: 9780824895778
Published: October 2023
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Additional Information

462 pages | 1 b&w illustration
  • About the Book
  • The story of Ni‘ihau has been told many times by many people, but Ni‘ihau Place Names adds new information to the island’s history from a unique source: Hawaiian-language newspapers. From 1834 to 1948, approximately 125,000 pages of Native Hawaiian expression were printed in more than 100 different papers. In this book, John Clark has gathered and edited a large collection of invaluable articles that recorded daily life on Niʻihau, events and topics of interest, and the island’s place names. Additionally, Keao NeSmith, a Native Hawaiian of Kaua‘i and an applied linguist, translator, and researcher fluent in ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i, translated each passage into English. Most of these excerpts have not appeared in any other publication.

    Ni‘ihau is unique in the State of Hawai‘i because it is the only privately-owned island. In 1864, Kamehameha V, the monarch of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i,sold the island to the Sinclairs, a wealthy immigrant family looking to establisha ranching business. Descendants of the Sinclairs still own the island today. Manydiverse opinions about the sale of Niʻihau were published in newspapers across the Hawaiian Islands, and this book traces the development and aftershocks of this historic event.

    Ni‘ihau Place Names contains over thirty kanikau (dirges, poetic chants) written and published from 1845 to 1931 to honor deceased Niʻihau residents. These compositions of deep emotion are treasuries of language, history, genealogy, cultural knowledge, and especially place names. Anotherimportant contribution in this volume is the identification of ‘ōlelo noeau (proverbs and poetical sayings) withdemonstrations of their use in everyday conversation.

    The book is divided into two main sections.“Ni‘ihau Places Names” is an alphabetical list of prominent place names on the island, accompanied by relevant passages in Hawaiian and their English translations. The list also includes Lehua, the small island near the northwest tip of Ni‘ihau. “Ni‘ihau History” is an additional collection of articles that includes many lesser-known place names and elucidates other topics deemed worthy by reporters and contributors of the time. Following the main text, readers will find helpful indexes of general terms, place names, and personal names.

  • About the Author(s)
    • John R. K. Clark, Author

      John R. Kukeakalani Clark is a former lifeguard and a retired deputy fire chief of the Honolulu Fire Department. He is the author of eleven books about Hawai‘i’s beaches, surf breaks, and place names, including Hawaiian Surfing: Traditions from the Past, North Shore Place Names: Kahuku to Ka‘ena, and Kalaupapa Place Names: Waikolu to Nihoa.
    • Keao NeSmith, Translator

      Keao NeSmith, PhD, is an applied linguist, researcher, and educator who is fluent in Hawaiian, having been taught the language by his grandmother and by native speakers of Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau.