or Davida Malo
(1793-1853) was a leading Native Hawaiian historian
A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is...
of the Kingdom of Hawaii
The Kingdom of Hawaii was established during the years 1795 to 1810 with the subjugation of the smaller independent chiefdoms of Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Lānai, Kauai and Niihau by the chiefdom of Hawaii into one unified government...
. He became a Christian minister and founded a church.
David Malo was born in Keauhou on the Island of Hawaii
The Island of Hawaii, also called the Big Island or Hawaii Island , is a volcanic island in the North Pacific Ocean...
around 1793. He spelled his name Davida, since syllables always end in vowels in the Hawaiian language
The Hawaiian language is a Polynesian language that takes its name from Hawaii, the largest island in the tropical North Pacific archipelago where it developed. Hawaiian, along with English, is an official language of the state of Hawaii...
His father was named Aoao and mother was named Heone. He grew up during the period when Kamehameha I
Kamehameha I , also known as Kamehameha the Great, conquered the Hawaiian Islands and formally established the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1810. By developing alliances with the major Pacific colonial powers, Kamehameha preserved Hawaii's independence under his rule...
united the islands into a single kingdom.
Malo was associated with the chief Kuakini
John Adams Kiiapalaoku Kuakini was an important adviser to Kamehameha I in the early stages of the Kingdom of Hawaii. He was responsible for much building and other changes in the Kona District during this era.-Family life:...
, who was a brother of Queen Queen Kaahumanu, during this time of great change, probably serving as oral historian and court genealogist. Early in life he married Aalailoa (1790?-1822), a widow much older, and had no children when she died.
In 1823 Malo moved to Lahaina on the Hawaiian island of Maui
The island of Maui is the second-largest of the Hawaiian Islands at and is the 17th largest island in the United States. Maui is part of the state of Hawaii and is the largest of Maui County's four islands, bigger than Lānai, Kahoolawe, and Molokai. In 2010, Maui had a population of 144,444,...
and became a student of Reverend William Richards, learning how to read and write in both English and Hawaiian. Malo converted to Christianity and was given the baptismal name of David.
He married again to a woman named Pahia (1796-1845), who took the Christian name Bathsheba; she also died without children.
He was a member of the first class at the Lahainaluna School when it was founded by Lorrin Andrews
Lorrin Andrews was an early American missionary to Hawaii and judge. He opened the first post-secondary school for Hawaiians called Lahainaluna Seminary, prepared a Hawaiian dictionary and several works on the literature and antiquities of the Hawaiians. His students published the first newspaper,...
, later serving as school master. He married a third time to Lepeka (1810-1853), who took the Christian name Rebecca, and had one daughter he named Aalailoa after his first wife, given the Christian name Emma (1846-1886); she later married John M. Kapena with whom she had a daughter Leihulu Kapena (1868-1930), the wife of Henry Carter. He was ordained into the Christian ministry and settled down in the seaside village of Kalepolepo on South/West Maui where he remained until his death on October 25, 1853.
When Queen Kaahumanu died in June 1832, Malo composed a poem in her honor titled He Kanikau o Ka'ahumanu
. He helped translate books from the Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...
so they could be published in the Hawaiian language.
From about 1835 he started writing notes on the Hawaiian religion
Hawaiian religion is the term used to describe the folk religious beliefs and practises of the Hawaiian people. It is unrelated to, though commonly confused with, the philosophy of Huna....
and cultural history, along with other members of the school and instructor Sheldon Dibble
Sheldon Dibble was a missionary to Hawaii who organized one of the first books on Hawaiian history, and inspired students to write more.-Early life:...
. The book was first published in Hawaiian around 1838 (a facsimile of this original has been recently reprinted).
He helped from the first Hawaiian Historical Society with Samuel Kamakau
Samuel Manaiākalani Kamakau was a Hawaiian historian and scholar. His work appeared in local newspapers and was later compiled into books, becoming an invaluable resource on the Hawaiian people, Hawaiian culture, and Hawaiian language during a time when they were disappearing.Along with David Malo...
After that group disbanded, another society of the same name was founded in 1892.
Also in 1841 he was elected as representative from Maui to the first House of Representatives of the Kingdom
The Legislature of the Hawaiian Kingdom was the bicameral legislature of the Kingdom of Hawaii. A royal legislature was first provided by the 1840 Constitution and the 1852 Constitution was the first to use the term "Legislature of the Hawaiian Kingdom", and the first to subject the monarch to...
In 1858 more stories were added to his book and a second Hawaiian edition was published. The book was translated by Nathaniel Bright Emerson
Nathaniel Bright Emerson was a medical physician and author of Hawaiian mythology.He attended Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts and served in the First Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War, during which he was wounded three times...
and published in English in 1898, and again in 1951 and 1987 editions. He wrote a history of Kamehameha I, but the manuscript was lost.
In 1852 he supervised building Kilolani Church on Maui.
Its ruins are now on the grounds of the Trinity by-the-Sea Episcopal Church near modern day Kihei,
located at ccordinates 20°45′42.32"N 156°27′10.65"W.
His grave is located above the Lahainaluna school on Maui.
The Lahainaluna School has named the Boys' Dormitory after him, and has an annual celebration of his contribution in mid-April.