Atooi, The Newly Emergent Polynesian Kingdom

Originally Posted on May 31, 2013
All photos by frugalchariot

I  recently ran across and re-read an old book that I had purchased a few decades back whilst visiting the Hawaiian Islands. It’s titled, “An Account of the Sandwich Islands; The Hawaiian Journal of John B. Whitman, 1813-1815.” In the Foreward, John Dominis Holt writes,

These “notes” of an unknown early visitor to Hawaii who we know as John B. Whitman are unique and certainly they contain observations both incisive and authentic which create an unmistakable atmosphere of old Hawaii perhaps still to be found in some of the untouched places of these Islands. . . . If you can ignore Whitman’s irksome and fanatical views common to American Calvinists of the time, the “notes” or “Journal” . . . presents a unique view of Hawaii . . . a few years before the death of Kamehameha. (highlight mine)

What actually caught my eye as I reread the book were the place names cited by Whitman. He spoke of islands named “Owhyhee,” and “Mowee,” also “Woahu, Morokie and Attooi,” and he noted that on Woahu stood “the busy little village of Hanoruru.”  Whitman also noted that “Woahu is situated between Morokie and Attooi about thirty miles from the former and seventy miles from the latter.” He was, of course, using the phonetic spelling of the various islands (and place names) in the Hawaiian group. The American missionaries hadn’t yet arrived, and since the Polynesians had no alphabet and no written language, phonic spelling was the tool the westerners used on their maps and in their writings.

In later years, after the (American-Calvinist) missionaries who were assigned to the Hawaiian Islands had managed to construct the means of writing the local Polynesian lingua, the alphabet they collectively devised contained only thirteen letters: the five vowels, plus consonants h, k, l, m, n, p, and w, plus the “u‘ina”, where the embedded () indicates a glottal stop. After the alphabet was devised and assigned, Whitman’s Island and place names became (resp.) Hawai’i, Maui, Molokai, Kauai, and Honolulu; i.o.w., both the letters “T” and “K” became “K” only, and the letters “R” and “L” became “L” only. It was a matter of phonics, of trying to accommodate/insert the implicit (and variant) local pronunciation(s) into the English alphabet. So, in the Hawaiian corner of Polynesia, the word ‘Tahiti’ became ‘Kahiki’, and ‘Attooi’ (variously spelled, by others, as Atooi, or Atoui) became ‘Kauai’ (what happened to the ‘A’ on the front end, I have no clue).

Anyway, enough of that. Suffice to say that today’s island of Kauai was once known as Atooi, and was apparently considered to be a very sacred spot in the Hawaiian Islands as well as definitive of the northern apex of the so-called ‘Polynesian triangle’. Today, ‘Atooi’ is the name of a new and fresh Polynesian Kingdom. This Polynesian Kingdom of Atooi is a United Nations recognized indigenous sovereign nation that is headquartered on the Island we call Kauai, and led by a descendant of ancient royalty, the Ali’i Nui (king) Aleka Aipoalani who currently reigns over the Kingdom from on the west side of Kauai, which is one of the most sacred and royal areas of the Hawaiian islands. The PKOA [Polynesian Kingdom  of Atooi] is composed of peoples from diverse cultures whose relationships share the mission of ho’opono aina (to make right with the land).

I have to wonder: is this newly-emergent Polynesian Kingdom of Atooi possibly the forefront of that above-referenced unmistakable atmosphere of old Hawaii perhaps still to be found in some of the untouched places of these Islands ?? If so, I wanna go there! Again! Maybe stay this time!

Ah, well, ok then, and speaking of ‘untouched places’, following are a handful of photos, shot circa 1978 on my first visit to what has now become the Polynesian Kingdom of Atooi. There were still, way back then, some ‘untouched places’ on those islands . . . well, barely touched at least. But then, beauty remains forever embedded . . . in the beautiful — right? (see below!)

Hanakapiai, Atooi                                     Makapu'u, Woahu                                            Hanakapiai (Atooi)                                               Makapu’u (Woahu)


Owhyhee 4Hanalei Bay, Atooi                                   Sunset, Mowee

                                     Hanalei Bay (Atooi)                                     Ka’anapali Sunset (Mowee)


Owhyhee 9Windward Shores (Owhyhee)


Owhyhee 7Halawa Valley and North Shore (Morotai)


Owhyhee 8                          Kalalau Overlook (Atooi)                                                    Petroglyph (Mowee)


Owhyhee 6Tiki carvings at Pu’uhonua O Honaunau (City of Refuge), Kona (Owhyhee)


Owhyhee 5Kalihiwai Falls (Polynesian Kingdom of Atooi)


Owhyhee 3Waterfall in Waimea Canyon (Atooi)               The Painted Church at Kona (Owhyhee)


So there you have it, the northern tip of the Polynesian Kingdom of Atooi. As of today, it consists of:

Not a bad combo! And (just guessing), NO REPUBLICANS OR OTHER WINGNUTS ANYWHERE TO BE SEEN!!

Paradise, anyone?

Closing tidbit: Membership in the Kingdom of Atooi is open to anyone. We recognize the potential of all mankind.

Works for me!

And last but not least: Old map(s), but interesting:

Owhyhee Map

Owhyhee Atooi Map

About frugalchariot

How Frugal is the Chariot That bears the Human soul. (Emily Dickinson)
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