Mary Kawena Pukui

Mary Abigail Kawenaʻulaokalaniahiʻiakaikapoliopelekawahineʻaihonuaināleilehuaapele[1] Wiggin Pukui[2][3][4] (20 April 1895 – 21 May 1986), known as Kawena,[5] was a Hawaiian scholar, dancer, composer, and educator.

Mary Kawena Pukui
Background information
Birth nameMary Abigail Pukui
Born(1895-04-20)20 April 1895
Kaʻū, Island of Hawaiʻi, Republic of Hawaii
Died21 May 1986(1986-05-21) (aged 91)
Occupation(s)Scholar, dancer, composer, educator


She was born in the Kaʻū district of the Island of Hawaiʻi, to Mary Paʻahana Kanakaʻole (a native Hawaiian woman) and Henry Nathaniel Wiggin (originally from Massachusetts). In the traditional custom of hānai, she was initially reared by her mother's parents. Her grandmother Naliipoʻaimoku, a traditional dancer in the court of Queen Emma, taught her chants and stories, while her grandfather Keli'ikanaka'ole-o-Haililani (k) was a healer and kahuna pale keiki (obstetrician) who used lomilomi massage, laʻau lapaʻau (herbal medicine), hoʻoponopono (forgiveness), and pule (prayer). Her great grandmother Keliʻipaʻahana was a kahuna pule (priestess) in the Pele line. Keli'iPa'ahana's parents were the High Chief KU or Kauhi and High Chiefess Na'ai Hunali'i (The Hidden chief). Keli'iPa'ahana was interned in Halema'uma'u in 1869 in the Ka'u district. She married the High Chief Keli'iKanaka'ole (k) the son High Chief Kaelele and Princess Kekelaokalani. Family is known to inherit the sacred Ali'i Moe Kapu (the prostrating Taboo). Upon the death of her grandmother Nali'i Poai moku she returned to live with her parents and spoke both Hawaiian and English.[6]

She was educated in the Hawaiian Mission Academy, and taught Hawaiiana at Punahou School. Pukui was fluent in the Hawaiian language, and from the age of 15 collected and translated folk tales, proverbs and sayings. She worked at the Bernice P. Bishop Museum from 1938–1961 as an ethnological assistant and translator. She also taught Hawaiian to several scholars and served as informant for numerous anthropologists. She published more than 50 scholarly works. She is the co-author of the definitive Hawaiian-English Dictionary (1957, revised 1986), Place Names of Hawaii (1974), and The Echo of Our Song (1974), a translation of old chants and songs. Her book, ʻŌlelo Noʻeau, contains nearly 3,000 examples of Hawaiian proverbs and poetical sayings, translated and annotated. The two-volume set Nānā i ke Kumu, Look to the Source, is an invaluable resource on Hawaiian customs and traditions. She was a chanter and hula expert, and wrote lyrics and music to more than 150 Hawaiian songs.

In addition to her published works, Pukui's knowledge was also preserved in her notes, oral histories, hundreds of audiotape recordings from the 1950s and 1960s, and a few film clips, all collected in the Bishop Museum. She is often credited with making the Hawaiian Renaissance of the 1970s possible.[7]

She was named a "Living Treasure of Hawai'i" by the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaiʻi in 1977. In 1995 she was inducted into the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame.[8] In March 2017, Hawaiʻi Magazine ranked her among a list of the most influential women in Hawaiian history.[9]

Bibliography (selected)

In order of first publication:

