In 1902, Charles Gay (with the Sinclair, Robinson, Gay family of Niihau and Kaua‘i) and his native Hawaiian wife, Louisa Kala Pakohana Gay purchased one-third of the island of Lāna‘i. By 1906, they owned 99% of the island.
Photo, Simon Tajiri. August 24, 2016. (KPAC3_9051)
Photo, Kepā Maly. August 26, 2016. (KPAC3_9064_Aug_26_2016_LCHC)
The large ‘umeke was gifted to the Lāna‘i Culture & Heritage Center on August 24th, 2016, through the courtesy of Luella Holt Kurkjian, granddaughter of Charles and Louisa Kala Pakohana Gay.
One day Keli‘ihananui rode up from Lelehaka in Pālāwai to the Gay family home at Lālākoa. In typical fashion, his wife, Makaimoku was walking behind him. In front of him on the horse, he bore an ‘umeke (calabash made of kou wood), which he gifted to Louisa Kala Pakohana Gay. The ‘umeke was made with ancient ko‘i (stone axes and chisels), and is approximately 16.5 inches tall by 18 inches across, and was quite old at the time. It had been previously patched with “pewa” (butterfly shaped wooden inserts) and a piece of wood to fill in an area where formerly a branch had grown. The larger patch-work had been lost prior to 1900.
Photo, Kepā Maly. August 26, 2016. (KIP_871_Aug_26_2016_LCHC)
Shortly after taking up residency on Lāna‘i in November 1902, Mrs. Gay was taken to the region of Honopū, where Mrs. Awili Shaw and Mr. Moke Kane, retrieved two miniature wooden canoe hulls which had been lashed together as a double-hull canoe. The story of the canoe was that in antiquity, they had been the property of two sister-chiefesses, and that they were used as sport for canoe racing. The double hull canoe would be set off from the shore and allowed to sail to the horizon, and then canoes paddled by men would take off after
‘Umeke of Keli‘ihananui, made from kou (Cordia sp.) wood
(Kenneth Emory Photo Collection)
Canoe hulls on Lāna'i in early 1900s (Kenneth Emory Photo Collection)
them. The first canoe to reach the miniature canoe and return it to the chiefesses waiting on the shore, would be favored with gifts from the Makole sisters.
These rare canoes were gifted to the Lāna‘i Culture & Heritage Center on August 24th, 2016, through the courtesy of Luella Holt Kurkjian, granddaughter of Charles and Louisa Kala Pakohana Gay.