In 1966, John Hanohano Pa of Wainiha, Kauai — born in Kalalau Valley in 1888 — reminisced about his boyhood.
“When I was born, there were about 50 Hawaiian families living in Kalalau. We lived in shacks made of pili grass, and if a storm was coming, we would strengthen them with hau wood.
“Everyone grew taro and fished for food. In the summer, we would travel out to Hanalei, Niihau or Waimea and trade the extra taro for other food and for clothing. We also grew enough ti for the older people to make okolehao for holidays, and sometimes they would make awa.
“In the valley we would just wear malos, but when we went out, we would put on the ahina (blue denim) from the store. We would usually travel out of the valley by boat in the summers. If we went during the rest of the year, we would take the 11-mile trail along the face of the cliffs.
“We spoke only Hawaiian in Kalalau, and I didn’t learn English until I was around 10. One of the wahines taught school in the valley and I went to a haole school when we moved out.
“Some time in the early 1900s, people started leaving the valley. I guess the old people died and the young people weren’t interested in living the old way. Our family was the last to leave. My mother had been born there, as I was in 1888. My father, who was named only Pa, was born in Kaanapali, on Maui.”
At Wainiha, Pa planted taro, fished and, as a young man, occasionally worked for rancher and sugar planter William Hyde Rice.
Later, he also became a Kauai police officer and led many fishing expeditions along the Na Pali Coast.
His beach house was located across from Nakasuji Store — later named Wainiha General Store.
When he died in 1971, he’d outlived two wives — May Pa and Julia Crowell Pa — and had 10 children, 44 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.