  • 1933: Hawaiian Folk Tales. Third series
  • 1934: Outline of Hawaiian Physical Therapeutics; with Handy and Livermore
  • 1943: Introduction to the Hawaiian Language; with Henry P. Judd and John F. G. Stokes
  • 1957: Hawaiian-English Dictionary; with Elbert (1957, rev. and enl. 1986)
  • Pukui, Mary Kawena; Elbert, Samuel H; Mookini, Esther T. (1984) [1966 (suppl. to the 3d. ed. of the Hawaiian-English dictionary)]. Place Names of Hawaii (Rev. and enl. ed.). Honolulu, HI: University Press of Hawaii. ISBN 978-0-8248-0524-1. OCLC 740956610.
»Partial preview of Place Names of Hawaii. at WorldCat. OCLC 740956610.CS1 maint: others (link)
  • 1972: Nānā i ke Kumu, Look to the Source, Vols. 1 and 2; with Haertig and Lee
  • 1972: Native Planters in Old Hawaii: Their Life, Lore, and Environment; with Edward Smith Craighill Handy; Elizabeth Green Handy. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press; Revised edition (1991). ISBN 0-910240-11-6.
  • Elbert, Samuel H; Pūkui, Mary Kawena (2001) [1979]. Hawaiian Grammar. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-2489-1. OCLC 248939168.
»eBook available: Hawaiian Grammar at Google Books
  • 1974: Place Names of Hawaii; with Elbert and Mookini
  • 1974: Echo of our Song
  • 1980: Hula: Historical Perspectives; with Dorothy B. Barère and Marion Kelly
  • 1983: ‘Ōlelo No‘eau: Hawaiian proverbs & poetical sayings Honolulu, Hawai'i: Bishop Museum Press ISBN 0-910240-92-2
    • Nā Wahine: Hawaiian proverbs and inspirational quotes celebrating women in Hawai'i. Honolulu: Mutual, 2002 ISBN 1-56647-596-1
    • Hula: Hawaiian proverbs and inspirational quotes celebrating hula in Hawai'i Honolulu: Mutual, 2003 ISBN 1-56647-638-0
  • Pukui, Mary Kawena; Elbert, Samuel H; Mookini, Esther T. (1989). Pocket Place Names of Hawai'i. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-1187-7. OCLC 18497487.
  • Pukui, Mary Kawena; Elbert, Samuel H; Mookini, Esther T.; Nishizawa, Yū (1990). Hawaigo-Nihongo jiten ハワイ 語-日本語辞典 [Hawaiian-Japanese dictionary]. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 9784805106150. OCLC 23039378.
  • Pukui, Mary Kawena; Elbert, Samuel H; Mookini, Esther T.; Nishizawa, Yu Mapuana (1992). New Pocket Hawaiian Dictionary with a Concise Grammars and Given Names in Hawaiian. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-1392-5. OCLC 24064961.
»Partial preview of New Pocket Hawaiian Dictionary with a Concise Grammars and Given Names in Hawaiian. at WorldCat. OCLC 24064961.CS1 maint: others (link)
  • 1994: The Water of Kāne; and other legends of the Hawaiian Islands; retold by Caroline Curtis; rev. ed. Honolulu, Hawaiʻi: Kamehameha Schools Press ISBN 0-87336-020-6
  • 1995: Handy Hawai‘ian Dictionary; with Judd and Stokes ISBN 1-56647-112-5
  • 1996: Hawai‘i Island Legends: Pikoi, Pele and others; compiler; retold by Caroline Curtis
  • The Polynesian Family System in Ka'u, Hawaii; with Handy, Edward Smith Craighill *Elbert, Samuel H; Pūkui, Mary Kawena (1999) [1957]. Hawaiian Dictionary : Hawaiian-English ; English-Hawaiian (10th ed.). Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-0703-0. OCLC 247864894.


  1. Often written in hyphenated form as Kawena-ʻula-o-ka-lani-a-Hiʻiaka-i-ka-poli-o-Pele-ka-wahine-ʻai-honua Na-lei-lehua-a-Pele, which translates as "The rosy glow in the sky made by Hiʻiaka in the bosom of Pele, the earth-consuming woman." Dye 1998, pp. 109–110
  2. Dye, Bob (1998). Hawaiʻi Chronicles Two. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. pp. 109–110. ISBN 978-0-8248-1984-2. OCLC 249244077.
  3. Handy, Edward Smith Craighill; Pukui, Mary Kawena (1950). The Polynesian Family System in Ka-'u, Hawaii. C. E. Tuttle Company. p. xvii. ISBN 978-0-8048-1031-9.
  4. Hawaiian spelling: Pūkuʻi; her The Water of Kāne, 1994: t.p. (Mary Kawena Pūkuʻi) p. 4 of cover
  5. Chad Blair (September–October 2007). "Kawena's Legacy". Hana Hou! Vol. 10, No. 4.
  6. Gordon, Mike (July 2, 2006). "Mary Kawena Pukui". The Honolulu Advertiser. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
  7. Burl Burlingame (November 1, 1999). "Author aided revival of Hawaiian tongue". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Retrieved 2010-03-09.
  8. "1995 Hall of Fame Honoree: Mary Kawena Pukuʻi". Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame. 1995. Retrieved 2009-10-20.
  9. Dekneef, Matthew (March 8, 2017). "15 extraordinary Hawaii women who inspire us all. We can all learn something from these historic figures". Hawaiʻi Magazine. Honolulu. Archived from the original on March 8, 2017. Retrieved May 7, 2017.

Further reading

This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.