E.S. Craighill Handy and Elizabeth Green Handy

In 1972, the eminent anthropologist, E.S. Craighill Handy and his wife Elizabeth, with the noted authority on Hawaiian language and culture, Mary Kawena Pukui, published the pioneering ethnographic study of cultivation practices, beliefs, and rituals: Native Planters in Old Hawaii - Their Life, Lore & Environment. Native Planters explores “the lives of common folk before the advent of Westerners by examining the Hawaiians’ relationship to the land.” It is an extension of an earlier work, The Polynesian Family System in Ka-’u, Hawaii, through which¬† “Handy, Handy, and Pukui profoundly influenced the course of Hawaiian anthropology by focusing on the daily lives of the people – specifically, the practices and traditions of family life.”

In Native Planters in Old Hawaii, Part Five–Areas of Habitation, Handy and Handy explore The Backlanders (Kua’aina) (pp. 397-400) and Na Kiki-a-’Ola: The Menehune Ditch” (pp. 403-405). In this section they tell the story of King ‘Ola and how he “summoned the Menehune to bring the water from the Waimea River down to their taro patches in the Waimea flats, as none of their flumes had lasted.” (p. 405).

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