Fresh look at history

Kauai author Chris Cook is unveiling his fresh non-fiction account of the life of Opukahaia, the Native Hawaiian scholar whose life and death (1787-1818) sent Americanmissionaries to Hawaii.

New England sailors anglicized the youth’s name to Henry Obookiah.

“The Providential Life & Heritage of Henry Obookiah” published by Paa Studios of Waimea, Kauai is being released today.

To celebrate the book, the Friends of Lihue Library is hosting a book talk by Cook at the Lihue Public Library at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. After a short presentation on hisresearch, Cook will be available to answer questions and to sign copies of his new book.

The Friends of the Lihue Library will make the book available for purchase at the program. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the library.

Opukahaia served as an apprentice kahuna at Kealakekua until 1808 when he hired on as a sailor with Cpt. Caleb Brintnall of New Haven. Henry rose from sailor to scholar toChristian celebrity. Obookiah died of typhus fever in Cornwall, Connecticut shortly before he was to co-lead a mission to Hawaii sponsored by the American Board ofCommissioners of Foreign Missions.

Cook’s new history expands on the slim memoirs of Henry Obookiah and unveils new accounts and details tied to the life and impacts of Obookiah. Included are Obookiah’sinfluences on Kauai historical figures Kaumualii, Humehume, and Samuel and Mercy Whitney, who founded the first mission station at Waimea in 1820.

Cook is the author of the best-selling Kauai Movie Book and former editor of The Garden Island newspaper.

The author is also appearing at the The Bookstore in Hanapepe during Art Night from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday evening, May 22. And at Hui O Laka’s Banana Poka Festival at theKanaloahuluhulu Meadow near the Kokee Museum on Sunday, May 24 at 12:30 pm.

Go to for more information on The Providential Life & Heritage of Henry Obookiah.


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