Hawaiian healer Margaret Hattie Kuapahi Kupihea

  • Contributed photo

Mrs. Margaret Hattie Kuapahi Kupihea (1903-1973) of Kapaa, Kauai, practiced the art of Hawaiian healing throughout her life from the time she was 7 years old — and innumerable people attributed authentic cures to her.

Mrs. Kupihea had no conventional medical training; instead, she said that her ability to heal all sorts of human illnesses was a God-given power that had been in her Hawaiian family for centuries and had been passed on to her through her great- grandfather.

She would heal by touch and with herbs from her garden, while chanting age-old prayers in the Hawaiian language.

And, she would also entertain visitors with legends of old Hawaii and with stories like “Kamealii — the King of the Fish.”

One day she found a stone on the beach near her house — a strange, beautiful, three-cornered stone that glowed with brilliant rainbow colors — and when she asked the stone its name, the stone replied, “Kamealii — the King of the Fish.”

And, from that day forward, she became a renowned fisherwoman.

“I kept the stone under glass in a box beside my bed,” she said.

“Then a nephew of mine died. He was only a child. Some in the family blamed the death on my stone, so my husband asked the stone: ‘Stone, did you do this?’”

“The stone jumped up and down in the box bumping its head on the glass top, and it cried ‘No!’ like a pigeon cooing.”

“Soon a man came to our house who claimed he was a kahuna from Oahu who had instructions to take the stone away with him.”

Reluctantly, she gave the stone to the man — but with a warning: “The stone will kill you if you are lying.”

“I admit the truth; it was a curse,” she said.

“The man sold the stone to Bishop Museum for $75. He took the money, got drunk and died. So help me God, that is what happened.”

Margaret Kupihea left behind 92 descendants when she passed away in 1973.


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