Samuel K. Peahu Sr. (1894-1975), one of Kauai’s very first tour drivers, was born in Waimea, Kauai, and was originally named Kamuela Kahinu Pokipala, but later settled on the first name Samuel and the surname Peahu, the name of his adopted mother.
Yet, whenever he was asked, “What’s your name?’” he would introduce himself without fail as “Kamuelakahinupokipalapeahu,” and after pausing for what he’d said to sink in, he would smile broadly and say — “Sam for short.”
Sam got his start in driving during the early 1900s by hauling goods and equipment in a two-mule team wagon for Waimea Stables, and around 1911, when Waimea Stables bought two Mitchell touring cars, Sam became a taxi driver for the company.
His career as a tour driver began in 1915, at a time when Kauai’s roads were typically either dusty or muddy and not one foot of its roadways had been paved.
Those unpaved roads sometimes got so mired that travelers even had to occasionally resort to horseback or horse-drawn carriages.
However, the situation improved considerably in 1920, when a paved roadway encircling Kauai from Haena to Mana was completed under the direction of county engineer Joseph Hughes Moragne.
Sam’s workday in the early years began at 2 a.m., when the Honolulu streamer arrived off Kalapaki Bay.
When the tourists reached the landing by longboat, he would introduce himself as Kamuelakahinupokipalapeahu, and with a smile on his face and with his trademark lauhala hat atop his head, he would sing for them with his ukulele, drape them with leis, and suggest an itinerary before driving them to the old Lihue Hotel on Rice Street, where he’d pick them up later for sightseeing tours.
For nearly half a century, Sam Peahu Sr. made thousands of tourists happy on his Kauai island tours, not merely by showing them the sights, but by also sharing a wealth of Hawaiian legends, stories, songs and jokes about the Garden Island.
He was survived by his wife Daisy, sons Samuel Jr. and Roland, and five daughters: Elizabeth Peahu, Lani Schumacher, Verdelle Souza, Daisy Stinson and Laola Rapozo.
Hank Soboleski has been a resident of Kauai since the 1960s. Hank’s love of the island and its history has inspired him, in conjunction with The Garden Island Newspaper, to share the island’s history weekly. The collection of these articles can be found here: https://bit.ly/2IfbxL9 and here https://bit.ly/2STw9gi Hank can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.