From Our Files: Moments from Hawai‘i’s Past—October Edition
A look back at Honolulu from October 1930 to 1995. Stories taken from the archives of Paradise of the Pacific and HONOLULU Magazine.
In 1888, King Kalākaua issued a royal charter, commissioning a magazine. Then titled Paradise of the Pacific, this publication became HONOLULU Magazine, making it the oldest magazine west of the Mississippi.
Emma M.B. Nakuina details shark fishing in ancient Hawai‘i. “The manō-kihikihi (hammer-headed shark) and the lalakea (white fin) are considered edible, as the natives insist that these never eat human beings,” she writes. Native Hawaiians would bake the sharks’ livers and flesh underground in ti leaves, then throw the meat from canoes many miles offshore to attract niuhi, “a very large shark and the fiercest of all.” After it became “not only satiated but also stupefied with ‘awa,” the Hawaiians would tow it back to shore. “Every part of its bones and skin was supposed to confer unflinching bravery on the possessor. … The one who slipped the noose over the niuhi’s head would also … be always victorious.”
A girl picks night-blooming cereus.
When Keiki, a porpoise at Sea Life Park, accidentally swallows a plastic float, park director Taylor Pryor has to retrieve it manually, since porpoises breathe “only consciously and by intention. Under anesthesia they may not breathe at all,” Paradise writes, making an operation too risky. Photographer Paul Seaman documents the process, from Keiki being strapped down with car seatbelts, to Pryor shoulder-deep in Keiki’s mouth, to the successful removal of the float and release of the porpoise back into his tank. “Floats will be made larger.”
Mass murderer Charles Ng, who tortured, raped and killed between 11 and 25 victims in California in the mid-’80s, spent about a year and a half in Hawai‘i as a Marine three years prior to his arrest. “Intensely interested in weapons and military tactics, Ng grew dissatisfied with the Marines, whom he considered ‘incompetent,’” HONOLULU writes, which inspired him to lead a massive weapons heist from the Kāne‘ohe Marine Corps Air Station’s armory. “My main feeling is just to prove that I can do something like that, that nobody did before,” Ng told the court during his trial. He pleaded guilty and was dishonorably discharged from the Marines, but only served two years of jail time. After his release from the Fort Leavenworth military prison in Kansas, Ng joined up with his old friend Leonard Lake and together they carried out the murders.
Learn more about the evolution of covers in HONOLULU Magazine and Paradise of the Pacific: 125 Years of Covers, available at shop.honolulumagazine.com.
A notoriously spooky place, Morgan’s Corner was also the setting for four or five weddings a month in 1995.
READ MORE STORIES BY KATRINA VALCOURT