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Research Ramblings – brick by brick and brick walls

28 Feb

Been busy with field research continuing at MaeMae Cemetery in Puunui. Nearly finished with photographing all the headstones and still have to transcribe to my spreadsheet. Then to compare to the items found in digital archives of other known burials to the site. Still need to map the stones and reach out to Kaumakapili Church to see what records and information they might have as well as sharing my research with them.

I’m also spending much time in Facebook Groups – like Helu Papa Kūʻauhau and also the Native Hawaiian Genealogy Society (NHGSoc) page. Another useful resource has been the group Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy. The camaraderie of the groups is infectious and there are many ‘ohana connections.

Spent some time learning more of my North Carolina roots – and learned that some of my ancestors and family were brick makers and instrumental in building and supplying the brick for buildings like the Mills River Chapel Methodist church. The Chapel is one of a few antebellum churches in Henderson County and the only one used for worship since its construction. The King family farm passed this craft down through generations. Building more family history – brick by brick.

Looking forward to the Akana ‘Ohana reunion coming up in mid-July and will be returning to Hilo where my Great-Great-Grandparents Wong Sing Akana and Kaili Kaapuiki made their home. My Great-Grandmother Ami Akana Lee was the eldest child. It will be exciting to meet many distant cousins in person for the first time after months of corresponding online.

Finally a brick wall has been busted — and I’ll post a more detailed article about this find. In September, I discovered that Virginia K. Ayres – my husband’s great-grandmother – had a blood connection to the name KAMA. It turns out her birth father was known as Kama. Well I ran the search again on Chronicling America and a new article came up this time “Missing Girl has been found” … with his first name and the brother’s first name. Very exciting and now some concrete material to continue the search to find her blood kin and perhaps more of her story.

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Our Paniolo Pete

19 Nov

With great honor, we remember Papa Pete a 2011 inductee today into the Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council Paniolo Hall of Fame at ceremonies to be held at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel.

Peter Pa’akahi Kama, Sr. was born on Maui on New Year’s Eve, 1919. He married his sweetheart, Virginia Kaiponohea Moss on May 7, 1949, at Kawaiahao Church in Honolulu. They had four children, Deborah, Kathleen, Peter, Jr., and Gary.

His mother Carrie Lupaliilii Kenui was an entertainer and lived in Honolulu on/near Kalia Rd. with her Uncle Willy. Peter was fathered by an older man, a Korean merchant Kim Sun.  Carrie returned home to Waihe’e Valley in Maui to give birth.  Her father Kaauamonui Kenui  (he was born Kenui Kaauamonui but later took his first name as his surname) and mother Mary Poni Kapela Hookano were living in the valley at that time.

In January 1927, Peter was adopted by Carrie’s neighbors who were childless – Freddie Kaiminaauao Kama  married to Mary Kahawaiolaa – and took on the surname KAMA.  According to Peter’s first cousin Anna Kahana, his adoptive mother was also known as “Makaole”; she was a lei seller and grew gardenias in her yard in Kalihi Uka.

Pete was one of those lucky people whose profession was also his lifelong passion. He left high school early, eager to pursue his dreams of an exciting and rewarding life working with horses, livestock, and good men. His first job was as cattle tender on a barge sailing between the Big Island and Honolulu. He moved on to become a ranch hand at Dillingham and Mokule‘ia ranches and others. He began working with Kahua Ranch in 1953, where he happily spent the rest of his career.

He was a frequent competitor in rodeos through the years, and kept cows and horses in the pasture behind his Waimea North Shore home. As founding members, he and his best friend Alex Napier were pioneers of the 4H program in Hawai`i. Pete was also an extremely skilled leather craftsman who enjoyed whiling away spare hours creating beautiful belts and custom saddles.

Some of the leather handiwork of Peter Kama, Sr.

A gentle soul, Pete dearly loved his family and friends and he loved a good time, too. Working together at Kahua Ranch, Pete and Alex Napier and their families became inseparable. Bobby Napier even calls Pete his “second father.” Friends for life, Pete and Alex loved sharing a few drinks and pupu with the boys after a hard day’s work, and as a result were no doubt responsible for a few gray hairs on the heads of their beloved Kaipo and Clara.

The holidays were Pete’s favorite time of the year. His birthday and New Year’s Eve celebration were always very special events, eagerly anticipated by family, friends, and North Shore neighbors. He loved fireworks, and made sure that he had more than anyone else on the North Shore! In true Hawaiian style, during the holidays he was famous for organizing the whole family in making a huge batch of laulau so that everyone who stopped by to visit had some to take home with them. He loved helping his friends with their own parties, too, often bringing a round or quarter to “huli” for them.

A great family man with a giant heart, Pete led by example and with a quiet authority that brought respect from all who knew him. None of his children can recall him ever raising his voice. He didn’t need to. Peter Kama, Sr. passed away on April 24, 1985.

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