Ka Huli Ao

Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law focuses on education, research and scholarship, community outreach, and the preservation of invaluable historical, legal, and traditional and customary materials. With the goal of promoting Hawaiian culture, history, and law, Ka Huli Ao has undertaken an ambitious and wide-ranging program, which includes Punawaiola, Ka Huli Ao’s online digital archives. Punawaiola is dedicated to the collection and dissemination of digitized Hawaiian Kingdom historical and legal materials. The hope is to maximize public access to these important, yet difficult to find, resources. Punawaiola, which is translated as “spring water of life,” thematically represents how our past nourishes and sustains us today. The Hawai‘i Supreme Court held in McBryde v. Robinson, that our water resources belong to the people of Hawai‘i--similarly, we believe that Hawai‘i's history, as evidenced by its legal and government record, also belongs to the people and must be accessible to them.


Digitization Efforts

In collaboration with the Hawai‘i State Archives and LLMC Digital, we have amassed a collection of approximately two hundred thousand images images of historic documents ranging from the Kingdom of Hawai‘i's original Constitution to the journals of the proceedings of the House of Nobles. Since 2008, we have been working collaboratively with the State archives to digitize significant historical legal collections housed in their repository.

O ka makaukau ma na Moolelo o kou Aina Makuahine ke keehina ike mua ma ke Kalaiaina e hiki ai ke paio no ka pono o ka Nohoʻna Aupuni ana.

A ready knowledge of the Moʻolelo of your Motherland is the first knowledgeable step in political action that will enable you to fight for the welfare of our governance.

Joseph M. Poepoe

Disclaimer: The materials and information provided on Punawaiola was digitized and compiled over a period of 13 years and should be used for informational purposes only. The materials in this collection may contain handwritten text that is partially illegible due to age, penmenship, or deterioriation of the medium. In all cases, we digitized materials in the same format and page order in which it is maintained in the Hawaiʻi State Archives. We strongly encourage users to consult the original files stored at the Hawaiʻi State Archives. We disclaim all responsibility for any errors or omissions contained in this site, including but not limited to errors in page orientation, technical inaccuracies, or typographical errors. We will continually work on making improvements and/or changes to Punawaiola’s features, functionality, or content.

Pending Upload

Kahn Collection 100%
Foreign Office and Executive Collection (1790-1849) 99%
Water Cases 100%
Statutes 96%
Session Laws 100%
Constitutions 95%
Reported Cases 100%
General Records - Legislature 100%
Attorney General Records 100%
Private Ways and Water Rights 100%
Correspondence of Crown Lands 100%
Leases & Financial Records 100%
Treaties 87%
Reported Cases in Hawaiian (pre 1900) 70%
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Images on old Punawaiola

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New Digitization Projects

Our Partners

Mahalo nui to our partners who have contributed to the success of Punawaiola: the Hawaiʻi State Archives, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, and LLMC Digital.