- Yesterday, I emailed with the Star-Advertiser attempting to put an article in the paper about Auntie Pinau. I received an email back offering a little encouragement. I'll know more in a few days. We'll see how it pans out. This is what I sent the Star-Advertiser:
I'm not sure that you are the right person to email with on this subject. It involves my research of a mysterious missing Hawaiian historical figure named Auntie Pinau Kalaukalani. I'm a researcher/biographer of Don Blanding, The Vagabond Poet. He mentions Auntie Pinau as being instrumental in teaching him about Hawaii, Hawaiian culture and language. This would have been around 1916-1917. It's a long time ago I know. Her name surfaces again with the 1930's big band leader, Harry Owens. In Owen's biography (Sweet Leilani) he mentions her as guiding him into the creation of written music from past Hawaiian songs/chants that were, until then, passed down orally. She sang 10 songs for Owen's and he created some of his big band Hawaiian arrangements from what he heard her sing. This would have been in 1934. Owens mentions that she was 80 Hawaiian summers old at that time. Don Blanding wrote a poem for his 1935 book, Memory Room, as he learned she had passed on. In Owen's biography he mentions her again as being alive in 1946 or 1947. She would have been in her mid nineties in '46/47. So, there appears to be some confusion as to the date of her death. If she was 80 years old in 1934, her birth year would be 1854.
The problem is, the University of Hawaii assisted me in some of this research and could find no reference to her in the archives nor could they find an obituary with the name, Auntie Pinau Kalaukalani. I suspect that Auntie Pinau is not her real name but no one knows that to be true or not true. In 1925 an Hawaiian painter of some fame, D. Howard Hitchcock, painted a portrait of her. I have an internet copy of the portrait and so know what she looked like and that she evidently was a real person of some stature. The biography of Owens states that she was the caretaker of Aikune the Kahuna who was her uncle. He was reportedly the last of the Polynesian royalty. This was related in Owen's biography.
I have a bit more information I'm writing up and wanted to request consideration of an article about her. I believe there are relatives or other history buffs in Honolulu/Maui that would recognize the photo of the portrait and the scant information I have of her. I thought it might make for an interesting Star-Advertiser historical piece and assist in re-discovering this mysterious Hawaiian woman and her possible contributions of that era. I believe the Univ. of Hawaii would support such an article.
I'd appreciate any assistance as my research has dead ended at this point. If you are able to write an article I would share all I have to assist you. If you are unable to assist, is there someone else you could refer me to? I live in California and hands on research is a bit difficult. Thank you for anything you might be able to do. tj