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 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.


Hawaiian Language

A thorough 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 Mokuʻōhai Poepoe*

Punawaiola is the first bilingual website at the William S. Richardson School of Law. We support the expansion of the Hawaiian language as the medium of communication here at the law school, in government, and in the courts.

*Joseph Mokuʻōhai Poepoe was a talented lawyer, scholar, and writer. He wisely recognized over 115 years ago that knowledge of our history and traditions would empower Native Hawaiians.

Digitization Efforts

In collaboration with the Hawai‘i State Archives and LLMC Digital, we have amassed approximately two hundred thousand images of various historic documents. Since 2008, we have been working collaboratively with the State archives to digitize significant historical legal collections housed in their repository. To read more about Punawaiola’s history, please read this article: The Realization of a Dream: A Digital Archives Partnership.

Director’s Acknowledgments

Greetings to the visitors of Punawaiola. Punawaiola is presented with aloha and appreciation to you. This is the first bilingual site to provide public access to a wide range of Hawaiian legal archival materials. Moreover, it is the first bilingual website at the William S. Richardson School of Law. It took many hands to create Punawaiola—this is because no such endeavor has been attempted at the law school.

Keith Johnston and Ray Wang, 2008

Many people have contributed to Punawaiola and I am exceedingly grateful to all of you! My appreciation is extended to Raymond Wang, Keith Johnston (ʻ08), and Il Ung-Jeong for their help in creating Punawaiola. I am also very grateful for the work of those who helped craft the Hawaiian language used on this website: Iokana Aronowicz Esq., Kamakakaulani Gramberg (ʻ18), Leimomi Morgan Esq. (ʻ17), Liʻi Nahiwa (ʻ21), and Kamalolo Koanui-Kong Esq. (ʻ17). Finally I would also like to thank Kaleio Cromwell (ʻ20), Rachel Figueroa (ʻ16), Kealiʻi MacKenzie, Brittanie Nery, Mason Yano, and Zeslie Zablan.

Finally, I am blessed to have two kumu: Lalepa Koga and Kapali Lyon. I am grateful for their continued support. I also wish to recognize Lalepa’s excellent help in correcting grammar and spelling mistakes. Importantly, however, any remaining typographical errors are my own.

Me ke aloha pumehana,
Avis Kuuipoleialoha Poai

Collection Images
Attorney General Records 3,161
Crown Lands Commission 2,381
FO & Ex Chronological File 27,089
FO & Ex Numbered File 1,011
Leases & Financial Records 237
Private Ways & Water Rights 913
Privy Council 11,375
Cabinet & Executive Council 4,832
Judiciary Branch Records 755
Water Cases 3,645
Journals and General Records 16,357
Treaties 6,016
Constitutions 2,691
Early Laws & Statutes 8,911
Session Laws 55,830
Reported Cases 11,090
Kahn 30,862
Wainiha 225
KHA Collections 4,144
Pending Upload 660
Total 192,185
0 +

Current number of images

0 +

Total Collections

0 +

New Digitization Projects